Career Development

What Does a Key Accounts Manager Do?

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

Key account managers are responsible for managing the relationships between their company and its most important clients. They’re tasked with identifying ways to improve these relationships, as well as implementing those improvements.

Key account managers typically work within a specific industry or sector of the economy. They may focus on serving one type of customer (e.g., retail stores, hospitals, etc.) or one type of product or service (e.g., software, medical devices, etc.).

Key Accounts Manager Job Duties

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

  • Developing long-term relationships with customers by building trust over time
  • Determining which customers are likely to buy additional products or services down the road
  • Maintaining customer satisfaction by resolving complaints and handling other issues that arise
  • Training staff on new products and services offered by the company
  • Negotiating contracts with new clients to establish long-term relationships with new clients
  • Communicating with clients regularly to ensure they are satisfied with their services
  • Working with other departments in the company to develop new products or services that meet client needs
  • Reviewing competitor activity in order to identify potential threats to business relationships
  • Creating reports about client activities and providing them to management for review

Key Accounts Manager Salary & Outlook

Key accounts 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: $86,500 ($41.59/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

The employment of key accounts managers is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

Demand for key accounts managers will be driven by the need for companies to maintain and grow their customer base. As more customers shop online, key accounts managers will be needed to help companies retain their current customers and attract new ones.

Key Accounts Manager Job Requirements

Key account managers typically require the following qualifications:

Education: Key accounts managers are typically required to have a bachelor’s degree in business, marketing or a related field. Some employers prefer candidates who have a master’s degree in business administration (MBA). An MBA is useful for candidates who want to advance their careers or who want to specialize in a certain industry.

Training & Experience: Key accounts 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 important for key accounts managers because they are often expected to have a thorough understanding of the company’s products and services. They may also need to learn about the company’s sales process and how to manage key accounts.

Certifications & Licenses: Key accounts managers don’t need any certifications to earn their position, but there are certifications available for these professionals who wish to increase their earning capacity or make themselves more competitive candidates for advanced positions.

Key Accounts Manager Skills

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

Communication skills: Communication skills are essential for account managers, as they are often required to communicate with a variety of individuals and groups. You may be communicating with clients, other departments, suppliers and other key accounts managers. Effective communication is key to ensuring that everyone involved in a project understands what is happening and what the next steps are.

Relationship building: Relationship building is the ability to form and maintain positive relationships with others. As a key accounts manager, you may be responsible for managing several relationships with clients. Relationship building can help you develop trust with clients and encourage them to continue working with your company.

Negotiation skills: Negotiation skills are also important for account managers, as they may be responsible for negotiating contracts with suppliers or customers. This can include determining the best price for a product or service, as well as ensuring the company receives the best terms for the transaction. Account managers may also negotiate with suppliers to ensure they meet the company’s quality standards.

Time management: Time management is the ability to plan and execute tasks within a set time frame. As a key accounts manager, you may be responsible for managing multiple projects at once. Having strong time management skills can help you prioritize your tasks and ensure you meet your company’s deadlines.

Problem-solving: Problem-solving skills allow you to identify and resolve issues that may arise in your role. As a key accounts manager, you may be responsible for managing a variety of accounts, each with their own unique needs. Being able to identify and resolve issues that may arise with any of these accounts can help you maintain a positive relationship with your clients.

Key Accounts Manager Work Environment

Key account managers are responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with an organization’s most important clients. They work in a variety of industries and are employed in both large and small organizations. Key account managers typically work in office settings, although they may travel frequently to meet with clients. They typically work regular business hours, although they may occasionally work evenings and weekends to accommodate client schedules. Key account managers may experience a high level of stress due to the importance of their clients and the need to maintain positive relationships.

Key Accounts 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 Approach to Accounts Management

The role of the accounts manager is changing. In order to be successful, they need to take a more strategic approach to their work and focus on long-term results rather than short-term wins.

This trend requires that accounts managers are able to think outside the box and come up with innovative ways to reach their goals. They also need to be able to communicate effectively with other members of the team in order to get the support they need to be successful.

More Focus on Customer Experience

As businesses become more focused on customer experience, account managers will need to develop skills that allow them to better understand what customers want and how to meet those needs.

Account managers can utilize this trend by developing relationships with customers and understanding their needs. This will allow them to create strategies that help businesses meet their goals while also satisfying customer demands.

Greater Emphasis on Digital Marketing

As digital marketing becomes more important, account managers will need to learn how to use these tools to their advantage.

In order to be successful in this field, account managers will need to be familiar with all of the different digital marketing channels and how to use them to promote their clients’ products and services. Additionally, they will need to be able to track the effectiveness of these campaigns and make adjustments as needed.

How to Become a Key Accounts Manager

A key accounts manager career path can be rewarding and lucrative. It’s important to start by identifying the companies that are a good fit for your skills and personality. Then, develop relationships with key decision makers at these companies.

You can also expand your network by attending industry events and joining professional associations. This will help you stay up-to-date on the latest trends in your field and make connections with other professionals who can help you advance your career.

Related: How to Write a Key Accounts Manager Resume

Advancement Prospects

Key accounts managers are often promoted to other sales management positions, such as sales director or vice president of sales. As they advance in their careers, key accounts managers may also take on additional responsibilities, such as overseeing a larger sales team or managing multiple key accounts.

Key Accounts Manager Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we’re looking for a Key Accounts Manager to join our team and help us continue to grow our business. In this role, you will be responsible for developing and managing relationships with our key accounts, as well as identifying and developing new business opportunities with potential key accounts. You will also be responsible for managing the sales process from start to finish, including preparing proposals, presentations, and sales contracts. To be successful in this role, you must have previous experience managing key accounts, as well as experience in sales, business development, and account management. You must also be a strategic thinker with the ability to think outside the box to develop creative solutions to problems.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Develop and maintain strong relationships with key accounts
  • Understand customer needs and requirements
  • Negotiate and close contracts with key accounts
  • Achieve quarterly and annual sales targets
  • Develop account plans and strategies
  • Monitor competitor activity and market trends
  • Prepare and deliver presentations to key stakeholders
  • Attend trade shows and conferences
  • Liaise with other departments to ensure smooth delivery of services to key accounts
  • Provide feedback to senior management on the performance of key accounts
  • Resolve issues and complaints from key accounts in a timely and professional manner
  • Update job knowledge by studying new product descriptions; participating in educational opportunities; reading professional publications; maintaining personal networks; participating in professional organizations

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, sales, or related field
  • 10+ years proven sales experience with a strong track record of success
  • Proven account management experience
  • Exceptional communication, negotiation, and presentation skills
  • Ability to build and maintain relationships at all levels
  • Excellent time-management and organizational skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • MBA or other advanced degree
  • Experience managing large accounts and key clients
  • Experience working with global teams
  • Fluency in more than one language

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