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Account Manager

Updated on January 4, 2024
Article byNanditha Saravanakumar
Edited byShreya Bansal
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

Account Manager Definition 

An Account Manager is a professional entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing clients’ investments and transactions. They serve as the initial point of contact for customers, effectively representing the organization. Building solid and enduring relationships with clients is a crucial aspect of their role, and it extends beyond mere sales.

Account Manager

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The primary goal of an account manager is to ensure customer satisfaction by optimizing their financial returns or profits. They offer tailored services to foster client loyalty and long-term relationships with the company. In essence, they act as a crucial bridge connecting the organization with its clientele.

Key Takeaways

  • An account manager is an individual who maintains their client’s account. These clients can be business buyers, investors, wholesalers, suppliers, etc.
  • These managers are essential as they primarily interact with the customers. Thus, they should understand their clients deeply, study their goals, and tailor their offerings accordingly.
  • According to an account manager job description, the candidate should have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field and a few years of work experience. They should also have communication skills, financial knowledge, market awareness, etc.

How Does An Account Manager Work?

Account manager positions are for individuals with a solid grasp of technical aspects in fields like finance, market trends, economics and the innate ability to cultivate positive customer relationships. Typically, these professionals handle a select number of clients and are responsible for managing their accounts.

These accounts can encompass a range of areas, including investment accounts, business accounts, sales accounts, and more. Business clients engaged in the acquisition of capital-intensive goods often demand highly personalized, all-encompassing services from these experts to streamline their operations, reduce costs, and save time.

It is quite important to note a few distinct variations within this role. The strategic account manager (SAM) stands out as an individual who identifies the company’s top revenue-generating clients. Specialized services are essential to maintain the loyalty and continued business of these key clients.

In a similar vein, the key account manager (KAM) shares characteristics with SAM but is specifically appointed to oversee and manage the accounts of these key customers. As a result, they tend to be more experienced, possess extensive knowledge of the market, and may even engage in activities such as hosting client dinners.

On the other hand, a technical account manager (TAM) plays a role in customer interactions by aiding them in comprehending the intricacies of a product or service. Proficiency in technical aspects is vital for these managers, alongside strong interpersonal skills.

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Qualifications

Here is a job description for an account manager:

  • A bachelor’s degree specializing in business, finance, marketing, economics, or a related field is a required qualification for all candidates applying to this position. It demonstrates the fundamental knowledge that companies expect from candidates.
  • While some companies offer these positions as entry-level roles, others may need to do so. Nevertheless, having some work experience in areas such as sales, finance, client management, public relations, etc., would be a valuable addition.
  • Possessing certification from the Strategic Account Management Association (SAMA) can significantly enhance a candidate’s profile.
  • While a master’s degree is typically not obligatory, it can enhance the strength of a candidate’s application. Additionally, a higher level of work experience can compensate for the need for a master’s degree.
  • In addition to these qualifications, candidates applying for account management positions should exhibit strong interpersonal skills. Communication, critical and analytical thinking, logical reasoning, and determination are some of the qualities that companies seek in their candidates.

Duties 

Let us explore the expectations for an account manager’s role:

  1. A fundamental aspect of account management is grasping the unique needs of clients. For instance, understanding an investor’s objectives—whether it is growth or returns—and their risk tolerance is essential. Identifying these client motivations is pivotal for tailoring services and building robust client relationships.
  2. Daily account management stands as the cornerstone of the manager’s responsibilities. It encompasses handling transactions, consulting with multiple suppliers (industry-specific), evaluating alternatives, and making regular decisions. Vigilance against fraudulent activities is also a crucial part of the role.
  3. Managers are obligated to provide regular reports to clients, with the reporting frequency predetermined. These reports typically include financial summaries, transaction details, supplier information, and taxation data.
  4. The account manager should assume the role of an advisor to the client. They can offer suggestions and recommendations based on their review and insights into the client’s account. Nevertheless, significant decisions on the client’s behalf usually require prior consultation unless otherwise specified.
  5. Effective communication between the manager and the organization is paramount. Managers must adhere to company policies and guidelines during interactions with clients. Furthermore, keeping superiors informed with vital client-related information is part of the responsibility.
  6. While many companies have separate roles for client acquisition and management, some expect a single individual to handle both tasks. Thus, client acquisition becomes an additional responsibility for account managers.
  7. Client retention involves providing personalized and specialized services to ensure client loyalty to the company. For this purpose, managers should foster close relationships with clients and consistently deliver top-tier services.
  8. Above all, customer satisfaction is of utmost importance. The happiness of clients is a cornerstone of a firm’s continued success. To achieve this, managers must work towards fulfilling client goals, which may encompass cost minimization and profit maximization, among other objectives.

Salary

According to employment platforms such as Indeed, Glassdoor, and PayScale, account manager jobs in the United States offer varying salary estimates. Indeed suggests an average annual salary of $63,297 with an additional commission of $18,000. Reported salaries range from as low as $35,486 to as high as $112,901.

On the other hand, Glassdoor estimates a base pay of $52,744 per year, with an additional payment of $20,818 in commissions. PayScale, another platform, claims that professionals in account management earn an average of $59,055.

These variations in reported salaries highlight the range of potential earnings for account managers. In the United Kingdom, similar positions command an average yearly salary of £32,959. It is worth noting that in addition to their base salaries, account managers often have the opportunity to earn bonuses and commissions.

Account Manager vs Account Executive vs Project Manager

Here is a table outlining the differences between an account executive, an account manager, and a project manager:

BasisAccount ExecutiveAccount ManagerProject Manager
Primary ResponsibilitiesAcquiring new clientsHandling client account activities and transactionsPlanning, organizing, staffing, leading, and controlling project activities
Managerial RoleNot a traditional managerManages client relationshipsTraditional manager role
Client InteractionAcquires and directly manages clientsManages existing client accountsMay or may not directly interact with clients depending on the project
Organizational DepartmentSales and client acquisitionAccount management and client retentionProject management
Main FocusClient acquisition and managementExisting client account managementProject planning and execution
Skill SetSales, client acquisition, relationship buildingClient relationship management, problem-solving, negotiationProject planning, leadership, team management

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Is an account manager a good job?

Yes. Account management can be a great field if an individual has a knack for finance, communication, or sales. They can expect reasonable pay depending on their educational qualifications, work experience, etc. However, to excel in this area, they must think about more than just sales and maintain camaraderie with their clients.

2. Do account managers make commission?

Yes, account managers often have the opportunity to earn commissions. Their compensation packages may include a base salary as well as performance-based incentives, such as commissions or bonuses, tied to their ability to retain and grow customer accounts, fostering motivation and dedication to delivering exceptional service and results.

3. Is account manager a high position?

The position of an account manager is not typically considered a high-ranking executive role, but it is vital within an organization. Account managers are responsible for building and maintaining client relationships, ensuring customer satisfaction, and often contributing to revenue growth. While they may not hold top executive titles, their work is crucial for the success and growth of the company.

This has been a guide to Account Manager & its definition. We explain its salary, roles, comparison with account executive, & qualification. You can learn more about it from the following articles –

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