what is an account manager?

As an account manager, you maintain a good relationship with the company's clients. You are the point of contact and ensure their needs are addressed promptly. For instance, you handle complaints and explain maintenance routines for products to keep them in proper working condition. Most account managers work in close proximity to sales and marketing directors to understand clients' needs and identify new sales opportunities based on the current relationships.

what does an account manager do?

The primary role of an account manager is to build client satisfaction and loyalty. That is why your role is halfway between customer service and sales. You build relationships and use the opportunity to increase sales to the accounts in your portfolio. You also develop sales plans and commercial strategies to encourage your clients to buy new products from the company. To succeed in your role, you need to anticipate a client's business needs and propose products or services that satisfy those needs. Since you have daily contact with clients, you are in the best position to cross-sell or upsell the company's products.

account manager roles

average account manager salary

The median salary of an account manager is $63,000 per year. Entry-level account managers' remuneration package starts at $55,000 per year. Experienced account managers can demand a higher salary due to their expertise in building client relationships and increasing revenue from the client portfolios. Therefore, an experienced account manager may take home a remuneration package of $90,000 per year. While account managers don't receive commissions for bringing in new business, most employers award attractive bonuses. You may also enjoy additional health insurance, car allowance and housing benefits. Most employers have paid annual leave and sick days as part of the remuneration package.

how to increase your salary as an account manager

Experience influences your salary significantly. At entry-level positions, earning commissions is challenging since you have fewer skills to attract customers. With more years of experience, you develop the skills to attract big clients. The company size also influences your earning potential. For instance, a large business with multiple clients can afford to pay higher salaries than small start-ups with a limited product range. Working in large cities and metro areas also improves your salary prospects due to the high demand.

female and male having coffee
female and male having coffee

types of account managers

Some of the types of account managers include:

  • national account managers: as a national account manager, you coordinate internal and external stakeholders and cross-functional parties. Depending on their employer, national account managers often take on quasi-general manager roles.
  • regional account managers: a regional account manager handles clients within a region. They focus on maintaining existing relationships with distributors and seeking new sales opportunities. Regional account managers are the relay point between the company they work for and independent stores or distributors. They gather sales data, analyse trends, and provide feedback to the sales team.
  • relationship account managers: as a relationship account manager, you help companies manage their customer relationships. You work with clients to understand their needs and develop strategies to improve customer satisfaction. You also work with other departments within the company to ensure that the customer experience is coordinated and consistent across all touchpoints.
  • business development manager: a business development manager helps companies grow by identifying new business opportunities and developing strategies to pursue them. They may also be responsible for building relationships with potential partners and customers, and for negotiating and closing deals.
  • key account manager: your job is to handle the company's most important clients. The accounts you manage make up the highest percentage of the company's income. You are responsible for managing the clients' initiatives internally.

working as an account manager

Working as an account manager involves managing and maintaining client relationships. That means you are a critical contributor to business growth. Here are the specific duties and work environment of an account manager:


education and skills

While you don't need formal qualifications to get your foot in the door, having some academic qualifications helps you progress more quickly in your career. Some of the paths to becoming an account manager include:

  • bachelor's degree: to succeed as an account manager, you need marketing, customer relations and financial management knowledge. You can learn these skills through a three-year bachelor's degree in business, business administration, marketing or commerce. If you want to advance in account management, consider a master's in business administration.
  • college training: when you finish Year 12, you can complete a Certificate in business sales and join the profession. Ensure you find internship opportunities when you finish the course for on-the-job training. The work experience will help you succeed in the field.

account manager skills and competencies

Some of the skills of an account manager include:

  • attention to detail: as an account manager, you must be attuned to the customers' needs. When you are detail-oriented, you can accurately anticipate their needs and aspirations. Report writing also requires you to pay attention to details. Detailed reports assist you in making accurate predictions by studying clients' buying patterns.
  • results focused/data driven: you are focused on achieving results within a specific timeframe. This could mean setting a deadline for yourself or others, or working quickly and efficiently to get things done. It is important to be clear about what you want to achieve and how you plan to achieve it.
  • time management: you have the ability to use time effectively and efficiently. This includes the ability to plan, organize, and prioritize tasks.
  • active listening: powerful listening techniques help you to excel in the role. You can learn more about a client's challenges and provide accurate recommendations when you are a good listener.
  • negotiation skills: as an account manager, your exceptional negotiating skills enable you to engage clients. You can negotiate company costs and ensure your employer doesn't lose money on any transactions without affecting the customers' loyalty to the brand. When you are an excellent negotiator, the company can close more deals.
  • problem-solving skills: as an account manager, your problem-solving skills help your customers rectify problems and support the resolution of conflicts when clients have complaints.

FAQs about working as an account manager

Here are the most asked questions about working as an account manager:

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