Client companies wouldn't receive the exceptional individual attention they enjoy without account managers, as they are usually assigned to specific accounts. These professionals are responsible for both selling and customer service, and usually work in the advertising, business or financial services industries. If you are self confident, enjoying working with people and have interpersonal skills, an account manager career may perfect for you.
Account managers usually call on clients several times per year and introduce new products and services. In this role, your accounts can vary from small clients to national ones, which you might meet at the corporate headquarters. You are much more than just a sales person when working in account management. You also serve as a consultant, matching services and products to clients' needs to help them increase sales and profits. When products or services are ordered, you process sales invoices and ensure clients receive everything in a timely manner. Most account managers also do some cold calling to acquire new clients, as they might lose some accounts during the year.
Client Service and Administrative Responsibilities
Account managers are much more than just sales reps. They are assigned specific accounts so they can better service them. To service clients, you might contact them several times per week to discuss marketing or advertising strategies. Per your agreement, you might also track website traffic and other advertising programs, share industry and competitive information, write reports and provide results of consumer research studies. Account managers must create relationships with clients that are so close that they feel comfortable calling any day with questions, or for information about customer ratings from a market research survey, for example. If you are experienced in your field, you might also train new account managers on procedures and policies.
Like most sales reps, account managers usually work Monday to Friday during day hours. They might be required to travel to clients' cities, where they would spend several days away from their families. A 40-hour week is a luxury in account management, as you are always busy calling or meeting with clients, handling late shipment problems, obtaining information or determining which new products the clients need.
Education and Training
Some account managers might have only high school degrees, especially if they have sales experience. However, because these professionals speak and consult with managers and executives, companies might prefer hiring account managers with bachelor's degrees. In this field, you must be computer savvy, which requires knowing how to use word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software -- skills you can learn and develop in college. Most training is conducted on the job. Companies often prefer hiring account managers with sales experience, so training might be focused more on products or services and company procedures instead of beginner sales techniques.
Salary and Job Outlook
Account managers earned median salaries of $50,764 annually from 2012 to 2013, according to 10,176 managers surveyed conducted by Glassdoor. Your median salary as an account manager would range from $39,000 to $80,000 per year. Jobs for wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives, including account managers, are expected to increase 16 percent between 2010 and 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is slightly above the national average of 14 percent for all jobs.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products
- Glassdoor: Account Managers Salaries
- Victoria James: Account Manager Position Description
- DegreeDirectory.org: What Are the Job Responsibilities of an Account Manager?
- Taleo: Account Manager
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