What is Account Management?

28 Jun 2018

Account Management is managing the relationship that your company has with your customer. Unlike acquisition sales or new business sales, Account Managers usually look after existing customers to develop a long-term relationship with their contacts.

There are a number of key skills that are often expected of an Account Manager:

  • Managing relationships between vendor and customer
  • Coordinating resources and contacts within a vendor for deliver outcomes for customers
  • Understand a customer’s business thoroughly to uncover their challenges and objectives
  • Build Account Plans for customers to plan sales resources and activity
  • Drive ongoing new sales within a customer account and expand the share of wallet
  • Align vendor products and services with customer needs

Why do we need Account Managers?

As organisations get bigger, Account Managers have to manage the contacts within their own sales organisations, and also at a customer.

Imagine working with a large company where you have teams of buyers. It makes sense to have an Account Manager look after the entire account, spending time getting to know the different stakeholders and understanding how the business operates.

Additionally, as it costs a lot less to keep a customer rather than acquire a new one, it makes sense for vendor organisations to invest in Account Management teams to ensure customers continue buying their product, renew their contracts and expand the share of wallet within the account (i.e. increase the customer spend overall).

Here are a few typical activities that an Account Manager might do on a daily basis:

  • Keep in touch with different contacts across the client
  • Review where there are gaps in relationships at the client – and endeavour to develop relationships with new contacts at the client
  • Create account plans showing how they will achieve their sales targets and quota within each client
  • Research and understand their client’s business, their challenges, objectives and current initiatives
  • Manage the vendor’s resources and ensure that the wider Account Team at the vendor are engaging with the client
  • Create and execute on the strategic direction set by the vendor for a particular client
  • Deal with customer service requests and support tickets

 

Who would suit an Account Manager role?

Account Managers tend to work on established accounts rather than acquisition or new accounts. Because of this, there is less focus on cold calling and dealing with cold leads as there is often an existing relationship established with the customer.

Here are a few attributes that make a good Account Manager:

  • Able to manage a team of people
  • Organised and diligent
  • Happy working with lots of different contacts on a daily basis
  • Comfortable with multi-tasking and working on lots of different types of projects depending on the customer’s initiatives and needs
  • Happier working with established clients instead of winning new business in new customer accounts
  • Great communication skills
  • Enthusiasm for providing good customer service to clients

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