Career Development

What Does a Key Account Manager Do?

Find out what a key account manager does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a key account manager.

Key account managers are responsible for managing the relationships between their company and its clients. They work with a variety of different departments to ensure that both parties are getting what they need from the relationship.

Key account managers typically focus on one or two major accounts at a time, which means they have to juggle multiple responsibilities at once. They may be working with sales teams to develop new products or services for their client, while also coordinating with marketing teams to create compelling content for the client’s website or other digital platforms.

Key Account Manager Job Duties

A key account manager typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Selling products or services to clients to increase sales volume or profits for the company
  • Monitoring client satisfaction with current products or services to determine if adjustments are needed
  • Identifying new business opportunities with existing clients or potential clients
  • Developing long-term relationships with key clients to increase sales and broaden the company’s reach within the industry
  • Negotiating prices and terms of sale with clients on behalf of the company
  • Contacting clients regularly to ensure they are satisfied with their purchase experience
  • Developing proposals and presentations to meet clients’ needs
  • Coordinating with other departments within the company to deliver high quality products and services to clients
  • Following up with clients after the sale to ensure they are satisfied with their purchase

Key Account Manager Salary & Outlook

Key account managers’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and industry of the company. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of commissions and bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $85,000 ($40.87/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $121,000 ($58.17/hour)

The employment of key account managers is expected to decline over the next decade.

Employment growth will be limited because many companies are restructuring their sales forces and assigning more responsibilities to their existing employees. As a result, fewer key account managers will be needed to cover the same number of accounts.

Related: In-Depth Key Account Manager Salary Guide

Key Account Manager Job Requirements

Key account managers typically need to have the following qualifications:

Education: Key account managers typically need a high school diploma or GED certificate. Some employers prefer candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in business, marketing or a related field. Relevant coursework includes marketing, sales, business and finance.

Training & Experience: Key account managers often have several years of experience in sales, marketing or business development. They may have worked as a sales representative, account executive or sales manager. They may have worked in a related industry, such as marketing or advertising, where they gained experience in key account management.

On-the-job training is minimal for this role. Most of the training for a key account manager happens through previous work experience. They may also receive training in the form of seminars or conferences.

Certifications & Licenses: Key account managers need to be certified in sales or finance to improve their chances of being a top candidate for a job, an internship or a promotion.

Key Account Manager Skills

Key account managers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication skills: Communication skills are essential for any sales role, including key account management. You may be responsible for communicating with clients, colleagues and other stakeholders. Effective communication can help you build trust, develop relationships and close deals. You may also use communication skills to train and coach your team members.

Technical knowledge: Technical knowledge is the ability to understand and apply the principles of a particular subject. As a key account manager, you may be responsible for managing a company’s social media accounts, so technical knowledge of how to use these platforms is an important skill to have. Similarly, if you’re responsible for managing a company’s website, technical knowledge of web design and coding is an important skill to have.

Relationship building: Relationship building is the ability to form and maintain positive relationships with others. As a key account manager, you may be responsible for managing several client accounts at a time. This means you may need to build relationships with a variety of individuals, including clients, colleagues and other stakeholders. Being able to form positive relationships with others can help you build trust, collaborate and work more effectively.

Problem-solving: Problem-solving skills allow you to identify challenges and find solutions. As a key account manager, you may be responsible for managing an entire customer account, which means you may be the first point of contact for any issues or concerns. Your ability to solve problems can help you provide excellent customer service and maintain positive relationships with your clients.

Decision making: Making sound decisions is an important skill for account managers. You may be responsible for making decisions about which clients to pursue, how to approach them and what strategies to use. You may also be responsible for making decisions about which clients to end relationships with and how to do so.

Key Account Manager Work Environment

Key account managers work in a variety of settings, including office environments, manufacturing plants, and retail stores. They may travel to meet with clients or to attend conferences or trade shows. Key account managers typically work regular business hours, although they may occasionally work evenings or weekends to attend meetings or events. They may also travel overnight to meet with clients or to attend conferences or trade shows. The work of key account managers can be stressful, as they must often juggle the demands of multiple clients and projects.

Key Account Manager Trends

Here are three trends influencing how key account managers work. Key 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 Need for a More Strategic Role

The role of the account manager is evolving, as businesses are increasingly looking for professionals who can provide more strategic support.

Account managers now need to be able to think beyond just the day-to-day tasks and understand the bigger picture of what their company is trying to achieve. They also need to be able to communicate effectively with other departments and stakeholders in order to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

More Focus on Customer Experience

The customer experience is becoming more and more important for businesses, as they realize that it is what sets them apart from their competitors. This means that account managers will need to focus on providing excellent service to their customers.

In order to provide an exceptional customer experience, account managers will need to be familiar with all aspects of their business. They will also need to be able to communicate effectively with both customers and employees.

A Greater Emphasis on Digital Marketing

As digital marketing becomes more important, account managers will need to develop skills in this area.

Digital marketing allows businesses to reach potential customers through channels such as social media, search engines, and online ads. As account managers are responsible for managing these channels, they will need to be well-versed in the latest trends and techniques in order to be successful.

Greater Collaboration Between Sales and Marketing

The trend towards greater collaboration between sales and marketing is having a major impact on the role of the account manager. In order to be successful, account managers will need to be able to work together with members of both teams to create effective campaigns that drive results.

This requires a strong understanding of both sales and marketing, as well as the ability to communicate effectively with team members from both disciplines.

How to Become a Key Account Manager

A career as an account manager can be a great way to start your career in marketing. As an account manager, you’ll work with clients to develop and execute marketing campaigns that meet their goals. This role requires strong communication skills, as well as the ability to understand and connect with customers.

To become an effective account manager, it’s important to have a deep understanding of the company’s products or services, as well as its target market. You should also be able to think creatively about how to reach potential customers.

Related: How to Write a Key Account Manager Resume

Advancement Prospects

Key account managers are often promoted to other sales and marketing positions, such as sales manager, marketing manager, product manager, or brand manager. Some key account managers move into general management positions, such as vice president of sales or vice president of marketing. Others move into related fields, such as market research or business development.

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