what is an account manager?

As an account manager, you are responsible for contacting the company's customers. A good account manager has a heart for the customer and business. As an account manager, you care for the needs and concerns of customers.

An account manager may be required to wear several hats. Their job requirements vary based on the client's needs at that time. You may need to be a salesperson, offer technical support, provide financial advice or take on the role of a customer service representative. An account manager serves as a liaison between the customer, the sales department and other departments and teams that may impact the client's account. As an account manager, you ensure that the client stays satisfied, and your employer gets a sizable return on the money they invested in acquiring the client.

what does an account manager do?

A good account manager is not focused on selling a product or service. Their focus is on helping customers solve problems or achieve their goals. They must be able to communicate with staff, management and customers. Account managers prioritise relationships over sales. They forgo short-term wins to foster long-term relationships.

Would working as an account manager suit your people skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in an account manager role.  

account manager jobs
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average salary of an account manager

According to National Careers, an account manager earns an average salary of £27,000 per year for entry-level positions. As you improve your skills and experience, your compensation package increases gradually. Experienced account managers earn over £65,000 annually.

For experienced account managers, the compensation is even higher than the norm. A strong account manager can earn a six-figure income and only handles a few accounts each year. The commissions and other bonuses are usually a substantial percentage of this figure. Top-performing account managers are highly sought after.

Aside from bonuses and commissions, you receive various allowances and benefits, including medical, housing and transport allowances. You also enjoy paid vacation days.

what factors affect your salary as an account manager?

Experience influences your salary significantly. At entry-level positions, earning commissions is hard since you have few clients and minimal skills to attract many customers. With more years of experience, you have the skills to attract more 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 urban locations also improves your salary prospects due to the high demand.
 

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types of account managers

Account managers typically fall into two primary categories:

  • national account managers: they are responsible for coordinating internal and external stakeholders and cross-functional parties. Depending on their employer, national account managers 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 seek 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.
     
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working as an account manager

Account managers build relationships with their employer's clients. They create liaisons between clients, executives and stakeholders. Their goal is to ensure that they deliver solutions to the customers promptly.

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education & skills

Some of the educational qualifications of an account manager include:

  • university: to become an account manager, you need a bachelor's degree in a business-related course. You can pursue sales or marketing studies to gain a solid educational grounding in business careers. While a postgraduate isn't necessary, it improves your chances of moving up the career ladder.
  • college course: a higher national diploma in the sales and marketing field or customer services can help you start your career. Certificate courses and apprenticeship programmes in marketing roles are also a great way to join the career.
  • work experience: account manager is a leadership role that requires prior experience in a similar position. You can start with internships in sales or customer service roles. You should also work as an account executive before moving to an account manager role.

skills and competencies

The qualities of an account manager include:

  • communication skills: as an account manager, you need to communicate well over the phone, via email and across departments and teams. You should be comfortable addressing C-suite executives, managers and sales reps. You should address clients professionally and maintain a good working relationship.
  • knowledge of the field: knowledge about the company and customer expertise is required. As an account manager, you nurture relationships and need an in-depth knowledge of the company and its customers. It also allows you to identify opportunities for growth that match the client's needs with the company's services.
  • ability to look ahead: a strategic perspective beyond short-term goals allows account managers to orchestrate long-term deals and relationships to create a mutually beneficial strategy. You need to prioritise long-term relationships over short-term rewards, which requires forward-thinking skills.
  • leadership skills: leadership is necessary for account managers because they interact with many parts of the business. You need to show confidence and command respect from clients and co-workers. You also need to inspire sales representatives to improve lead generation.
  • negotiation skills: negotiation skills help account managers sell products to customers. You must have a sense of timing, good presentation skills and the confidence to know when to push and when to pull back.
     
Admin and clerical
Admin and clerical
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FAQs

FAQs about working as an account manager

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