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Account management is a common role within both the sales and advertising industries. While the day-to-day expectations may vary by vertical, the basic role expectations remain the same.
An account manager is a professional who manages the strategy and business relationship of their customers. After an account has been "won" by the company or agency in question, the account manager takes on the responsibility of helping the client reach their goals and works to ensure a continued, positive, and profitable relationship.
Account managers are responsible for understanding their client's long- and short-term needs, and leverage their company's internal resources (strategy, customer service, creative, etc.) to help meet those goals. They serve as the client's main point of contact, and will often provide recommendations or "upsells" to enhance their customer's success.
In order to succeed in this role, the right candidate will have excellent communication skills, solid negotiation skills, and a diplomatic nature; all of which are critical when dealing with client business. Beyond that, a deep understanding of your company's offerings and an ear on the pulse of industry trends will help to position you as an expert in the field, and provide your clients with top-notch, proactive service.
Those interested in taking on more of a leadership role may advance to an Account Director position, where you'll take on more responsibility managing internal teams and providing deeper "big-picture" direction. Directors also take on a bigger role working with upper management, and beyond that, there may be C-Level advancement opportunities.
Education requirements for becoming an account manager vary by industry, though most roles will require a Bachelor's degree. For example, an account manager in the financial space may have an accounting background, while an advertising account manager may have majored in marketing.
The median salary for an account manager is around $51K per year, though that salary can fluctuate based on location, company, and existing skill sets.
As you gain experience as an account manager, salaries can increase by as much as $35K or more.