What Is an Account Manager? How to Become One, Salary, Skills.
An account manager takes over new customers brought in by account executives. They build relationships with existing customers, serving as the main points of contact for any issues or questions. Here’s what to know about an account manager’s salary, needed skills and how to become one.
What Is an Account Manager?
An account manager is an entry- to mid-level professional who supports the needs of existing customers. Depending on the position, account managers may provide technical support, business suggestions and other forms of customer service.
What Do Account Managers Do?
Account managers cultivate relationships with existing customers by being go-to liaisons between a company and its customers. They address questions and concerns, ensuring customers remain satisfied with a service or product.
Account Manager Responsibilities
- Maintain positive business relationships with existing customers.
- Explore upselling and other methods for maximizing sales.
- Monitor account budgets and provide timely business solutions to customers.
- Track industry activity and competitor strategies.
- Train junior account managers on how to handle accounts.
Day-to-Day Responsibilities of an Account Manager
- Respond to customer inquiries and resolve any issues or complaints.
- Meet with customers to negotiate new contracts and discuss possible upgrades.
- Compile reports on account metrics and develop sales forecasts.
- Meet with higher-level sales leaders to review account progress and projected sales.
Account Managers Within a Company
Account managers may function as entry-level or mid-level professionals, with more senior account managers training their junior-level counterparts. They work in the sales department, taking over customers for account executives and often reporting to a director of account management. Because their focus is on customer retention, account managers work solely with existing customers. Account executives are responsible for attracting new customers.
Importance of Account Managers
Account managers are who existing customers go to with questions, concerns and complaints about products, services or contracts. Those who can resolve issues earn the trust of customers and maintain their business. Without account managers, companies would struggle to retain customers and face financial challenges in the long run.
What Skills Are Needed to Be an Account Manager?
Qualifications to Be an Account Manager
- Knowledgeable in upselling, cross-selling and other sales strategies.
- Experience serving in customer and technical support roles.
- Proven success handling multiple customer accounts.
- Expertise in analyzing financial trends and providing business solutions.
- Fluent in latest sales technologies and software.
Account Manager Prerequisites
- Bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, communications or a related field.
- Master’s degree in business, marketing or accounting for higher-level roles.
- One to five years of work experience in relevant positions.
- Account management and sales certifications to strengthen credentials.
Account Manager Hard Skills
- Mastery of sales strategies and techniques.
- Ability to upsell, cross-sell and employ other methods for increasing sales.
- Knowledge of financial and data analysis.
- Business and financial savvy.
- Experience in customer service and technical support.
- Familiar with sales software, intelligence tools and other technologies.
Account Manager Soft Skills
- Sound judgment and patience.
- Strong persuasive skills and techniques.
- Excellent negotiation skills.
- Problem-solving and troubleshooting skills.
- Analytical approach to situations.
Tools and Programs Account Managers Use
- Sales intelligence software like LinkedIn Sales Navigator and ZoomInfo.
- CRM systems like Salesforce Sales Cloud and HubSpot.
- Database tools like Airtable and Excel.
- Online meeting platforms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom.
How to Become an Account Manager
Account Manager Education and Experience
Account managers often possess a bachelor’s degree in business, accounting, communications, marketing or a related field. Upon graduation, most professionals work one to five years in other entry-level roles before becoming account managers. Examples of initial roles include inside sales representative and customer service representative. To better position themselves for higher-level opportunities, some professionals earn their master’s in business, marketing or accounting.
Account Manager Certificates and Courses
- Sales training programs and courses.
- Account management courses focused on sales skills.
- Sales leadership certifications like this sales management course.
- Negotiation courses and other sales-related courses.
Account Manager Career Path
While account manager roles can be entry-level, many account managers start out working as customer service representatives, inside sales representatives and similar entry-level positions. Top-performing account managers can work their way up to higher-level roles like senior account manager or account director. It may take two to five years to earn a promotion for these roles.
Account Manager Salary and Job Outlook
Account managers fall under the sales manager category, and this area is set to make job gains in the next decade. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of sales managers is projected to increase by 5 percent between 2021 and 2031.
The full compensation package for an account manager depends on a variety of factors, including but not limited to the candidate’s experience and geographic location. See below for detailed information on the average account manager salary.