Excellent communicators with a commitment to client satisfaction often thrive in an account management career. An account manager’s attentiveness to the needs of those they represent can be the difference between a happy customer who maintains a long-term relationship with the company and an unhappy one who takes business elsewhere.
Here’s a detailed look at what’s involved in an account management career.
What Does an Account Manager Do?
Account managers serve as the link between their employer and the specific accounts (customers) they’ve been assigned to handle. They listen carefully to a client’s needs and figure out ways to achieve these objectives.
If a problem occurs, say a delivery mix-up or an ad that doesn’t quite meet client expectations, account managers work with the appropriate people within their company to resolve the situation. And whenever customers need questions answered, they know exactly who to contact for prompt, reliable answers.
Sales vs. Account Management
To further understand the role of account managers, it’s important to note that they are different than salespeople at most companies. (The common exception being small firms with limited staff where duties can overlap out of necessity.)
Salespeople focus on drawing in new customers. They bring in business through actions such as cold calls and following up on leads. After a salesperson closes a deal, the company assigns an account manager to the new client. The salesperson briefs the account manager on goals and other pertinent information, but then they’re off to generate more new business. The account manager assumes responsibility for the account from that point on.
Account Manager Job Responsibilities
Account managers foster good relationships with the specific clients they serve. Making that happen involves duties such as:
- Acting as a liaison between the client and departments within the company to convey information, ensure understanding, and make certain everything gets done in an accurate, timely manner
- Making the client aware of other services and actions that may lead to greater success
- Monitoring the client’s budget, explaining costs, and negotiating new terms if necessary
- Keeping up on trends, changes, and competitor actions that might affect their client
- Providing progress reports to clients and upper management
- Teaching junior employees how to service the account
Attending to these responsibilities requires a variety of competencies. Those interested in account management benefit from the ability to do the following:
- Attend to detail
- Communicate well both verbally and in writing
- Display empathy and emotional intelligence
- Listen carefully
- Solve problems
- Think strategically
Account Management Career Path
Account managers typically hold a bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, communications, public relations, or something similar. Following college, aspiring account managers often start out in either entry-level sales or customer service. Such roles enable them to hone the interpersonal skills critical to success as an account manager. Once working as an account manager, some professionals seek to enhance their credentials by obtaining certification through the Strategic Account Management Association.
Effective account managers may advance on to an account director position, which involves overseeing several account managers. From there, some become a director of account services—a high-level role overseeing an organization’s entire account management department.
Account Manager Salary
The national average salary for an account manager is $59,082, per Glassdoor. Depending on your years of experience, the size of the company, and the industry, pay can go up to $90,000/year.
Account managers typically work in an office setting on-site or off. They may travel in order to meet with clients, allowing for some remote work. As those they serve expect responsiveness, account managers sometimes find themselves needing to be available on evenings or weekends.
Companies That Hire Account Managers
Take a look at the FlexJobs list of the best 100 companies for flexible account management jobs and you’ll encounter organizations in industries such as biotech, marketing, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, advertising, software, food, financial services, online retail, event management, and more.
The companies below are among the employers frequently seeking account managers:
Which organizations are hiring at the moment? Check out the FlexJobs database of current account management jobs. Not only will you discover openings in a variety of fields, you’ll see the range of flexible options available—including remote, part-time, and freelance!
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