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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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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?
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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:
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.
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.34
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.
Rohan has over 11 years of experience in client services, marketing and hospitality field. Previously, he was head of digital marketing for a hi-tech mobile application. Rohan is driven by new challenges and the possibility of making an impact on individuals and businesses.
Published October 14, 2020, Updated July 27, 2023
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