Dynamic. Communicative. Insightful.
These qualities are only three of an account manager’s many interpersonal skills.
Whether you own a business or are an entry-level employee, you know that customer success is key.
You can’t make your sales quota without it. Marketing communications and strategies prove useless without it, too.
So what is it? Think of those previous three words: dynamic, communicative and insightful. Use those qualities to deliver customer success strategies.
Customer success is when you identify any potential customer problems or questions. Then, solve them or answer them before they ever happen. It helps you retain customers and build revenue.
An account manager facilitates this success.
What is an Account Manager?
You may know what a customer success manager is. What is an account manager, then?
They are both similar because they want the same results. They are both customer-centric. A customer success manager, or CSM, has a broader role in a business. They walk a customer through the whole sales process.
An account manager comes in whenever a customer needs help with something. They manage sales and work together with clients for their success. They act as a liaison between their organization and the customer.
Account managers oversee several customer accounts at once. They ensure these accounts bring in the right amount of cash flow. They do that by ensuring themselves and their company satisfies customer needs. Account management works with other departments, like sales and marketing. Altogether, they deliver stellar customer service that retains their customer core.
Is an Account Manager a Good Job?
So is this position considered to be a “good job?” That depends on you.
To succeed with account manager jobs, you have to have and develop a particular skill set. We get into more of that later.
Let’s crunch some numbers to see if it might be a good fit for you. Here are some statistics from 2020 in the U.S.:
- There are almost 300 thousand account managers
- The average annual salary is close to 100 thousand USD
- Large businesses with more than 10 thousand employees hire account managers the most
- Fortune 500 and manufacturing companies hire account managers the most
- The majority of account managers stay with their employer for over a year at least
But is an account manager a good job for a business itself? The overwhelming answer is yes.
Account services improve customer success. That’s their primary goal. Let’s look at last year’s data. When you improve customer success by only 5 percent, organizational profits can rise up to 95 percent.
6 Essential Skills That You Need to be an Account Manager
Here, we get into the essential skills you need as an account manager. We list six, but there are many more that you develop throughout your career.
Like we said before, an account manager or AM has to collaborate with other departments.
This includes the sales team, IT department and project managers. The list goes on. They have to work together to deliver customer-focused results.
Since an AM is at the front lines of the customer experience, they have to lead everyone else. With strong leadership skills, they demand respect and cooperation.
Leadership skills have a lot of categories. Here are some:
- Quality decision-making
- Reliability and trustworthiness
- Creative thinking
- Effective coaching
Good leaders are also productive and encourage productivity in everyone around them. Think of leadership skills as a cyclical concept. When leaders use these skills, other employees start to reflect them too. That pushes the leader to do the same yet again. The cycle goes on.
Clear communication acts as the building block to company-wide success.
Account managers have to use communication skills at every level of the sales life cycle.
They start with the client. They actively listen to their needs and resolve any challenges with a solution. Account managers deliver results with other business departments.
That’s where communication with those internal departments comes in. AMs have to relay the customer’s vision to the rest of the team. They don’t leave anything out. They have information about account details and constructive criticism. Regardless, an account manager must disclose it to the right parties.
Here are some general communication skills:
- Volunteering feedback to others
- Accepting feedback for themselves
- Showing empathy when they communicate
- Reading body language
- Responding with timeliness and consideration
- Knowing everyone’s learning style and communicating with that in mind
Business acumen is when you acknowledge a challenge or situation within your business. Then, you manage them in the most strategic and beneficial way possible.
In any workplace, obstacles pop up that you have to overcome. In particular, this is true for account management. AMs deal with a lot of parties who all have a lot to say.
Here are some business acumen skills to work on:
- Time management and prioritization
- Financial skills
- Technical savvy
Healthy working relationships are vital to a healthy business. Your internal employees have to build these types of relationships daily. Your account manager interacts with almost every department at some point. That’s why work relationships are crucial for their specific individual success.
Say that a customer is in the thick of your sales process. They might have to talk to the IT department on one day and a sales rep on another. They talk to your account manager throughout the entire process.
If your AM is in a tiff with the head of IT and the sales rep doesn’t respect them, your customer can tell.
A lack of healthy relationships implies an unprofessional environment.
Now say your AM maintains these relationships and puts in the work regularly. You have a smooth process for your team and for the customer.
Remember that both CSMs and account managers have the same goal. They both want happy customers. In fact, your whole employee core wants the same thing.
So your AM has to be results-oriented.
An ideal account manager recognizes that the general goal is to find and retain clients. They also figure out the specific goals for each customer and they know that every buyer is unique and has various goals themselves.
They discipline themselves to get the right results. Their team follows suit.
Openness to Change and Learning
Have you ever heard the age-old adage “the only constant in life is change?”
It’s the same for the business world. No matter what your market is, everything in it changes. Change happens with both internal and external factors.
Employees leave the company. A customer wants a new and improved product. Manufacturing prices fluctuate. The stock market could crash and spike on repeat.
An account manager has to face these changes and see them as an opportunity to learn and teach.
What Does an Account Manager Do Daily?
Now you know the gist of an account manager’s role in your company. You understand what skills they need to have to help your business flourish.
But after they come into the office and sit at their desk, you might have a blank image in your head of what happens next.
It’s tricky to see all the ways they can help you without real-life examples. So what does their day-to-day life look like? They have a lot on their plate.
They’re not shoddy office personnel who sit around and click “manage my passwords.” They don’t type “Gmail sign out” into their search engine all day. They don’t waste their time trolling the YouTube homepage for something to do. They are detail-oriented. But they don’t know the ins and outs of the Google settings app or small-fry stuff like that. They work on the big picture with relevant small-picture details.
They have many responsibilities. But we can describe their daily work life with six essential functions.
Outline the Sales Process
Account managers have existing customers. They also have ideas of who they want as new customers.
With this in mind, they generate sales for a portfolio of accounts. Those sales align with your company’s sales target.
You save money when you retain existing customers. A new customer costs up to five times more than retaining one that already exists. If you increase your retention by 5 percent, you could boost your profits by 25 to 95 percent.
An account manager identifies new sales opportunities with existing accounts. They retain a client-account manager relationship by up-selling and cross-selling.
Conflict happens regardless of if you want it to or not. It’s how you deal with it that counts. Luckily, account managers are trained in conflict resolution.
Conflict arises within the workspace. But it happens with clients, too. AMs manage and solve conflicts with clients. They’re expected to have specific information about their company’s daily operations. They keep the client updated.
“Is my activity sufficient for the job?”
“Is our company’s Google brand account on par with organizational goals?”
Different departments have specific concerns. Account managers address those concerns when they’re relative to the same customer account. They interact and coordinate with the sales team and other staff members in other departments. If they work on the same account, your AM works closely with them.
Your account manager should serve as the biggest bang for your buck. They know their worth in their career, but they also lead you down the most profitable road.
Because of this, they establish explicit budgets with the client and company.
An account manager is responsible for their own time management. But they also know that your staff sometimes relies on them as an example.
Because of this, company success and reputation reflect on them. A huge part of your brand’s reputation is timeliness.
Account managers meet time deadlines for accounts to build your business’s reputation.
At OmniSocial Engine, we’re here to answer your questions and give you results that last. For tips and more content on how to grow your business, check out our blog. If the services we offer interest you, schedule your free consultation today.