Business growth. Return of investments. There’s no one way to summarize what account management is all about out. The role’s importance comes in right after a business is agreed upon when the deal is sealed. Professionals in this area come in to make sure that client engagement is present and has the potential to grow.
What is Account Management?
Account management is the practice of retaining and developing relationships with existing customers. The people involved in account management must be able to understand the goal and revenue of a company to achieve an expected number of accounts per year.
Why is Account Management Important?
The straightforwardness of an account manager’s job can’t be understated. Throughout time, their duties and approaches to client building have proven to be excellent techniques for sustaining and growing a business. In fact, according to Gartner, retention and growth will always be essential components to meeting revenue goals.
In a separate article, “Secret to B2B Account Growth,” the global advisory firm said that businesses can find, but often miss, opportunities with existing customers. The article recommends that sales leaders should consider changing their approaches to incentives and account building. Still, despite the changes that should be made, in the end, account managers are the crucial players that can influence effective change.
What is an Account Manager?
Account managers are responsible for nurturing a company’s portfolio of existing accounts. The role is common in both the sales and advertising industries as both measure most of their success once they’ve “won” an account. While advertising agencies may have many account managers, these professionals can also find themselves applying for positions in marketing firms and public relations companies.
Account managers typically work with clients for a length of the time the client chooses to pay for specific services. A client’s interest in this venture will depend on the account manager’s ability to achieve the client’s goals and highlight the value they bring to them. Unlike sales representatives, who are mostly tasked with acquiring new customers, account managers focus on retention, expansion and growth.
Account managers also create case studies and advise clients on long-term growth strategies. For example, an account manager at a marketing agency would be responsible for understanding the client’s short- and long-term brand goals so the marketing team can better manage the message the client wants to convey to the public.
What is the Job Outlook for Account Managers?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)1, employment for advertising, promotions and marketing managers is projected to grow 8% from 2018 to 2028. Job growth will occur as more companies seek ways to differentiate their products through advertising, marketing and public relations in an increasingly crowded market. Competition for the most desirable account manager careers can be fierce; job seekers with advanced education should have an advantage.
Account Manager Salary
Salaries vary for account manager jobs depending on skills, company size and the industry. The BLS1 states that the median annual salary for advertising, promotions and marketing managers was $117,130 in 2018.
While account manager jobs often require at least a bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree holders may start out in other agency roles and work their way up. Those who can find work as an account manager will typically start in the lower salary range but can attain higher earnings with further education and experience.
What Are the Duties of an Account Manager?
Since keeping existing customers is the primary responsibility for account managers, their duties revolve mostly around retention goals measured through revenue metrics. Account managers are also expected to leverage their company’s internal resources (creative, customer service, etc.) to meet the client’s goals and provide recommendations to enhance customer success.
According to aggregated data from sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor, account managers perform the following duties on a daily basis:
- Develop and foster client relationships
- Assist creative, sales and marketing departments in the delivery of campaigns
- Build and keep up with performance and sales data and metrics
- Participate in client campaign calls
- Work closely with sales departments to understand client objectives, strategies and goals
- Guide product selection, pricing and inventory
The Business Journal defines account management as the constant intention to bring value to clients beyond what they sell to them. Unlike customer services, which work as a response to what a client wants at the moment, account management strategies can win companies’ deals at the prices they want.
What Skills Do You Need to Be an Account Manager?
Account managers are generally considered to be detailed-oriented professionals that can think for themselves. Since they must manage several accounts, keep track of marketing campaigns, public relations and meet with clients, most of them are expected to have good judgment and excellent communication skills.
Education requirements for account managers vary by industry, though most roles will require a bachelor’s degree. For example, an account manager in the financial space may have an accounting background, while an advertising account manager may have majored in marketing. Moreover, professionals in account management come from a variety of academic backgrounds, but many employers prefer candidates with more specialized advertising or marketing education.
Depending on the type of client and industry, account managers can pursue a degree in either accounting, marketing or management. Read below to learn about degree options that can help you jumpstart your career.
Interested in a shorter degree program and starting your career?
- Pursue an AA in Marketing. In this two-year program, you will learn about marketing principles along with business and economics concepts. This degree can allow you to combine marketing basics with leadership and critical thinking.
Interested in an entry-level and/or mid-level job?
- Pursue a BA in Business Administration/Marketing. This degree allows students to build specialized knowledge about positioning products, estimating product demand and identifying market segments.
- Pursue a BA in Management. This degree provides basic managerial concepts that allow graduates to understand how organizations operate. Account managers can take advantage of this degree by combining focused leadership and critical thinking knowledge with marketing and accounting concepts.
Interested in pursuing an account director or leadership position?
- Pursue an MBA in Management. If you already have a strong professional background, earning this degree can equip you with specialized leadership and managerial skills to perfect account relationships. This degree also dives into the concepts of marketing management and managerial accounting, two aspects crucial for any account manager.
- Pursue an MBA in Finance. Despite how interactive an account management job can get, understanding metrics, revenues, and even projecting monetary investments can come in handy for account managers that track portfolio performance and pay attention to potential client deals with the expectation of a return of investment for their organization.
Learn about all of Florida Tech’s online business programs.
1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Advertising, Promotions and Marketing Managers, on the internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm (accessed January 16, 2020).
National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth. Information provided is not intended to represent a complete list of hiring companies or job titles, and program options do not guarantee career or salary outcomes. Students should conduct independent research for specific employment information.