Being a company ambassador, building relationships and generating sales form the essentials of the account manager position. To be effective, the account manager needs a command of the features of the company’s products and services. Acquiring the necessary education, training and skills helps account managers successfully serve their companies and their customers. Below you will find a complete overview of the account manager job description, as well as job outlook and working hours.
Job Overview: What Does an Account Manager Professional Do?
The account manager job description requires this professional to persuade, inform and nurture buyers of the company’s goods and services. In this important role of customer service and sales, the account manager must communicate the virtues of products and services, gauge customer satisfaction, offer suggestions for improvement and answer questions from customers. Generally, account managers must have skills in cultivating relationships with customers.
Account Manager Job Duties
- Demonstrate, show and explain new products or services to existing and prospective clients.
- Recommend or suggest products, services and additional features bass on client needs, interests or preferences.
- Send or deliver product samples, catalogues and other sales literature and product or service descriptions to customers.
- Answer questions about prices, discounts, warranty coverage and services.
- Provide customer support.
- Solicit feedback from customers and clients about satisfaction with merchandise, services or the company.
- Seek and identify prospective customers by attending trade shows, obtaining and following referrals and leads from current or last customers.
- Review business and industry trends for effects on customers and accounts.
The type of setting or sector may shape the account manager’s responsibilities. For example, in commercial and industrial settings, account managers often make site visits to demonstrate how to use equipment. Pharmaceutical account managers may inform customers such as physicians about regulations or insurance company formularies. Within securities and financial services companies, the account manager monitors and explains to clients market conditions to guide them in investment decisions.
Account Manager Essential Job Skills
Communication. Account managers must convey clear, persuasive and informative answers and descriptions to clients. Communication skills also involve listening attentively to customer concerns, questions, critiques and recommendations. Typically, the terms of sales, warranties and refund or return policies must be provided in writing.
Persuasion. To attract customers and generate sales, account managers need skills in changing or influencing customer behavior.
Interpersonal. The account manager job description involves cultivating relationships with customers. For example, interpersonal skills allow the account manager to convey concern, understanding of the customers’ needs, and a willingness to serve the customer.
Computer and Technological. Account managers must rely on computers, wireless devices and applications for their work. Customer service management software helps account managers schedule calls to customers, new product or service suggestions, tips and other messages. The ability to effectively use emails, data analysis software and database systems is also part of the account manager job description.
Becoming an Account Manager
The account manager job description entails having education, training and also experience in the employer’s line of trade. This applies especially to aspiring account managers who wish to handle commercial or industrial sales accounts. Moreover, employers may afford training for entry-level account managers to learn various aspects of the company, its operations and products.
Qualifications and Training
Generally, account managers are college-educated. According to O*NET, approximately 77 percent of these jobs are filled by those with at least bachelor’s degrees. In non-technical sectors, a high school diploma may suffice when combined with experience in sales. However, employers who sell or manufacture technical, scientific or other products in a specialty field likely will prefer, if not require, a bachelor’s degree or college education.
Coursework in a particular field can help qualify account managers in certain fields. For example, those who may work for medical device manufactures take courses or earn degrees in biology, healthcare, chemistry and engineering. The account manager job description in the financial industry may require or prefer a degree in business administration, banking, securities or finance. Since an account manager in the securities sector may sell stocks and bonds, a candidate for such a position must be registered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
An account manager must have familiarity with the company’s products or services. Training may last up to a year and often focuses on educating the trainee about the specific company and its products. The prospective account managers may work under the supervision of account managers or other managers in various parts of a plant or company.
Account managers typically acquire prior work experience through customer service or sales positions. In some companies, training and supervised work provide the necessary experience for entry-level positions that ultimately lead to account manager positions. Certain manufacturers, retailers or wholesales, especially those dealing with highly-technical or specialized products or services, may require those who have previously worked as account managers or in the industry.
Depending on the employer, an account manager can qualify for the position with a combination of skills. Usually education in the employer’s industry and prior work experience are expected.
Job Outlook & Advancement Opportunities
According to O*NET, employment of sales representatives, which include those called account managers, should grow between five to eight percent by 2024. Job openings through 2024 are projected to number 392,300. The “Wholesale Trade” and “Manufacturing” sectors rank among the top employers of account managers.
Prospects for employment likely will prove stronger among wholesalers and manufacturers. Retailers will rely on customer service representatives at call centers, online support technicians or representatives and knowledge bases to assist customers. By contrast, account managers at business-to-business companies, such as manufacturers and wholesalers, are needed visit, answer questions of and otherwise interact with customers. The expertise and services of account managers in wholesale and manufacturing are less interchangeable.
O*NET reports that the median wage of sales representatives, which include account managers, was $55,730 per year, as of May 2015. This means that half of the sales representatives made above this amount. In the wholesale and manufacturing sector, the median as of May 2015 stood at $76,190. Moreover, with performance and experience, account managers can advance to sales manager and executive sales positions.
Account managers help attract and keep customers with their companies. To cultivate these relationships, account managers need knowledge of products and services and external factors to guide customers’ decisions. As a result, in many settings involving technical or scientific equipment or products, knowledge of the industry or field of study is essential.
To conclude, opportunities for employment should be stronger in industrial and commercial settings as opposed to the consumer retail sector. Account managers with business-to-business companies are more likely to survive down-sizing. This is due to their expertise and the demand for business purchasers to have technical questions answered and features explained. In case you want to read more about this field, also check out the sales manager job description.