Key Account Management Jobs: Ensure Your Company's Success

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Account management jobs are responsible for managing customer relationships for a given company – the key accounts, which produce the most profit. These are potentially profitable accounts or ones with high strategic importance. Since they are so important, developing good customer relations and retaining these customers is vital to the success of the company. Read on to find out more about key account management jobs.

Key account management jobs require these abilities, as well as analysis of accounts, which are the key at a given time. People in these jobs are also required to determine the needs of these key customers and implement procedures ensuring high quality customer services at all times.

The key account manager is responsible not only for managing the firm's relationships with important clients, but also for fostering the relationships. They must coordinate with professionals from different sectors of the firm, and in many cases, different parts of the country or world. This means individual responsibilities of people in key account management jobs cannot be specified, and will tend to vary significantly from firm to firm.

In many cases, the position of key account manager is generally new, something the firm has not codified. However, even in firms where these positions have been around for a long time, flexibility is important, as experimentation and changes are common. That is because client needs and responses required from the firm also continue to change.

There are two basic types of key account management jobs. Key account managers who primarily act as a representative of the firm to the client are considered to be facing outward, while managers acting as the client's advocate or representative to the firm are considered to be facing inward. Both are important roles, and must be played, but different firms have different requirements. Which role a company favors can make a significant difference in the requirements for their key account manager.

Key account management jobs can have many titles. One common one is relationship officer, but there are others as well. No matter what the position is called, the focus is the same. The key account manager should focus on strengthening the relationship with important clients and making sure that the client's needs are being met.

It is important for people in key account management jobs to remember that the burden of building the relationship does not belong to them. They exist to make sure that the relationship is maintained and improved, but are not required to build it from a scratch. Usually, a key account manager will be working with a team of others in all levels of the organization to serve a client. This requires flexibility and communication abilities, and may require familiarity with many different aspects of the operation, since team members may be from varied disciplines and backgrounds.

Managerial skills are vital for people in key account management positions. Their teams are rarely defined - the account manager is often dedicated to serving his or her key accounts exclusively, but team members usually have many other responsibilities. Which means each team member will be putting a certain amount of time into work for an important account. The account manager must keep this in mind, and provide motivation for the team.

While key account managers tend to have high responsibility, they often do not have the full authority that goes with it. It means, people assigned to work on a key account will still report to their local administrators rather than to the account manager. This requires unusual management skills on the part of people in key account management jobs. They must be able to provide motivation without direct control of the people working under them.

To be effective, a key account manager must be able to help his or her team members find meaning and challenge in working on important accounts. They should be able to communicate the significance of the account to the firm, and provide motivation to perform high quality work and build relationships with the client. They should also work to provide opportunities for their team members to advance in their careers by working on the account, such as participating in high visibility activities. The ability to be understanding and communicate well are important, and a good relationship with team members is required, since assistance may be needed from them on short notice.

Becoming a key account manager requires significant related experience - usually six to ten years. A 4-year degree in an appropriate subject is needed, and a master's degree is preferred by many companies. Significant management experience and marketing knowledge are also required. In companies with many locations around the world, knowledge of more than one language may also be required. People interested in key account management jobs must be result-focused and self-motivated, but able to work in a very collaborative, team-based environment. They must be comfortable with establishing long distance working relationships, and possess the ability to multi-task while paying attention to details. Flexibility and enthusiasm are also important.

Work hours for key account management jobs are usually forty-hour work per week, but additional work may be required. Travel to meet the needs of important clients is also a frequent part of these jobs. These positions can be highly stressful, and require the ability to think well under pressure. The average yearly salary of a key account manager is around $62,000, with compensation varying by location, responsibilities, and firm.
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