Career Overview: Account Manager

What They Do

An account manager develops and maintains relationships between clients and a business or organization. This may include providing technical support, customer service, and open and clear lines of communication for both the business and the client or customer. Account managers focus on the day-to-day matters concerning clients. They serve as a liaison between the organization and its customers; they show clients the value of their organization’s products or services. Account managers may also deal with customer stakeholders and executive sponsors, as well as collaborate with or manage the sales teams to grow an organization. Analyzing data and creating budgets and deadlines to meet the revenue goals of an organization are part of an account manager’s responsibilities as well. Account managers are often assigned existing accounts but may also be required to bring in their own business and develop other leads for the organization.

Skills Needed

Effective and credible communication is a key skill for account managers. Both verbal and written communication are used in these positions. Negotiating, active listening and presentation skills are paramount to success. An account manager must be able to understand a client’s needs and wants. They must take this understanding and not only create ways to meet those demands but also respect the parameters of their organization’s sales requirements. Managing conflicts is also a responsibility of an account manager. Often, the expectations of the client and the business do not coincide. When this happens, an account manager uses communication and conflict resolution skills to reach a compromise or to convince clients to change their minds.

Education Required

Account manager positions generally require candidates to hold at least a bachelor’s degree to be considered. However, relevant experience and some sales and management related skills and knowledge are also important for success in these positions. The Bachelor of Business Administration is one of the most commonly held degrees among account managers. Typically, these programs require students to take courses concerning subjects like: global business management, business communication, marketing principles and accounting. Knowledge of economics and business trends is key as well. Some businesses require their account managers to have graduate degrees, like a Master of Business Administration, to best achieve goals and meet responsibilities.

Salary Potential

An account manager’s salary can depend on the size of the employer. The Occupational Information Network reports that the median annual salary for positions like account manager is around $50,000 and that these positions have a “bright outlook” in the future. An account manager at the top of the pay scale, who may work for a large corporation, can make upwards of $111,000 a year.