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Account Manager Career Guide

Account managers are excellent in customer service and managing client relationships. If you’re a natural problem solver, enjoy helping others, and always put the customer first, becoming an account manager could be a smart career move. A successful account manager is able to make customers feel like they are getting the best service and the most value out of their product as possible. Account managers work in a variety of industries, and many of them will travel to and from multiple organizations to discuss business with their clients.

Sample job description

Our clients are the heart and soul of our business. Consequently, we are looking for an extremely skilled account manager who is willing to go above and beyond in order to elevate our clients’ experiences. At [Your Company Name], we want every customer to know that they are the priority. This will be the account manager’s primary daily focus. The account manager will be required to reach out to existing customers in order to regularly check-in, listen to their feedback, take referrals, and use the opportunity to upsell existing clients. You will also be required to work alongside other departments to ensure that all customer requests are met and properly understood. Resolving complaints and finding solutions as a practical problem solver will be key in maintaining customer satisfaction and ensuring success in this position.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Track and evaluate daily performance
  • Report back information to superiors
  • Monitor and analyze customer data
  • Oversee cash receipts, payroll, utilities, revenue, and financial debt
  • Construct financial reports
  • Integrate annual audits
  • Manage client records and contracts
  • Address customers needs and concerns 
  • Ensure KPIs are met 
  • Negotiate client contracts
  • Build and maintain excellent customer relationships

Education and experience

  • High school diploma or equivalent (GED)
  • Bachelor’s degree in business administration, sales, accounting, or related field
  • 2 or more years of experience

Required skills and qualifications

  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Computer savvy
  • Administrative skills
  • Ability to direct and implement policies 
  • Leadership skills
  • Problem-solving skills 
  • Time management skills
  • Proficient listening skills
  • Works well under pressure
  • Negotiation skills
  • Strong communication skills
  • Multitasking skills
  • Confident handling large accounts
  • Strong selling skills
  • Detail-oriented 
  • Ability to meet goals/targets
  • Positive attitude 
  • Ability to build rapport with clients 

Preferred qualifications

  • Advanced computer skills
  • Certification related to account management
  • Knowledge in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software 
  • Master’s degree

Typical work environment

Account managers work in a variety of industries, typically in an office setting. They spend a good portion of their time on their feet as they frequently communicate with clients and other employees in meetings. They will also have the opportunity to travel and meet with their clients in person.

Typical hours

Account managers work during normal office hours, from 8 AM to 5 PM. There are times when the clients will need to meet after hours or on the weekends, so flexibility in your schedule is important in order to meet the clients’ needs.

Available certifications and classes

As account managers work in a variety of industries, there are many online resources and several institutions that offer certifications. Websites like Udemy and Coursera offer many classes to improve sales skills. There are also a variety of certification such as:

  • Strategic Account Manager Certification (CSAM) – Created by SAMA, this certificate teaches you the techniques needed to expand your customer base. It provides you with the knowledge to succeed on specific topics, like networking. This is a 12-18 month program, and you must currently be employed as a strategic account manager.
  • Certified Sales Professional (CSP) – This certification course ensures you are great when handling vital customers and can consistently meet target sales, which employers love to see. You must have a college degree, 35 hours of accredited training in sales, and four years of experience to be eligible for this certification.
  • Project Management Professional Certification (PMP) – This certification tells employers that you are knowledgeable in project management. It’s currently the number one management certification you can receive, but the requirements are strict. You’ll need a college degree, 36 months of leading projects, 35 hours of management training, and must be able to pass the PMP exam.

Career path

In order for you to become an account manager, you’ll need a high school diploma or equivalent. Most account managers have a bachelor’s degree in business administration, sales, accounting, marketing, or another related field. Candidates are highly competitive when it comes to this career, so some go on to get a master’s degree as well. 

Account managers work in a variety of industries. Many of them are working regular hours at B2B and B2C companies. Whether you’re managing tech accounts or retail ones, the job is fairly similar. Students who want to become an account manager should get internships in management and work on their organization and detail-oriented skills. Certifications related to this field are a plus, and many will go on to gather at least one after a few years in the field.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 11-3010

2020 Employment322,000
Projected Employment in 2030350,500
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 9% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift28,600 increase

Account management positions will continue to be a competitive and demanding field as industries continue to grow. Software will continue to improve as well, in order to better manage your client relationships, but this will not take over the job of account management. There will be an increase in managers over the next 10 years, as this is an occupation that will always need a human’s touch.