- Types of account manager
- What do account managers do?
- Account management career path
- Account manager salaries
- Qualifications & training
- Account manager skills
- Pros and cons of being an account manager
- Account manager work-life balance
- Account manager employers
- Related jobs
Are you looking for an exciting career managing high profile clients and getting results that benefit both the client and the company? Do you enjoy overseeing projects and working across many disciplines to bring the best possible experience to your growing client base? If you are an assertive, confident person with an eye for sales and the ability to manage a broad selection of tasks, a career as an account manager could be for you.
Interested in a career as an account manager? Explore current graduate opportunities in the sales and commercial sector and take your first step towards a career in this fast-paced role.
Types of account manager
Global account manager
As a global account manager, your clients will be based worldwide. This sort of role is usually reserved for large companies with international accounts and will likely involve travel out of the country to manage your clients.
National account manager
National account managers will have numerous client accounts nationwide for companies that have multiple locations across the country.
Technical account manager
A technical account manager is responsible for addressing the technical requirements of a client and requires expertise in the chosen field of the company. They must be able to understand the problems a customer may be facing and propose a technology within the company that might resolve this.
What does an account manager do?
An account manager is the company representative who manages the client experience and is responsible for the day-to-day management of a client's account with a business. Here are some of the daily tasks that you could do:
- Generate sales for the company
- Review client accounts and look for opportunities to upsell or cross-sell
- Maintain client relationships by engagement and development
- Negotiations with clients to find the balance of expectations and what the company can deliver
- Managing ongoing projects
- Customer acquisition
- Supporting existing customer contracts
- Meeting sales targets by developing new business opportunities
Account manager career path
Your career begins as an assistant account manager. In this role, you assist in the day to day support of other account managers and senior account executives. You will be responsible for a small portfolio of clients and be the first point of contact for any administration. You will aid in communication across the company to help find solutions for your client and keep to timelines.
You will be a self-starter with attention to detail, a good customer service manner and the ability to produce quick turnarounds. You can expect to be trained in varying customer relationships and management styles as the role requires many different skills.
After demonstrating your skills and experience by working as an assistant account manager, you will progress to an account manager role.
Once you become an account manager, you will have full autonomy over your role, developing your client relationships and planning your time to be the most efficient and effective for the job. You will manage a wide and varied portfolio of clients and have expertise in the product you are selling.
Client portfolios will become your sole responsibility and you will be expected to communicate with a multitude of teams across the company to resolve, sell or support your customers. You will be creating reports on customer growth, satisfaction and feeding back client opinions to respective teams.
With a great amount of experience and good leadership skills, you could become an executive account manager. You will oversee the entire portfolio of a company's clients, delegating account managers and supervising client relationships, making sure they are being maintained to a high standard.
You will be expected to have full and in-depth knowledge of the products you are selling to the customer as well as detailed competitor knowledge to help provide competitive strategies to secure new contracts.
An executive account manager will be responsible for planning, organising and directing operations related to account management within their company as well as leading team members within the accounts department.
Account manager salaries
- Your starting salary as an assistant account manager is between £25,000 and £28,000 per year.
- In a senior account manager job, your salary is between £42.500 to £53,000 per year.
Qualifications and training
Your entry into an account manager role requires you to have the relevant education and skills to succeed. Here’s what you need to start your career:
A degree in business, sales or another relevant field is helpful, but not essential. A degree gives you the relevant knowledge that you need for entry-level positions on this career path.
Most companies prefer candidates with some experience in sales or marketing roles. Customer service or B2C marketing experience is also a helpful advantage in standing out to an entry-level employer. Some degree programmes include time in industry which means working for a company requiring account management duties for some time, typically during your second year of study.
You can get work experience from internships and time spent shadowing an Account Manager. If you’re looking for work experience, consider an account manager internship.
You can complete an apprenticeship in account management to begin your career. Apprenticeships can either be within a company or a combination of company work and undergraduate education. Some companies pay for your degree education and pay you a wage for the work you do for them during the degree and offer you a job once the apprenticeship finishes.
If you’re interested in apprenticeships, try searching here for current account management apprenticeship opportunities in England.
Professional qualifications can help you progress as an account manager. You don’t usually need any professional qualifications before you get to an entry-level position. Professional qualifications are for demonstrating your skills to move up the account manager career path.
Account manager skills
Being a varied job, account managers need many skills to work successfully. Here are hard and soft skills that you need to succeed as an account manager:
- CRM experience. Communication is the foundation of this role and customer relationship management software will be key for keeping track of your portfolio and their individual demands.
- Communication. As the main contact between the customer and company, you must excel at communication. Whether it be over the phone, via email or in person, communication is a key skill you will need.
- Quick learner. You will need to develop in-depth company and product knowledge so you are able to successfully advise new and existing customers.
- Time management. All enquiries or communication are time-sensitive in order to maintain a happy relationship between yourself and your client portfolio. You will need to delegate your time in order to manage a wide portfolio of clients to a high standard.
- Leadership. You must be adept at directing customers and managing employees at all levels throughout the business.
Pros and cons of being an account manager
- Account managers are found in a variety of sectors
- Every day is new and every client requires different skills
- You can organise your own schedule
- You have the opportunity to develop essential transferable skills
- You’ll be able to undertake a diverse range of tasks
- Watching relationships you’ve built flourish over time
- The role can be stressful if a client is unhappy or a product is underperforming
- You take full responsibility with your customer for any ups and downs of the business
- Potential to work late nights or weekend hours
Account manager work-life balance
The work-life balance of an account manager is rated well due to the customisable nature of the role. You will be working between project teams and clients, coordinating your time to where you are needed. Although this may involve some late nights and weekend hours, it allows you to organise a schedule that best suits you.
Depending on the flexibility of your company, this means you may be able to work from home or on the road to suit your client projects. Standard hours may vary from company to company and you may be expected to work alongside certain time zones if your clients are worldwide.
Account manager employers
Many firms are looking to hire ambitious graduates in Account Management. Here are some of the top companies you may want to consider: