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What is an Account Manager?

Also known as: Customer Relations Manager, Client Manager.

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.

How to Become an Account Manager

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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How to become an Account Manager

For an account manager in public relations or advertising, a bachelor's degree in advertising, public relations, journalism, or communications is recommended, as is becoming an intern. With five years of work experience, account managers in public relations may sit for the Accredited in Public Relations certification exam offered by the Public Relations Society of America.

For technology fields, an engineering degree-or at least some experience and understanding of the company that one wants to work for is a pre-requisite for the job. Some account managers in manufacturing find that getting Certified Professional Manufacturer's Representative credentials can help their careers.

After completing a bachelor's degree, an aspiring account manager can be hired as a junior account executive, or assistant account manager. Account managers seeking advancement opportunities may want to pursue a master's degree, and could be one way for managers to stand out in the sea of job candidates.

What is the workplace of an Account Manager like?

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.

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Further Reading

  • 5 Traits of Highly Successful Account Managers earnworthy.com

    In this article, I will outline the 5 skills that can make or break an account manager...

  • Account Manager en.wikipedia.org

    An account manager is a person who works for a company and is responsible for the management of sales, and relationships with particular customers.

  • What Is an Account Manager? jobs.telegraph.co.uk

    It is an Account Managers role to provide customer relationship management acting as a first point of contact for customers with regards to any queries, complaints or purchases.

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