Account managers play the role of advocate for both internal teams and external clients, making them crucial for successful business operations. In most cases, these professionals serve as liaisons between an organization and its various client accounts. Their general day-to-day responsibilities include setting client expectations and cultivating a strong working relationship. In addition, account managers work with clients to understand their goals, then oversee projects to meet them.
According to PayScale, the median salary for account managers is $51,181 per year. Because of its dynamic nature, no account management role fits an exact mold. In addition, depending on the organization and service type, job duties for account managers can vary widely.
Types of Account Managers
In most cases, an account management role is either focused on client management or project management. In some companies, account managers might be responsible for handling client needs, while in others they could be tasked with executing internal projects for client delivery. The following are some of the job titles that fall under the umbrella of account management:
- Project managers facilitate internal projects, ensure quality control and streamline workflow among internal teams.
- Creative directors plan and execute marketing strategies on behalf of clients. They work closely with designers, art directors, copywriters, photographers, web developers and more.
- Sales managers oversee sales teams, setting budgets and assigning financial goals for each client account.
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The following sections break down these roles by their various responsibilities, giving you an inside look at the account manager job description.
Many account managers onboard new clients and identify new opportunities to increase the success of current client accounts. They provide excellent customer service and as much personalized attention as possible. It is important for account managers to have a comprehensive understanding of their company’s products and services in order “to make targeted pitches for current and future clients,” PayScale says. They might also travel to conduct client meetings in person and help build a positive business relationship. It is important for account managers in this role to have strong communication skills and client relations experience.
On the more pragmatic side of things, account managers might be tasked with ensuring that projects are completed on time and within budget. Project management requires professionals to coordinate internal and external resources to execute projects and campaigns successfully. In addition, they should be able to develop project plans to track projects, using the right systems and tools for the job, Workable says. Another important component of project management is risk management, which takes into account potential issues and roadblocks in order to minimize any negative impact on a project or budget.
In a creative director role, account managers ensure that the creative department within an organization maintains brand standards. “And while some creative directors take on a purely managerial role, others keep one foot in the trenches, helping to generate the big ideas and create concepts,” The Creative Group says. They take charge of the creative process from start to finish, identifying brand strategies based on marketing objectives. Part of managing internal teams includes preparing client proposals for new initiatives and pitching new ideas to clients, leadership and other stakeholders.
In sales, account managers are usually assigned a specific number of client accounts. They “pay attention to clients’ needs to find products and services that will fit them best,” along with maintaining a high level of customer service, PayScale says. In some organizations, account managers are responsible for finding potential new clients and contacting them to set up initial meetings. They are also tasked with forecasting sales and preparing both cost estimates and price quotations.
Success in Account Management Careers
West Virginia State University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Management that prepares students to manage accounts and client relationships in a variety of settings. The curriculum explores key business topics like accounting, finance, marketing and information systems. Students gain skills in communication, critical thinking, problem solving, quantitative analysis and more, all of which are valuable for careers in account management and more. This program, which is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs, gives graduates the knowledge and management skills they need to thrive in the workplace.