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The Responsibilities of an Account Manager in Business Development

by Linda Ray

A business development professional basically is a salesperson tasked with developing new business for a company. As an account manager in business development, you’ll stick with the clientele you build to service their company needs and sell them more goods or services. Your responsibilities range from finding new sources of revenue to maintaining records on your clients’ activities.

Learn Your Company's Products

Before you can present the features and benefits of your company’s products and services effectively, you must develop in-depth knowledge about the products or services you provide. There’s often a learning curve for new business development account managers while you learn the specifics of your industry. Most employers prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree to illustrate your cognitive abilities, though it’s not always necessary if you are a go-getter. A business, finance or management degree could help you get your foot in the door, however.

Bring in New Business

Through a variety of techniques, you will call on prospective customers, set up meetings and try to sell your products or services. After all, that’s business development. Some companies give account managers a territory in which they cull for prospects. You may spend time cold-calling to make sales and call on those potential customers that could benefit from your offerings. Networking, working trade shows, responding to calls for information and participating in professional association events are other tactics you may employ to meet and close new sales.

Research Opportunities

An effective business development account manager performs extensive research on potential clients before approaching them. Through Internet searches and reading annual reports, news clippings and interviews, you’ll determine the best way to approach a potential client, when they may be most in need of your company’s offerings and how you can best serve them. In a large company, you’ll work closely with the marketing and advertising departments to identify target customers. You may work closely with buyers, programmers and product development teams to create products and services you find are needed by your clients.

Manage the Accounts

Once you sign a new client, the work doesn’t stop. Initially, it’s up to you to get all contracts signed and set up a delivery schedule. You’ll create reports and files that include all the information you learned about the client and develop a plan to maintain goodwill and foster additional sales. Call on regular customers consistently even when you don’t have a new product to offer or when it’s time for them to reorder. Build a relationship with clients so that you will get referrals and keep their business. Even though you may have made one sale, clients are being approached by competitors constantly and the most effective way to ensure your continued business relationship is to show your appreciation for your clients’ business and keep in touch.

About the Author

Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."

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