Account Management Jobs: What to Expect

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While a job as an account manager might not sound as exciting as being a firefighter, police officer, or veterinarian, it is typically quite lucrative and highly competitive nonetheless. Most people don’t dream about securing an account management position as children, but as they learn more about business and industry, as well as about their own unique abilities, many people do realize that being an account manager is an excellent career choice. Read on to find out more about account management jobs.

If you're interested in entering the account management field, below is some information that could help you decide if a job as an account manager could also be perfect for you.

What Is an Account Manager?

One challenge of working in account management is that most people won't recognize what you do from your job title. Most will either make a vague comment about how that line of work ''must be very interesting,'' or they will completely misunderstand what it is that you do. Some people even confuse account managers with accountants or have the impression that an account manger works at a bank.

In fact, an account manager is actually a sort of go-between. In this position, you are the all-important bridge between a company's clients and its creative team. That means you'll be spending a lot of time playing both sides of the proverbial fence. It also means that you are a critical component to the success of every business relationship that you manage. As a result, you'll have plenty of responsibilities that will keep the job from ever getting dull.

Account Manager Responsibilities

All companies are a bit different, so your responsibilities may not conform precisely to the ones outlined below. However, this should give you a general idea of what types of hats you'd be asked to wear when accepting an account management position.

For one, you would be handling much of the business development for the company. Because you would be a direct contact for clients, your relationships with those clients would be a deciding factor in whether they remain clients or not. You may also be charged with searching for new customers, including qualifying them to make sure that they would be a good fit for the company. You may also have to make presentations, do follow-ups, and handle other parts of the sales process in order to secure relationships with new customers.

While your business development responsibilities are extremely important, you must also be part of the project management process. That means you will need to decide what should be done, who will be on the teams that will get it done, and how what needs to be done will be paid for. To do this effectively, you will need to meet with clients, determine their specific needs, and determine a plan for how your company may be able to help them. Then you must meet with your company's creative team to find out whether or not the plan is feasible, as well to hash out any details about deadlines and budgets which need to be passed onto the given client.

As the project progresses, you'll also continue to be the main link between the given client and the creative team. That means that if the project is behind schedule, you'll have to pass on the bad news to the client. And if there has been a change in project specifications from the client, you'll need to pass on that unpleasant fact to your creative team. Obviously, as an account manager, you will often find yourself in the worst position between the two groups. Once the project is successfully completed, however, you will also be able to celebrate with both of them.

Where to Find Account Manager Jobs

Account managers are most often found in fields that unite business and creativity. For example, an account manager position is probably found in most advertising and public relations firms. They also tend to work with sales and marketing departments as well.

Usually account managers are also found in business-to-business fields. That means you'll be working closely with members of another company — in most cases, to complete a project. As a result, you will be expected to present yourself at all times as a professional.

Requirements for Account Management Jobs

Again, there is no way to provide a specific list of requirements that would fit every account manager position available. However, the requirements below should offer some general guidance as to how best to prepare for this type of career.

A college degree is usually a must for account managers, and one of the best majors for this field is business administration because it will provide you with a background in management that will be highly useful in this area. You should also consider either an emphasis or a minor in marketing or advertising. Because these are the areas in which you are most likely to work, having a solid understanding of them will be advantageous to your career.

If you know that you are most interested in advertising or public relations, then you may want to choose majors that would be directly related to those fields. For example, you could get a degree in advertising, public relations, journalism, or communications.

Account managers also need a wide range of other skills, so courses that will improve your written and verbal communication skills can be crucial to your long-term success in account management.

Besides having a good education and a degree from an accredited college, you may also want to have a few other useful skills. Knowing how to use a computer, for example, is obviously not going to be optional. You'll also need to be very good with word-processing programs and database software, preferably the same ones used the most frequently in your desired industry.

Strong leadership, listening, and creative skills are also important given the role an account manager plays in the process of completing any project for the company and the client.

Setting Your Expectations

While having an account management position can earn you a comfortable salary — between $70,000 and $100,000 annually, on average — you will also need to be prepared to make sacrifices for the job. Be ready to travel a great deal for meetings with clients, presentations, and even workshops. You should also be well-equipped for dealing with stress and pressure from all sides.
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