(uh-kount man-ij-muhnt) (n.)
The practice of starting and maintaining relationships with sales clients. Sales account managers work in this specialty, and their responsibilities depend on their employers. Account managers in large companies can be in charge of sales teams seeking new business. Such management includes assigning territories to specific salespeople, following up on leads, evaluating the team's performance and becoming familiar with the product-and-service requirements of new clients. Keeping a sales team motivated requires strong leadership skills, and a good account manager must be visibly enthusiastic about a company's new initiatives and products.
Account managers for smaller companies and clients maintain relationships with a wide range of clients, keeping them informed about new products and services while also making sure that ongoing orders are fulfilled efficiently. Personal relationships are crucial to this work, as they help ensure that clients aren't tempted to switch to a competitor's products. Some companies have single clients large enough to merit their own account managers or even several managers that deal with different aspects of one client's business. In such cases, account managers may need a great deal of specialized technical knowledge about the processes and materials that drive a partner company's operations.
Account managers also maintain relationships with a company's existing clients. This involves staying in frequent contact with buyers to remain aware of their changing needs. They also promote and demonstrate new products and services as they become available.
Most companies require an account manager to have at least a bachelor's degree in relevant fields such as business, marketing, communications or advertising. However, candidates with commensurate experience in sales can also be considered for this management role. Commissions are usually a large proportion of an account manager's income, so compensation may partly depend on the manager's talent.