What Is an Account Manager?

An account manager is an entry- to mid-level employee who is responsible for the day-to-day management of a particular customer's account within a business.

Key Takeaways

  • An account manager is the business representative with whom a client has the most one-on-one interaction within a company.
  • Companies use account managers to ensure that customers feel that their needs are being met.
  • Often, this employee will have some type of financial or business background and typically would also have some kind of related college degree.

Understanding What an Account Manager Does

An account manager is generally the business representative with whom the client has the most one-on-one interaction. This staff member oversees the daily, routine tasks involved with addressing the customer’s needs and concerns and maintaining their account activities.

It is common for an account manager to serve a variety of different roles. They often need to adjust their focus depending on the client’s particular situation, and how satisfied that client is with their current account status. The account manager would frequently serve as a combination of a salesperson, customer service representative, technical specialist, and financial advisor.

The account manager is a point of contact and provides customer support, upselling, technical assistance, and general relationship management. An account manager may be in charge of a number of smaller accounts or may instead focus on a few larger accounts.

Examples of Account Manager Roles

Companies use account managers to ensure that customers feel that their needs are being met. It is generally less expensive to keep existing clients than to seek new clients to replace those that have defected as a result of inadequate customer service. In other words, focusing on retention can offer a significant return on investment for financial firms, and most businesses in general. Once a company has invested the money and resources involved in initially acquiring a customer or client, it is to that company’s great advantage to do everything in its power to ensure that client remains satisfied so they do not decide to take their business elsewhere.

Account managers work closely with the sales team to ensure that it is clear what products or services the client has purchased and that those products and services fit the client's needs. Depending on the specific type of account and the nature of the client’s needs and concerns, the account manager may also serve as a liaison or go-between with other teams or staff members who may have some relation to or impact on the client’s account.

The specific duties, qualifications, and salary level of a particular account manager can vary widely, depending on the type of business and the clientele served by that firm. Often, this employee will have some type of financial or business background and typically would also have some kind of related college degree. Those with advanced or specialized qualifications would likely be able to command a higher salary.

According to Indeed.com, the salary range for account managers in the U.S. is between $45,000 and $85,000 per year. Most U.S. account management jobs are located in New York followed by Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. The title "account manager" is sometimes designated for entry-level employees, although if the organization is large enough and employs enough account managers, they may have assistant and associate account managers reporting the lead account manager.

Promotion above the role of account manager is generally to Director of Accounts or Director of Account Management and to Vice President of Account Management. These roles coordinate the activities of the account managers and are part of the leadership team of a company.