Account managers oversee a team of account executives who work on the day to day running of the accounts, and frequently work on a portfolio of different accounts. Account managers are very common in the advertising and marketing sectors but they can work for any organisation that sells a product or service. This may be a large corporation, small business, advertising agency, financial services organisation, university or local authority.
Typically, an account manager will:
- Manage a portfolio of client accounts
- Build and maintain relationships with clients often through regular face to face contact and meetings
- Arrange meetings with clients and travel to them
- Act as the first point of contact for client questions and requests
- Talk to other departments in the organisation in order to facilitate client requests
- Identify new client relationships and make pitches to potential new clients
- Give presentations about their organisation’s products or services
- Manage a budget and achieve targets
- Manage a team of account executives and arrange training for them if necessary
- Generate accurate reports on the status of existing accounts and new business
- Ensure clients pay on time
Account managers need the confidence to interact with clients and make presentations. They should have no qualms about working under pressure. They must have excellent written and verbal communication skills and strong inter-personal skills, allied with the ability to negotiate and sell products. As with the account executives they manage, account managers need to be resilient because they will be held accountable if a client ceases to do business with their organisation, as some inevitably will. Account managers should be naturally well organised because they are likely to have to manage a portfolio of accounts, see that none are neglected, and work to deadlines. They need to be good with financial data as they will have to regularly report on the status of client accounts. People management skills are a necessity.
A first degree (or failing that an HND) preferably in advertising, marketing, communications, business management or psychology is a good grounding, though other subjects are usually acceptable. Career qualifications, for example the IPA Excellence Diploma or the Communication Advertising and Marketing Education Foundation (CAM) Diploma in Marketing Communications can be advantageous.
Experience of working in a customer-facing role, meeting deadlines and managing a budget will be helpful. Account managers are often recruited from the ranks of sales executives.
Account managers often earn commission as well on top of their basic salary.
9:00am-5.30pm. However, account managers are expected to put in longer hours during busy periods, travel to meet clients and attend periodic networking events in the evening.