A Day in the Life of an Account Manager - SmartKarrot Blog

A Day in the Life of an Account Manager

Find out what it takes to be an Account Manager and also take a glance at their roles and responsibilities in day-to-day life.

A Day in the Life of an Account Manager
A Day in the Life of an Account Manager

If you have been reading our blogs regularly, then you know that we write extensively on Customer Success. And the most widely known role in customer success is the customer success manager (CSM). But this blog is specifically about an account manager (AM). CSM and AM are related in the sense AMs can be said as a traditional form of a CSM.

In any organization, AMs are specifically responsible for the management of sales and relationships with customers. They are the interface between a company and the customer. Most of the time they also represent the voice of the customer in an organization. AMs are solely responsible for keeping the customers satisfied so that they continue doing business with the company.

Usually, an AM would manage a group of customer accounts. Very rarely they manage a single account and this is applicable only for an enterprise customer. After all, they have to justify their cost to the company. Hence, the account(s) they handle must bring more monetary value to the company than it is invested in themselves.

The AM oversees and understands the customer’s needs and makes sure that the company delivers solutions towards the same. Oftentimes, they also collaborate with other departments like sales and marketing to prepare sales pitch, design client communication materials, and other similar tasks.

Role of an Account Manager 

The role of an Account Manager is crucial for building and maintaining strong relationships with clients or customers. Account Managers are responsible for managing the needs and expectations of clients to ensure customer satisfaction and long-term business success. Their primary focus is on the following key aspects: 

  1. Client Relationship Management: Account Managers act as the main point of contact between the company and its clients. They build and maintain strong relationships by understanding the client’s needs, addressing their concerns, and providing exceptional customer service. 
  1. Client Communication: Effective communication is essential in this role. Account Managers must be able to clearly convey information about products, services, and company updates to clients. They also need to actively listen to clients’ feedback and relay this information to the relevant teams within the company. 
  1. Account Growth: Account Managers work towards increasing the revenue generated from existing clients by upselling or cross-selling additional products or services that meet the client’s needs. They identify opportunities for account growth and collaborate with sales and marketing teams to maximize revenue potential. 
  1. Problem Resolution: When issues or challenges arise, Account Managers are responsible for promptly addressing them. They work with internal teams to find solutions and ensure that the client’s concerns are resolved to maintain a positive relationship. 
  1. Customer Needs Assessment: Account Managers assess the unique needs and requirements of each client. This involves understanding the client’s business goals, challenges, and pain points to tailor products or services that align with their needs. 
  1. Account Planning: They create account plans and strategies to outline the steps and objectives for maintaining and expanding client relationships. Account Managers need to be proactive in anticipating clients’ future needs and aligning the company’s offerings accordingly. 
  1. Data Analysis: Monitoring and analyzing client data, including sales metrics, usage patterns, and customer behavior, is essential for an Account Manager. This data helps them identify trends, spot opportunities, and make data-driven decisions to enhance client satisfaction. 
  1. Contract and Agreement Management: Account Managers are responsible for managing contracts and service agreements with clients. They ensure that both parties adhere to the terms of the contract and address any contractual issues that may arise. 
  1. Collaboration with Internal Teams: Account Managers collaborate with various internal departments, such as sales, marketing, product development, and customer support, to ensure the client’s needs are met effectively. 
  1. Customer Retention: Retaining existing clients is as important as acquiring new ones. Account Managers focus on customer retention strategies to keep clients loyal and satisfied, reducing the risk of losing business to competitors. 

Top Reasons to Become an Account Manager in 2022

You might be pondering “what does an account manager actually do? And I have it in me to become an account manager?” The first thing you need to become an account manager is a passion for numbers and people. You will also have to spend quality time understanding the needs of the people daily. The perks of this designation are you will have a good compensation pay scale and a sense of job security.

Here is a look at some of the top reasons for you to become an account manager in 2022:

Build professional connections  

As an account manager, you will have ample opportunities to connect with various people and build great connections. This designation will give you a chance to shine as a professional and take the customer experience to the next level of success. If you have the competitive edge to succeed, this position is perfect.

The ever-expanding field  

As time has gone by, the designation of account manager has received lots of positive reactions from professional gurus. If you become a master of this field, it can help your progress grow manifold in tech, finance, or any other industry.

An opportunity to earn bonuses 

Certain companies do not have a fixed proportion of salary for account managers. They allow you to earn bonuses for acquiring and maintaining top clientele. Do you need any further reason not to go for this powerful designation?

Develop versatile career 

As an account manager, you will have to don several hats. Sometimes you will have to play the role of a salesperson or a financial advisor. Exciting, isn’t it?

These are some of the exciting account manager perks that encourage you to become an account manager in 2022.

Responsibilities of an Account Manager

In all the tasks an AM does, they need to ensure that the company’s customers are finally happy. They have to nurture the relationship with the customers that in turn brings more value to the firm. Few of the tasks they take up towards this end are:

Customer acquisition

Since AM is the most qualified employee to understand the customers, they also help the sales and marketing team to acquire new customers. It is essential in any SaaS-based organization to not just find any customer but a right-fit customer who would stay in business for the long term. Hence, AMs help understands the marketing team what essentially is a right-fit customer and how to acquire one.

Supporting existing customers

They help existing customers in their day-to-day operations. It is a part of the Account manager job description to ensure that the customer is finding continuous value in the company’s product. It is also necessary to keep track of the customer experience and help them if they get stuck somewhere. If the customer has raised any support ticket which is taking a long time to get resolved then the AM pitches in and helps it get resolved immediately. They know who to contact for getting the issues resolved.

Building champions

Account Managers work on the “land and expand” strategy wherein they start small with customers and eventually expand the customer account to fetch more business. They are responsible for turning an ordinary customer into the champions who would generate more revenue, be loyal, and become a brand advocate. This way those customers would not only add to more revenues but also help bring new customers to the business.

Negotiations with customers

Whenever there are two parties involved in a transaction, negotiations are bound to happen. Account Managers are skillful negotiators wherein they manage a fine balance between the client’s expectations and what a company can deliver. They help customers understand the cost behind the solutions they are getting and justify the quotations they offer to them. Hence, building budgets and quotations is also an integral part of AM’s daily activity.

Managing ongoing projects

All the projects that are due for delivery, AMs oversee them and make sure they are delivered before the deadline. They take a proactive measure to ensure clients are always informed of the status of the project. They also make sure that the internal team is working seamlessly on the projects which are due for delivery. If there is any delay, an AM knows the right action to mitigate the risk of setbacks that a customer might face. They would also know how to resolve the issues through the right resources which the development team is facing in a project.

Maintaining sales quota

One of the prima facia account manager responsibilities is to ensure that the amount of sales made by them reaches or exceeds the target set by the company. This number has typically termed a quota communicated to the accounts manager by the sales manager. This magical number is extremely vital for the accounts managers to reach. As their entire performance is evaluated based on the quota.

The good news is that there is a healthy bonus associated with those who can surpass the quota. On top of the already mentioned commission, the accounts manager earns bonuses or merchandise on exceeding the quota.

Any accounts manager who fails to reach the quota is sent to the drawing board and on probation. If the accounts manager fails to reach the quota on several occasions, they are terminated. Hence, the accounts manager needs to maintain the sales quota and exceed it to get bonuses and attractive incentives.

Primary face for client communication

The accounts manager is the one who faces the client; hence, they are often said to be the face of the company. Since they are the primary company representative to communicate with the client, it becomes important for them to provide an excellent customer experience. This can be done easily by listening to the clients’ needs and understanding their individual needs. This is where your experience as an accounts manager comes in handy.

The customers’ individual needs can make you understand whether they would be interested in your product or service. The other part of the accounts manager’s responsibility is to match the customer’s expectations as per their requirement. In case they have any problem, it needs to be resolved as soon as possible by the accounts manager. If they can make the customers happy, the accounts manager will have repeated customers regularly. This is the key to maintaining the quota in the first place.

Periodic preparation of sales report

Since the accounts manager is a vital part of the organization, they must prepare periodic reports of various orders. This includes the quarterly sales results, annual forecasts, and account status reports, to name a few. The accounts manager may take help from an administrative officer to get it prepared like a sales coordinator. Once the report is prepared, it needs to be presented to the senior management.

There are times when the accounts manager needs to prepare these periodic reports themselves. This is especially the case in smaller organizations with limited staff. Hence, it is equally important for an accounts manager to have the working knowledge of Microsoft Excel to carry out periodic reporting tasks with minimal fuss.

Requirements for the Account Manager Role

Requirements for the Account Manager role

Personality and sales aptitude are key to anyone aspiring for this role. A degree in business management or marketing is also required. Although it is a client-facing role, companies have different requirements based on the nature of their offerings. Yet, few common skills to look for in an AM are:

  1. Excellent communication skills: because you need to clearly understand the client’s challenges, needs, and expectations. The whole organization is dependent on your ability to articulate the client’s voice.
  2. Time management: Since you need to juggle between multiple accounts, time management skills are absolutely important to ensure you don’t miss serving any account.
  3. Understanding of the domain: Although it is not possible to understand every client’s domain or niche, it is desirable if you possess an abstract knowledge of it.
  4. Empathy: This is especially helpful in a time of crisis. When your client is upset about your service, then you should know how to pacify them and resolve the issue immediately. AM with good listening skills always performs better in this role.
  5. Leadership: There are many times when the AM has to coordinate with the technical staff or project managers to get things delivered. Strong leadership skills ensure that people respect your decisions and cooperate with you in the time of need.

Time Management and Prioritization in the Account Manager Role 

Time management and prioritization are crucial skills for success in the Account Manager role, as it involves juggling multiple tasks, clients, and responsibilities. Effectively managing your time and prioritizing tasks will not only help you meet your clients’ needs but also ensure that you achieve your goals and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Here are some tips to improve time management and prioritization in the Account Manager role: 

  1. Understand Your Goals and Objectives: Start by clarifying your overall goals and the objectives you need to achieve. This will help you focus on tasks that align with your key responsibilities and contribute to the success of your accounts. 
  1. Organize Your Workload: Create a system to organize your tasks and responsibilities. This could be a to-do list, a task management tool, or a project management software. Break down larger projects into smaller, manageable tasks to avoid feeling overwhelmed. 
  1. Set Priorities: Not all tasks have equal importance. Identify the most critical tasks that need your immediate attention. You can use techniques like the Eisenhower Matrix, which categorizes tasks based on urgency and importance, to help you prioritize effectively. 
  1. Communicate with Clients: Regular communication with your clients is essential for understanding their needs and managing their expectations. Schedule regular check-ins and status updates to ensure you’re on the same page and can address any concerns proactively. 
  1. Avoid Multitasking: While multitasking may seem like an efficient way to get more done, it often leads to decreased productivity and lower-quality work. Focus on one task at a time to ensure better concentration and results. 
  1. Allocate Time for Specific Tasks: Dedicate specific blocks of time for certain tasks, such as responding to emails, making phone calls, or preparing reports. This helps you avoid constant interruptions and better manage your time. 
  1. Delegate When Possible: If you have a team or colleagues who can assist with certain tasks, delegate responsibilities accordingly. Delegation allows you to focus on more strategic account management tasks while ensuring that other essential tasks are still being taken care of. 
  1. Learn to Say No: As an Account Manager, you might encounter requests that fall outside your primary responsibilities or current workload. Learn to politely decline tasks that don’t align with your priorities or that you realistically cannot take on at the moment. 
  1. Time Blocking: Implement time blocking techniques where you allocate specific time blocks for certain types of activities. For instance, you might dedicate the morning to client meetings and the afternoon to focused work on deliverables. 
  1. Evaluate and Adjust: Regularly assess your time management strategies and their effectiveness. If certain techniques are not working well, be open to adjusting your approach to find what works best for you. 
  1. Take Breaks and Prioritize Self-Care: Account management can be demanding, so remember to take breaks and prioritize self-care. A well-rested and healthy mind is more productive and better equipped to handle challenges. 

Collaborating with Cross-Functional Teams for Success 

Collaborating with cross-functional teams is essential for success as an account manager. As an account manager, your role is not just limited to managing the relationship with the client but also involves working closely with various departments within your organization to ensure the client’s needs are met efficiently and effectively. Here are some tips for successful collaboration with cross-functional teams: 

  1. Establish Clear Communication Channels: Open and clear communication is the backbone of successful collaboration. Ensure that all team members have access to appropriate communication channels, whether it’s email, messaging platforms, or project management tools
  1. Understand Each Team’s Role and Expertise: Take the time to understand the roles and expertise of each team you’ll be collaborating with. Knowing what each team brings to the table will help you leverage their skills appropriately. 
  1. Set Common Goals: Work together with the cross-functional teams to set common goals for the project or account you are managing. When everyone is aligned towards the same objectives, it becomes easier to coordinate efforts and achieve success. 
  1. Foster a Team-Oriented Culture: Encourage a collaborative and team-oriented culture within your organization. Highlight the importance of working together and recognizing the value that each team member brings to the table. 
  1. Regular Team Meetings: Organize regular meetings with cross-functional teams to discuss progress, challenges, and upcoming tasks. These meetings provide an opportunity to address any issues, share updates, and brainstorm solutions collectively. 
  1. Be Adaptable: Different teams might have different work styles and processes. Be adaptable and willing to adjust your approach to accommodate the needs and preferences of other teams. 
  1. Share Information and Insights: Keep all relevant teams informed about important updates, feedback from clients, or changes in account strategy. Sharing information ensures that everyone is on the same page. 
  1. Resolve Conflicts Professionally: In collaborative environments, conflicts may arise. When they do, address them professionally and try to find solutions that benefit everyone involved. 
  1. Celebrate Success Together: When you achieve milestones or successfully complete projects, celebrate the success with the cross-functional teams. Recognize their efforts and give credit where it’s due. 
  1. Learn and Improve: After each project or collaboration, take the time to evaluate the process and identify areas for improvement. Continuous learning and refinement of collaboration strategies are essential for long-term success. 

Salary for Account Manager

Based on a survey on more than 25k AMs, the average salary of an AM in the United States comes close to $90k/year. This includes their average commissions and bonus. In most of the companies, their remuneration also depends on the percentage of revenue they are able to generate through their customer accounts.

Wrapping up

An account manager is lucrative and one of the most sought-after jobs in the SaaS industry. With customers having so many options to choose from, they go with the ones who offer a great customer experience. Hence, AMs should demonstrate their ability to fetch greater customer satisfaction that is the key to the growth of any SaaS business.

Most AMs see their jobs as maintaining a long-term relationship with the customers. This has many advantages to it. Customer lifetime value rises with it and that attracts more investors to your business. Hence, a key AM plays a crucial role in deciding the fate of any organization.

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