Want to become an account manager at a reputable company? We’ve curated this guide to help you better understand how to become an account manager and what you can expect as far as the job description, job outlook, and potential career paths. First, we’ll define what an account manager is.
What Is an Account Manager?
An account manager maintains and nurtures relationships between a company and its customers. Companies rely on account managers to ensure the needs of the clients are met. Their background in finance or business ensures they have the proper perspective when handling customers’ accounts.
The level of attentiveness and interpersonal skills of an account manager directly impacts customer satisfaction. It also determines if the customer will have a long-term relationship with the company. They are the face behind the product and carry a great amount of influence.
Often, account managers are mistaken for sales representatives. Salespersons focus on drawing customers to the business. They follow up on potential leads and assign new clients to an account manager. Sales representatives pass on all relevant information and search for a new lead while the account manager builds a relationship with the new customers.
There is an overlap in the skills and job responsibilities of account managers and key account managers. Key account managers focus on a company’s most profitable and longest-tenured customers and can sometimes act as consultants for these customers. Learn more about an account manager’s job description below.
Account Manager Job Description
Job descriptions vary from company to company. As an account manager, you can bet on spending a lot of time managing and nurturing relationships with clients. You need to welcome new clients with open arms and search for ways to keep the existing client base interested. Clients look at you for direction, and you’ll need to have answers to their problems.
Often, account managers liaise with the customer service team and product development department of a company. The overall goal is to retain clients and provide excellent customer service. Account managers develop and maintain lasting relationships to maximize business growth. They also prepare reports and collaborate with the sales department to grow opportunities across the board.
Account Manager Salary and Job Outlook
ZipRecruiter indicates that the average salary of an account manager in the United States is $51,057 per year. The top account managers in the 90th percentile earn an average salary of $75,500 each year. Account managers in the 25th percentile, meanwhile, earn $37,000 per year.
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The average bootcamp grad spent less than six months in career transition, from starting a bootcamp to finding their first job.
BLS indicates that, in general, the employment growth of positions in advertising, promotions, and marketing will go up by 10 percent between 2020 and 2030. The related sales representative profession is expected to grow five percent over the same period.
Top Reasons to Become an Account Manager in 2021
If you’re good with numbers and people, a job as an account manager could be a good fit for you. Besides being able to interact with a wide range of people each day, you’ll enjoy strong job security and decent compensation. Below you will find reasons why a career in account management in 2021 is a fantastic choice.
- You’ll get to connect with others. If you have the ability to build connections and create an exceptional customer experience, a career as an account manager is a good choice. You will have the competitive edge needed to succeed in the position.
- The field is still growing. There is an increase in the number of account manager positions across the globe. Once you master the right skills, you can easily spearhead your career in tech, finance, or any other industry.
- You can earn bonuses. The salary of an account manager is not fixed. There are some companies that pay professionals a bonus for acquiring and maintaining top clients.
- It’s a versatile career. The job of an account manager requires versatility. For example, you might find yourself occasionally playing the role of a salesperson or a financial advisor.
Account Manager Job Requirements
Most of the job requirements of an account manager will stay the same across companies. The role involves a lot of face-to-face interaction, selling, and multitasking. The main goal is to build strong relationships. Find out what’s required of you below.
- Bachelor’s degree. More often than not, recruiting companies will check if you have a degree in business administration or a relevant field. And with a number of high-quality online business degrees to choose from, it’s never been easier to get your bachelor’s.
- Extensive experience. You must have previous experience as an account manager, sales representative, or sales account manager.
- Communication skills. You have to be able to communicate effectively with different types of stakeholders. Having excellent communication skills will help you maintain long-lasting relationships and ensure you’re a successful account manager.
- Experience using CRM. Hiring managers ask interview questions pertaining to customer relationship management (CRM) software. You should at least be familiar with HubSpot or Salesforce if you want to stand out for a job opening.
Types of Account Manager Careers
Acquiring skills in account management does not limit you to being an account manager for your entire career. You can easily find other job opportunities and seek higher-paying positions. One of the best ways to land better-paying jobs in account management is by earning a professional certification. Below you will find alternative positions for those with account management skills.
Digital Account Director
A digital account director works as a digital liaison between companies and their clients. They have extensive project management skills and abilities that help improve client satisfaction. Their main role is to manage digital planning strategies for clients. Often, you will find these professionals handling the company’s website and social media platforms.
Group Account Director
A group account director is responsible for helping lead the development of a company. They maintain relationships with customers and provide guidance to the account and sales team. Their skills allow them to counsel clients and develop strategies to achieve specific revenue goals.
These professionals have extensive expertise that allows them to ensure maximum client satisfaction. They direct marketing and advertising campaigns and often handle budgets while managing customer relationships.
Account Manager Meaning: What Does an Account Manager Do?
What does it mean to be an account manager? Account managers have a lot of responsibilities. Without them, it would be difficult to ensure customers remain satisfied. Learn what an account manager does on a daily basis below.
Acts as a Liason
An account manager is the point of reference for clients and departments in the company. It is their responsibility to relay information, clarify issues, and deliver services on time. Through them, the parties concerned remain abreast of any changes made.
Keeps Clients Informed
The account manager’s main responsibility is to keep clients satisfied. They are also responsible for informing clients of potential changes and opportunities. A regular dialogue needs to be maintained with clients.
It is important that an account manager has strong organizational skills and remains abreast of account activities. They should always be informed of the client’s budget and upcoming costs. This is an excellent opportunity to negotiate new terms that will lead to more success.
Formulates Progress Reports
Account managers should always be on top of trends and changes to the account. Therefore, it is important to write reports for the clients and management. This will help in developing the account and ensure customers are happy.
Essential Account Manager Skills
Account managers need a group of advanced skills to help them succeed in the industry. Besides an understanding of business fundamentals, you’ll need communication skills, analytical skills, and other kinds of soft skills. Take a look at some of the most common skills for account managers to have on their resumes.
The most important skill of an account manager is communication. Account managers speak with in-house stakeholders and clients on a daily basis. It is important that you can communicate effectively in person, via email, or by phone. To ensure the needs of the customers are met, you will have to deal with each level of the company.
Public Relations Skills
Your knowledge of public relations will help you understand how to deal with each client or professional to advance the business. Understanding market forces and keeping current with cultural preferences will be key to keeping your accounts fresh and relevant.
It is vital for account managers to have an in-depth understanding of a client’s accounts. You need to learn how to prioritize a long-term relationship that pays dividends over time. This will significantly increase profits for your company while also building the bond between you and your customers.
Business Development Skills
You must be able to pinpoint areas of growth for your company. Being able to identify potentially profitable opportunities is a needed skill for this role. You should be able to help the business grow while still helping the clients learn of new company products that could benefit them.
How Long Does It Take to Become an Account Manager?
It can take four or more years to become an account manager. If you enroll in a coding bootcamp instead of pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration or Sales, you can significantly shorten the time it takes to get hired.
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Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Become an Account Manager?
A coding bootcamp is unlikely to directly lead to a job as an account manager, but there are bootcamps that offer sales training and these can put you on the right path. Coding bootcamps typically offer specialized training to professionals who want to learn in-demand tech-related skills.
Can I Become an Account Manager from Home?
Yes, you can become an account manager from home. There are several learning opportunities for professionals to learn within the comfort of their homes. You will find online degree programs or online courses curated for professionals to launch their careers.
How to Become an Account Manager: A Step-by-Step Guide
There are multiple pathways available to aspiring account managers. Earning a bachelor’s degree is the safest first step, but it is not as hard to get trained for this profession as it used to be. Below you’ll find a step-by-step guide to help you launch your career.
Step 1: Pursue a Bachelor’s Degree
Attend a four-year degree program in business administration, sales, or a related field. This will help you learn the ins and outs of account management. This will give you the experience and expertise to land a job as an account manager at most companies. You will find most hiring managers prefer professionals with a background in sales or business administration.
Step 2: Fill the Gaps in Your Resume with a Bootcamp or MOOC
Attending one of the top sales bootcamps might be the best way to gain insight into the career of a modern account manager. It is a fantastic way to learn the latest skills and knowledge required of sales professionals. You can also opt to sign up for a massive open online course (MOOC), and these are usually offered for free.
Step 3: Apply for a Job
Becoming an accounting manager requires experience. Therefore, it is important that you gain some work experience before applying for the role. Entry-level sales jobs will help you develop the expertise and perspective to handle key clients and stakeholders at any company.
Best Schools and Education for an Account Manager Career
There are a variety of schools and educational institutions that can help you become an account manager. Online bootcamps, community colleges, and vocational school programs can all help you acquire in-demand skills and knowledge. Read about each option below.
Account Manager Bootcamps
Account manager bootcamps are not available. However, you can attend technololgy sales bootcamps to acquire relevant sales skills and gain experience. These bootcamp programs feature introductory modules that are fantastic for novices in the field. In a matter of weeks, a beginner can pick up essential sales and account management skills.
One advantage of attending a bootcamp is the career advice typically offered after graduation. The bootcamp providers often partner with companies in tech and also offer one-on-one guidance for graduates as they start their job search. Bootcamps will often host industry events that help students and graduates network with potential hiring managers.
Vocational schools typically focus on building industry-specific skills to allow graduates to be employed soon after graduating. Typical fields of study at a vocational school are cosmetology, automotive repair, and metalworking. Many vocational schools also offer business classes, which may be of interest to you.
Community college programs are an excellent alternative for professionals who don’t want to attend four-year degree programs. The two-year associate degrees offered by these schools can teach you the basics of account management. Affordable tuition costs and shorter courses attract professionals around the world to community colleges.
Account Manager Degrees
The benefits of earning a bachelor’s degree can’t be underestimated. A four-year degree in business administration or sales can set you up for a successful career in account management. The degree program is essential since most hiring managers require professionals to have a degree from an accredited institution.
The Most Important Account Manager Certifications
To get ahead in sales, you will need more than good education and training. You must consider getting certified in order to stand out in the field. Below you will find top account manager certifications.
Certified Sales Professional (CSP)
The CSP certification is the gold standard in sales. To acquire this certification, you must have a college degree as well as four years of experience in account management. CPSA will also check if you had success working in the field. You can bypass these requirements if you have over six years of sales experience.
Project Management Professional (PMP)
This certification proves you have the leadership skills to take on any project presented by the employer. It shows you can use hybrid and Agile approaches in your work to ensure success in your undertakings. According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), professionals with this certification earn a higher median salary in North America.
Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
To sit for the CMA certification exams, you need a bachelor’s degree or professional certification from a professional association. You will also need at least two years of experience in a related field. Finally, you need to pass two exams. The certification is popular with account managers who want to validate their knowledge in strategic planning and financial management.
How to Prepare for Your Account Manager Job Interview
If you are wondering how to prepare for an account manager job interview, do not look any further. There are thousands of people just like you who are determined to get the upper hand during the interview process. This is why we culled a list of interview questions from trusted sources to help you prepare.
Account Manager Job Interview Practice Questions
- How do you earn your clients’ trust?
- Why do you need to establish long-term relationships with your clients?
- How would you categorize a successful sales relationship?
- What keeps you motivated each day in account management?
- Have you ever had a conflict with previous clients, and how did you handle it?
- Why should we hire you as an account manager?
Should I Become an Account Manager in 2021?
Yes, you should become an account manager in 2021. The career path of an account manager is highly rewarding and will help you interact with different professionals across the world. In addition, if you enjoy traveling and interacting with people from different backgrounds, a career in account management might be exactly what you’re looking for.
Account Manager FAQ
Can You Become an Account Manager Without a Degree?
Yes, you can become an account manager without a degree. As traditional forms of education get phased out, education providers are seeking convenient and affordable training opportunities to help students acquire relevant knowledge and skills. You can easily choose to attend a bootcamp or sign up for an online course.
Is It Hard to Become an Account Manager?
No, it’s not hard to become an account manager. In this guide, we featured a step-by-step process to help you successfully launch your career in account management. In addition, there are different education pathways that will help you learn relevant and in-demand knowledge.
Is an Account Manager a Sales Job?
An account manager has several responsibilities that overlap with a salesperson’s job description. However, it is not technically a sales job.
Is an Account Manager a Promising Career?
Yes, a career in account management is promising. There are several benefits that come with the position. You will receive excellent pay, benefits, a 401(k) retirement fund, and multiple opportunities to travel.
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