What is an account manager?

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An account manager is a person employed by a company who oversees a client’s portfolio. Their primary functions are fostering the relationship between the client and the service provider company; identifying the client’s needs and assisting the client to achieve its short-term and long-term goals. They are the liaison between the company and the client.

Account managers are proficient in client-focused solutions, project management, communication, persuasion, interpersonal skills and they have exceptional emotional intelligence. They take the pressure off clients and structure their needs. They ensure that the company delivers solutions for the client’s problems.

The job of an account manager is not for everyone. It requires patience, resilience, accuracy, meticulous attention to detail, organisational skills and timeous reporting habits. This leads many people to believe that account managers are born rather than made. Here are a few key traits account managers have;

Traits of an Accounts Manager

They know what they’re doing

It is a well-known fact that account managers must be knowledgeable. They must understand the client’s goals, they must know the client’s industry like it is their own (including its strengths and weaknesses) and must be able to identify competitors from a mile away.

They focus on relationships

They care about gaining the trust of their clients and they put their clients’ needs first. They push that bit extra to show clients they are there to service them and they care about their business goals.

They are transparent

An account manager is transparent about their employers’ policies and pricing. They nurture relationships to such an extent that clients stick around even if competitors offer more cost-effective solutions. Note that they do not deceive clients but rather establish a mutually beneficial relationship.

They have excellent communication skills

Most professions will claim that its practitioners must have ‘exceptional communication skills’. For an account manager, however, this trait is in fact a necessity. They must be confident public speakers, excellent explainers and effective persuaders. They must be able to articulate strengths and weaknesses about a clients’ product or services without coming across too strong.

They must be relentless about results

A good account manager will have data at hand, on demand. to show a client’s results. They will be able to explain a client’s sales report effectively and they will advise clients on how to strategise in order to achieve company goals. They will plough their way through hurdles to assist a client to achieve those goals.

An account manager forms a vital part of a company’s sales team. For such a team to be effective, it needs a sales manager who is able to lead the team to greatness.

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