An account manager is a people-person, and is a liaison between a company and its customers. He or she is the face of the company whose primary job is to acquire new business and to maintain old business. Account managers also handle external leads and assist current clients in order to give them the value they need.
What does an Account Manager do?
Account managers have one foot in sales, and one foot in customer service. They work closely with clients to determine their clients' needs, and then develop products or services to meet those needs. Their most fundamental job is to communicate - their business is customer relationship management. An account manager’s success depends on how good they are at networking, and building and sustaining relationships. Whether working with outbound leads or existing customers, account managers are constantly building relationships, providing value, and above all, listening. The ability to listen – to figure out what a client needs, and then fulfill that need – is a highly sought-after trait.
Part of an account manager's job is to create budgets and schedules for meeting their accounts' needs. They also make sure deadlines are met for product development efforts (manufacturing industries), or client projects (service industries). They will also communicate clients' agendas to staff and management, and relay any concerns and capabilities of their company to the client.
Many account managers also search out, find, and solicit new customers, therefore sales is part of the job as well. The difference between a salesperson and an account manager is that instead of selling the account and then handing it off, the account manager maintains an active role post-sale. In advertising, that may mean overseeing the execution of ads. In software, it may mean overseeing the execution of a new system and helping to train the client. In manufacturing, it may mean making sure that orders are delivered on time.
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Account managers are found in all types of companies, such as consulting firms, service providers, tech companies, employment agencies, advertising agencies, public relations agencies, advertising, banking, etc.