Account managers coordinate with clients and work with a variety of people, including executives, engineers, and other staff. They help clients develop, execute, and evaluate marketing and sales strategies. They also provide advice on product design, pricing, and distribution.
Account managers may specialize in a particular industry or product line, such as healthcare, finance, or technology. They may also specialize by client type, such as small business, corporate, individual, or nonprofit.
Account Manager Job Duties
Account managers are responsible for the following:
- Consulting with clients to find solutions to their business challenges and opportunities
- Responding to customer requests, providing customer service, and resolving complaints.
- Researching new business opportunities and generating sales leads
- Organizing events such as workshops, seminars, or conferences with vendors and potential customers to educate them about your products, services, and solutions
- Managing accounts by understanding clients’ needs, tracking results and workloads of staff members through reports and analytics, and providing feedback to improve performance
- Monitoring market trends and competitors’ activities to stay abreast of industry developments so as to constantly improve offerings
Account Manager Salary & Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics reports that, as of May 2020, the median annual wage for account managers is $56,000. The lowest 10% earned less than $39,000, while the highest 10% earned more than $84,000.
According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, the field will grow by 6% between 2019-2029. This is faster than the average for all occupations and will be driven by the need to reach customers in new ways.
Account Manager Job Requirements
The account manager position requires the following:
Education: Employers prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in business administration or a related field, such as marketing or computer science.
Training: Account managers should expect to complete an internship program or an entry-level sales position before moving into a role as an account manager. These entry-level positions are designed to give the candidate experience in sales and customer service. They can help them learn how to develop new clients, communicate with existing customers and sell new products or services.
Certifications: Account managers do not need to obtain any certifications or licenses, but some may pursue them to further improve their careers. Options include certifications from organizations such as the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI).
Account Manager Skills
Account managers need to be able to handle a variety of situations and tasks, including:
People skills: Account managers are responsible for building relationships with clients.
Management skills: Account managers must be able to manage client expectations and deadlines.
Technical skills: Account managers must have strong technical knowledge in order to understand the products they are selling.
Problem-solving skills: Account managers often deal with problems that arise between clients and other departments.
Organizational skills: The job requires a great deal of organization in order to keep track of multiple projects at once.
Customer service skills: Successful account managers know how to make clients happy, which can mean resolving problems or answering questions about the company’s products or services.
Negotiation skills: A successful account manager will negotiate contracts with clients and companies on behalf of their employer.
Account Manager Work Environment
Account managers work in an office, and may also spend time working in the field. They are responsible for building and maintaining a client base, and must work with a variety of people, including fellow employees, clients, and vendors.
This is a high-stress job, as account managers must deal with a great deal of pressure from their supervisors. If a client is not successful, the account manager may be held accountable for the loss.
Account Manager Career Advancement
If you want to advance your career past the account manager position, you will need to make sure you are improving your abilities in your current role. This means you will need to take on increased responsibilities, take on more challenging tasks, and take on more hours during the day. You should also make sure you are networking with people at your company and outside of the company.
There are many opportunities for advancement within this field. One opportunity may be becoming an account director. Account Directors are in charge of managing teams of account managers, setting goals/quotas, and communicating with the executive-level managers.
Account Manager Trends
Here are three trends influencing how Account Managers work. Account Managers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.
The biggest change in the world of account management is the increase in collaboration between departments, particularly marketing and sales.
Marketing teams are expected to deliver more than just an ad campaign; they are also responsible for creating brand awareness through thought leadership, content creation, social media campaigns, event planning, and outreach efforts—which can create more opportunities for companies to collaborate with outside vendors.
The Importance of Referrals
In the account management world, professionals have always been taught that networking is a vital skill to have.
However, as companies develop strategies for reaching new customers, referrals from existing clients are becoming more important than ever. In fact, some experts estimate that up to 70% of sales come from repeat business and referrals, making this emerging trend a key part of the future success of many businesses.
Increasing Importance of Social Media Skills
Social media is now an essential component of any marketing strategy and those who want to remain competitive in the industry will need to adapt quickly.
While social media management is still a small field, this number will likely increase as more companies look to integrate social media into their strategies.
How to Become a Account Manager
1. Planning Your Career Path
If you want to become an account manager, it’s important to think about the areas of business that interest you most. Account managers are responsible for managing client relationships for brands, so it’s important to have a passion for the industry that you want to represent. For example, if you love food, consider working for a food and beverage company.
2. Writing a Resume
The best resumes for account managers stress a candidate’s ability to think strategically and identify solutions to problems. To do this, you will need to include past work experiences that demonstrate your problem-solving skills. You can also talk about how you helped improve company performance and increase sales.
Another aspect of the job that is often mentioned in job descriptions is the ability to build relationships with clients. So, be sure to include any awards or recognitions you received for being a team player.
3. Applying for Jobs
What are your goals? If you’re looking to break into a specific industry, consider networking with as many people as possible in that industry. Attend meetups, join Facebook groups, and start conversations. Start building relationships and expand your network of contacts. You never know who might be a good contact.
4. Ace the Interview
For a position as an account manager, it is important to be able to demonstrate effective communication skills. The company wants to know that you are well-spoken and will be able to get your point across in an easy-to-understand way. It is also important for you to show enthusiasm about the product or service that the company offers and show that you would be willing to learn more about it.