Account Manager Job Profile: Necessary Skills and Education
Updated 19 April 2023
An account manager plays a vital role in helping companies build long-lasting relationships with an existing client base and ensuring return customers. You must possess excellent communication and strategic planning skills to help a company realise its long-term gains. Understanding your roles and requirements can help you secure an account manager job faster and excel. In this article, we'll explore the job profile of an account manager and how you can succeed in the career.
Account manager job profile
Account management is the post-sale activity of nurturing and mediating client relationships. It involves efforts to maintain current customer relationships and gain new prospects. A company requires an account manager to manage their clients' accounts and increase sales. Their primary duties are to identify the customer's needs and how the company can help them accomplish their goals and surpass expectations.
Account management starts immediately after a business gains a new client or customer. The account manager's day will entail showing customers the value they can benefit from by continuing to use the company's products and services. Unlike traditional marketing or sales roles that only target prospective customers before leading them to make a purchase, account managers work on long-term goals, which involve earning the clients' trust and approval.
Related: What does an account executive do?
What are the benefits of account management?
The primary reason to ensure proper account management in a company is to make your customers feel valued and well-treated. Here are some other benefits of account management
1. Improved services
The key aim of account management is to retain current customers to generate more income and profit. Dealing with a client so closely can help you understand your customers' wants, needs and complaints better. Therefore, you can improve the services and products offered to meet their needs.
2. Personalised opportunities
As you continue working with the same clients for a long-time, you understand their primary motivations and identify products that can help them accomplish their goals. You can use this insight to develop products, services and recommend investments that can increase the potential sales and revenue generated from one client.
3. Determine client expectations
Account management can give you a feedback mechanism to gauge your clients' expectations. You can also focus your attention on key resources that can help prioritise tasks, ensuring faster delivery and accurate products that meet the clients' expectations.
4. Stronger accounts control
Account management can give you access to a business's working processes, including their ways of deciding, strategic planning, revenue and suppliers. By providing a strategic approach to accounts, you can help companies increase account control and beat the competition.
What does an account manager do?
An account manager's day-to-day job involves managing a particular client's account in a business. You'll be the one that a client will interact with often to help them feel your company can meet their needs. Here are other tasks and responsibilities you may undertake as an account manager:
Creating and maintaining long-term relationships
You may work to identify and attract new businesses to help them exploit new opportunities in the local market. This means you have to meet their sales targets and promote their new products through regular communication and visits.
You'll also serve as the lead point of contact in all matters concerning your assigned client and liaise between them and the product development or customer service team. In addition, you may have to oversee and take part in all negotiations and contract discussions involving your client.
Communicate on customer-related issues
The upper management will rely on you to manage and update them on the client progress and issues arising. You might need to prepare reports for both the management and clients concerning the clients' progress and recommendations to help them meet the sales targets.
Ideating on business opportunities
As an account manager, you'll develop trusted relationships with your clients, shareholders and external sponsors. This means that they'll willingly accept your advice on business matters and how they can increase their sales. You can also help interpret client needs and requirements.
Forecasting account metrics
You may also need to track and analyse account metrics in terms of quarterly sales results and annual ROI. This can help you forecast the client accounts and recommend changes to meet the demand. Ensure to deliver on your promises and identify areas that may need improvement.
Skills you need to become an account manager
Here are the top skills and qualifications you need to become an account manager:
Consistent communication between you and the client can play a vital role in helping you establish a long-term relationship. Communication involves being transparent with clients and informing them about every activity that you undertake on their behalf. This demands excellent verbal and written communication skills.
Understand your client's needs
When clients trust you with their business, they expect you have a more in-depth understanding of the business environment than them. You must perform extra research on the industry to become an expert on the company. You should know aspects that make their business unique, including their history, protocols and their customers, such that you can respond to customer queries swiftly and accurately.
Staying updated with the latest trends
Part of your research should include learning about the latest trends and technologies in the industry that can help your client's business. This can help you make excellent recommendations to your clients and help them beat the competition by improving their business model.
Account management primarily involves working towards achieving set goals and reaching targets. This demands dividing your goals and tasks into smaller targets and individual goals that you can easily achieve. You may also need to work with a team that requires strategising to come up with a plan that can help you deliver quality results before the deadline.
As an account manager, you may work with a client's entire portfolio of resources and information that's vital to their survival and growth. You should keep this information from its competitors and establish trust between you and the client. This can help them feel you care for their best interests at all stages.
Most account managers work full time in an office-based environment. The work hours typically range from nine to five from Mondays to Fridays. You may also need to work during the evening or at the weekend as you attend meetings with clients.
Here are some things you can expect:
Although you may work in an office-based environment, there's plenty of opportunities to work from home
Most jobs are available in the cities and large towns across the UK
As you gain experience, you can become self-employed or work as a freelancer
You might have to travel overseas to meet clients
You may need to meet clients outside of normal working hours
According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for an account manager is £31,203 per year. However, your salary may vary depending on factors such as your location, company, experience, educational background and more. Besides your basic salary, you can also earn extra income in bonuses, allowances and commissions for exceeding your sales targets.
How to become an Account Manager
As an account manager, you can work in a variety of fields and possibly develop into building new business models for your client in the future. Here's an in-depth guide on how you can become an account manager:
1. Earn a bachelor's degree
You don't need a bachelor's degree to become an account manager. However, if you have one, you can beat the competition. The most valuable is a bachelor's degrees are sales, marketing, business or another related topic.
2. Gain relevant, hands-on experience
In order to gain relevant skills that are required to succeed as an account manager, you must work in similar sales and accounts jobs. Some top positions that you can seek include sales representative, junior account executive or other sales and marketing jobs. You can also gain experience through internships and apprenticeship programs.
3. Apply for account manager positions
Applying for the job you want is the most essential part of being an account manager. You can either start with small companies and apply to work in larger companies once you have the relevant experience, or you can apply for a junior position and get a promotion at your current company. To secure your chances of getting the job, you must prepare a good resume, highlight your education, relevant background and follow up well with the hiring managers.
4. Consider pursuing a master's degree
To increase your chances of getting a promotion, consider pursuing a master's degree in business administration. You can also pursue a course in a field that you want to focus on, such as biochemistry, pharmaceuticals, or mechanical engineering, then prioritise jobs within that industry. Pursuing a master's degree can also help you gain more hands-on experience.
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