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Account Manager Career Guide

How to Become an Account Manager

Almost every organization needs account managers in some capacity. This role is vital in maintaining relationships with customers and addressing any concerns or questions they may have. In this role, you will most likely wear many hats, serving as a salesperson, customer service representative, technical specialist, and financial advisor to your customers. 

When you choose a career as an account manager, you will have many opportunities to work in many different industries. An account manager career path is great for stability, as this is a position that is expected to continue growing in the next several years. 

The role of an account manager is challenging and ever-changing. There is also a lot of room for growth in this career path. As you become a more experienced account manager, you will have opportunities to manage more accounts and work your way up to leadership positions within your organization.

Program manager through glass window with paper

What Is an Account Manager?

An account manager is typically a business representative that deals with customers the most. They regularly interact with customers and handle all customer inquiries by addressing concerns and maintaining account transactions and activities.

This is typically a mid-level position within an organization. Most recruiters for this role want to see a bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, a related field. If the position is a higher level, they may require you to have an advanced degree, certain certifications, or more years of experience.

What Does an Account Manager Do?

The exact responsibilities of an account manager will vary from company to company, but there are some general tasks that most account managers are responsible for in any organization. The most important thing that an account manager does is communicate and coordinate with their delegated base of customers.

Here are a few responsibilities that you can expect to have as an account manager in any industry or organization:

  • Customer contact: The account manager is the main point of contact for any new and existing customers. They field calls and address concerns directly with the customer. An account manager has the most one-on-one contact with customers.
  • Create long-lasting relationships: Because the account manager has so much contact with the customer, it is their job to ensure the relationships are maintained and that the customer is reasonably satisfied.
  • Meet sales and/or business goals: A big part of an account manager’s job is to meet their business goals. The goals of an account manager are often a reflection of the company's strategy and overall direction of growth.
  • Reporting: As an account manager, you will be responsible for reporting on your accounts and the results you're providing them.

Develop new business: Account managers are often tasked with outbound calls or taking lead calls from prospective customers to bring in new business and revenues.

What Education Does an Account Manager Need?

Account manager education requirements are pretty standard across industries. A bachelor’s degree in business management or business administration is a great starting point for those who want to pursue account management. In this type of degree program students will learn all the fundamentals of business they will need to be successful in a career. Students will learn about finances, budgets, management strategies, and other key areas of business that are important for account managers.

Similarly a bachelor’s degree in marketing can be a great option for those who want to become account managers. This type of degree program branches into sales management, consumer behavior, fostering relationships, and more. Marketing can be ideal for account managers as it will help them be able to promote themselves and their products to new clients, as well as continue to foster positive relationships with their customers.

Business Management – B.S. Business Administration

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:...

Hone your business acumen and garner added...

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:

  • Time: 70% of graduates finish within 41 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,720 per 6-month term.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Account executive
  • Business analyst
  • Program manager
  • Director or senior director
  • Vice president

This online degree program is an excellent choice for kick-starting your organizational management career.

Marketing – B.S. Business Administration

For those who want to lead brands and steer consumer markets:...

For those who want to lead brands and steer...

For those who want to lead brands and steer consumer markets:

  • Time: 70% of graduates finish within 41 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,720 per 6-month term.

Some careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Marketing and PR manager
  • Director of marketing and communications
  • Director of publications
  • Customer intelligence manager
  • Marketing sales manager

Marketing is a creative and exciting field—and one where an undergraduate degree will open better opportunities.


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What Skills Does an Account Manager Need?

There are certain skills that every account manager should have. These are the qualities that will help you to be successful in your role and effectively work with your customers. There will be some jobs that require you to have a specific skill set, but these are a few of the most common skills that you should have as an account manager in any industry:

  • Communication: The ability to effectively converse and problem-solve with your customers.
  • CRM experience: i.e., experience with HubSpot, Salesforce, etc.
  • Negotiation skills: Being able to effectively negotiate on behalf of your organization with your customers.
  • Ability to handle multiple accounts: You should be comfortable managing multiple customer accounts as well as the individual expectations of each.
  • Strong presentation skills: You should be able to comfortably present one-on-one or in a group setting to others.

Strong sales skills: Finally, you should have a knack for closing deals and providing value to others in exchange for contract signatures.

How Much Does an Account Manager Make?

$141,490

The median annual income for an advertising/promotions/marketing manager in 2020 was $141,490. The median annual income for a sales manager in 2020 was $132,290. It is important to note that managers who make these incomes are most likely leaders in their organization and are most likely managing multiple teams of account managers.

These numbers are based on national data. Your specific income level will be dependent on your education, experience, and where you live. The more experience and education you have, the more likely it is that your salary will be closer to the median income.

What Is the Projected Job Growth?

6%

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the account manager role is expected to grow by 6% between 2019 and 2029. This means that the account manager will continue to be an essential role within any organization.

Where Do Account Managers Work?

Varies

There are many organizations and departments that an account manager works in. Depending on the structure of each organization, the account manager may be in the sales department, marketing department, or business development department. Here are four of the most common industries that an account manager works in:

-Financial Services

-Information Technology

-Advertising

-Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals

 

Interested in Becoming an Account Manager?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this exciting career.

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