In every company, account management is an important part of the sales process. The account manager has the crucial task of maintaining the relationship with customers, ensuring their loyalty to the company. Additionally, an account manager strives to discover and seize new opportunities. It's a versatile role that requires effective collaboration with other departments. What the account manager promises must be delivered by other departments. Are you an account manager looking for some tips? Or do you aspire to become one? In this article, we'll tell you everything you need to know about account management.
Before we tell you how to become an account manager, it's essential to first understand the definition of account management. Only when you know the meaning can you grasp all that is involved in account management. Therefore, we'll first provide you with an explanation and examples of account management.
Account management involves utilizing available resources to maintain and continuously improve the relationship with existing customers. The account manager strategically uses resources to keep customer satisfaction and loyalty at a high level, fostering a long-term relationship with the company.
However, customer relationship management is not the sole responsibility of an account manager. Since it's always possible to lose a customer at some point, or if the company simply wants to grow, an account manager also focuses on finding new opportunities and customers. This includes additional sales to existing customers, such as cross-selling or upselling. Additionally, an account manager must maintain good communication with other employees within the company. Therefore, an account manager plays a crucial role in the organization and closely collaborates with sales managers, sales representatives, and the marketing department.
The tasks of an account manager range from conducting analyses to maintaining contacts. This includes forming an account team, creating an account plan, and handling negotiations.
An account manager usually isn't responsible for just one client or account but must divide their time among multiple clients. This is why creating an account plan is an essential part of their tasks. In this plan, you document who the client is, what the opportunities are, and what the goals for this account are. You can also include a time objective in the account plan and distribute tasks among specific employees. This way, everything that needs to be done and by whom is clearly defined, making it easier to achieve the goals.
An account manager has the critical task of constantly evaluating whether a relationship with a client is still meaningful. If retaining a client or acquiring a new one requires so much time, money, and effort that it's almost impossible to recover the investment, it's not worth it. Therefore, an account manager should not just aim to acquire or retain as many new customers as possible but should primarily focus on finding and retaining valuable customers for your company. It's not always a perfect match.
The key account manager has an even more critical role than the 'regular' account manager, if possible. Key account management focuses on the most important existing and potential customers of the organization. These priority accounts are crucial for the company's revenue and require extra care and attention. While account management is always customized, it's even more critical in key account management. The key account manager must build a strong, stable relationship with the customer. Additionally, the key account manager must ensure that other employees in the organization also contribute to maintaining and expanding the relationship with the customer. The customers under the key account manager's responsibility are of significant strategic importance to the company and must be retained.
Do you want to become an account manager? There isn't just one specific course to follow. It's more about the knowledge and skills you gain through practical experience. There are certainly training programs that can help you in this journey. For instance, taking a sales account management training can be highly valuable. Sales Account Management Development focuses on a thoughtful account management methodology and teaches essential skills.
A good account manager can listen and analyze effectively. They communicate well and collaborate with both customers and colleagues. The account manager is reliable, open, honest, and exudes a healthy level of confidence. Moreover, an account manager takes initiative and is open to dialogue. Lastly, it's also crucial for the account manager to have sufficient product knowledge. Only then can they sell the product or service effectively and maintain customer relationships.
Learning on the job is often the fastest way. Many of the skills required for an account manager role are skills you may have already used in other positions. If you want to become an account manager, it's advisable to take a critical look at yourself. What competencies do you already possess, and where are your areas for improvement? Once you know this, you can attend specific training programs to help you become the best possible account manager.
If you've been an account manager for a while and want to become (even) better, or if you're just starting as an account manager, we've gathered some useful tips for effective account management. Make the most of them!
As an account manager, you have many responsibilities and tasks. To ensure that you execute them all effectively, it's wise to plan carefully. Part of this involves creating an account plan for each account. In this plan, clearly document who the customer is, what they do, what your company offers them, and the associated goals. You can also assign tasks and create a timeline. This relieves some of the pressure, as you can always refer back to the account plan.
Not only an account plan is handy for an account manager. Having your own schedule is also crucial. Analyze the various tasks that need to be completed in a week or month and schedule them for yourself. This way, you maintain an overview and avoid spending too much time on one customer, which could leave others dissatisfied.
As an account manager, you are the ultimate responsible party. Take this role seriously, even when facing challenges. If someone on your team makes a mistake that leaves the customer unsatisfied, take the blame. After all, you are the ultimate responsible party. This way, you also stand up for your team.
In the office, it's essential to take responsibility towards your colleagues as well. Be open to feedback and admit mistakes. This is beneficial for your interpersonal relationships and your learning process.
Handling many tasks is part of your role as an account manager. And, as you know, good preparation is half the battle. In this case, that's definitely true. You want to be prepared for everything so you can address any small challenges immediately. Being too well-prepared is not really a concern. Once again, creating a solid account plan serves as a helpful guide. Analyze your customer thoroughly and understand what's happening. This way, you won't be caught off guard. It's reassuring for yourself and your team, and it also enhances customer satisfaction. Your customers will know that you can always resolve any issue.
You need to continuously surprise both new and existing customers. That's why it's crucial for an account manager to be creative. Think outside the predefined boundaries and come up with striking solutions. Question things and consider whether certain aspects can be approached differently. Avoid falling into the same thinking patterns and instead, be curious and creative. This benefits both your company and your customer.
You're never too old to learn. Whether you've just started as an account manager or have been in this role for years, there are always things you can learn. Sometimes it's about improving skills, and other times, the market or the organization changes. As an account manager, never assume that you know everything, but remain open to change and the learning process. This way, you stay up-to-date and can perform your role to the best of your ability.
Do you feel it's time to take the next step as an account manager but are unsure where to start? Feel free to contact one of our sales experts without obligation. We're happy to assess the challenges within your organization and assist you and your colleagues in taking the next step. We offer various sales training and services that will not only help you as an account manager grow but will also benefit the entire team.