Account managers act as the primary liaison between a business and its regular clients.
They are responsible for fostering and strengthening relationships with clients, as well as growing account revenue and generating new business opportunities.
They do this by ensuring the business they represent is consistently delivering agreed services to their clients, whilst identifying and developing further sales opportunities.
This in-depth guide includes a full account manager job description and everything else you need to know about account managers, including salaries, skills, qualifications, progression opportunities and more.
- Account manager job description
- How much account managers earn?
- What does an account manager do?
- Requirements, skills and qualifications
- Who employs account managers?
- Which junior jobs progress to account manager roles?
Account manager job description
Account manager – DL Car Rental
We strive to remain Europe’s leading car and van rental provider by offering the highest quality vehicles to our customers, market leading service and insurance provision at affordable prices.
We are looking for an account manager to manage a portfolio of existing UK corporate clients, foster strong relationships, manage service provision and maximise sales opportunities within all accounts.
- Initiate regular meetings with key account contacts to strengthen relationships and assess ongoing client needs
- Act as main point of contact for client queries and complaints, in order to resolve efficiently
- Map out quarterly plans for key accounts, identifying opportunities of poor performance and areas prime for growth – identify key client staff to contact and develop accounts
- Grow revenue streams within client accounts via cross-selling and up-selling on existing plans
- Stay up-to-date with all new products and services and update clients accordingly
- Generate sales forecasts and track progress throughout each quarter
- Develop win-win solutions for both company and client via effective contract negotiation
- Monitor client service provision to ensure customer satisfaction and efficiency
|Permanent role||35 hours per week||Overtime required as necessary|
|Full-time||Reading office||Occasional travel for client visits required|
|Monday to Friday||Reports to: UK sales manager|
Key skills and experience required
- Previous experience in a client facing sales role in a B2B environment
- Proven track record of building relationships and closing revenue-generating deals
- Ability to communicate with senior stakeholders at executive and C-level
- Strong abilities in negotiation, networking, persuasion, presentation and time management
- Experience managing service provision to B2B customers
- Previous experience in corporate care rental is preferred but not essential
How to apply
If you would like to apply for this role, please send your CV to our UK sales team leader Gary Ince – firstname.lastname@example.org explaining your suitability and availability.
How much do account managers earn?
Account management is generally a well-paid profession with excellent opportunities for progression, with an average UK salary of £32,500.
Account manager salaries in the UK
- Low: £25,000
- Average: £32,500
- High: £42,500
Account manager salaries will vary hugely depending on:
- The industry of the employer – From insurance and finance, to advertising and PR, the company sector can impact salary.
- Candidate experience – It’s possible to gain an entry-level account manager role as a graduate, but salaries will likely be much lower than the national average.
- Location – Roles in London and bigger cities often attract higher salaries.
Remember that these are average figures taken from job advert samples. Account manager roles normally include an attractive benefits package, including bonuses, commission and non-financial benefits such as healthcare.
What does an account manager do?
Looking beyond the job description in simpler terms, the day-to-day responsibilities of an account manager include:
- Relationship management – Liaising with client contacts regularly and ensuring a strong and personable relationship is maintained
- Client communications – Serving as the primary point of contact for all assigned client’s queries, questions and complaints
- Service management – Overseeing provision of client service/product delivery to ensure agreed service levels are being met
- Reporting – Preparing regular account status reports and detailing key account metrics for leadership
- Presenting – Preparing and pitching presentations to new and existing clients about products, services, projects and costs
- Increasing client account spend – Identifying client needs, upselling and cross selling services and negotiating time scales, deliverables and prices with clients
- Maintaining sales quotas – Maintaining or exceeding a minimum amount of sales targets set by leadership
What do account managers need?
Account managers need a range of skills, experience, knowledge and sometimes qualifications in order to carry out the job effectively.
Exact requirements will depend on the seniority of each job, as well as the specific sector of the employer, but generally speaking, here’s what’s needed:
Junior account manager jobs are often advertised as graduate or entry-level positions with no prior experience needed.
Intermediate to senior account manager roles normally require previous experience managing accounts successfully. Companies often prefer sector-specific experience, too — for example, if a PR firm was hiring a senior account manager, they would prefer an account manager with a PR or marketing background.
The following soft skills are vital for account managers and will put non-experienced candidates in good stead to land a job:
- Communication: Communicating confidently and coherently in person, over the phone and via email.
- Interpersonal skills: Confidently engaging with a range of clients and stakeholders — account managers, above all, should be a ‘people person’.
- Time management and organisation: Managing themselves and their diary efficiently, ensuring deadlines are met and projects are on track.
- Teamwork: Working collaboratively with both clients and cross-departmental colleagues.
- Negotiation: Negotiating terms, timelines, deliverables and costs so that both parties are happy.
- Resilience: Maintaining a positive approach during high-pressured periods and handling problems professionally when things go wrong.
- Results-oriented: Securing and maintaining profitable accounts, without being pushy.
- Subject knowledge: Thoroughly understanding the different products and services on offer and having the capability to explain to clients what is and what is not possible within their budget.
Account manager qualifications
Qualifications are not always essential for account management roles, but some companies will require staff to have them in order to understand the subject matter of the business better.
Sometimes, large employers will list a degree as an essential requirement for account management positions – especially when recruiting for juniors or graduate programmes.
However a degree is not always an essential requirement for account managers.
Employers may hire candidates with a degree in any field providing they demonstrate the necessary soft skills for the post. However, a relevant degree to the employer’s field can be highly advantageous and significantly boost a candidate’s chances of success.
For example, account managers in the marketing field often have a marketing, PR, media or design degree, while account managers in the financial field usually hold an accounting, finance or business degree.
ISM Sales Qualifications
The ISM is an OFQUAL recognised awarding organisation for qualifications in Sales and Sales Management. They provide a range of qualifications at different levels, designed to provide the required knowledge, skills and behaviours to be a competent sales professional.
While these qualifications aren’t an essential requirement for account manager roles, they’re a great option for aspiring account managers to pick up sought-after sales skills and boost their career and progression prospects.
Subject matter qualifications
While a degree alone is normally enough to enter the field, it can be beneficial for account managers to hold additional qualifications in the specific sector they’re working in. For example, a marketing account manager might choose to gain a CIM qualification to boost their marketing skills and strategy knowledge.
What is expected of account managers?
Typically, account managers will be expected to commit the following;
- Full-time hours – (35 – 40 hours per week) with occasional overtime required when project or campaign deadlines are
- Evening and weekend work – In order to meet sales targets, occasional evening and weekend work may be required.
- Location – Normally based at the employer’s office.
- Travel – Account managers may have to travel off-site to visit existing and prospective clients.
Account manager benefits
While they will vary from employer to employer, account manager roles usually receive a good benefits package, including things like:
- Bonuses and commission – These are usually based on meeting sales quotas and targets, but can often lead to a significant increase in wage — sometimes more than the basic salary itself.
- Pension scheme
- Paid holiday
- Sick pay
- Corporate discounts
Who employs account managers?
Account managers are needed in almost every company that sells large, complex products or services (particularly B2B firms) meaning roles can be found across numerous industries, primarily in the private sector.
Typical account manager employers include companies within, but not limited to:
Which junior jobs progress to account manager roles?
Account manager job opportunities range from junior to senior level, so it’s possible to enter the profession with no prior experience.
However, it’s sometimes possible to progress into an account manager role by building up knowledge and experience in a specific sector within a junior position, such as:
Junior sales/account executive
Junior accounts or sales team members usually support the senior account management team with lead generation, cold calling and new business development. While salaries are lower, these positions are often available to candidates without a degree and provide lots of scope for career progression within the business.
In some cases, it may be possible to enter a company as an administrator and progress into an account manager position after developing adequate skills, experience and sector-knowledge.
Which senior jobs do account managers progress to?
A career as an account manager is a rewarding and potentially lucrative career choice in its own right, but with enough relevant experience can also act as a springboard into senior, higher-paid roles, such as:
Senior/key account manager
A role as a key account manager is a natural progression for experienced account managers looking to move up the ladder. This role normally involves handling the biggest and most profitable accounts within a business, with an aim of building long-term, strategic and profit-boosting partnerships. It may also involve managing and mentoring a team of account executives.
With adequate experience, key account managers could move into a role as an account, brand or sales director. These roles include making key decisions about sales, marketing and account strategies, as well as managing staff and delegating tasks.
Some account managers progress into senior management positions, such as directorship roles, overseeing the strategy and overall leadership of a business, or an area within a business.
It’s worth noting that the broad range of skills and experience required of an account manager are highly transferable and provide the opportunity for professionals to move into many different roles that are not necessarily directly associated with account management.
Account manager job description – conclusion
For those who are confident communicators, with a creative mindset and a knack for sales, a job as an account manager can be a rewarding career choice for graduates and sales professionals alike.
Jobs are available across sectors and industries, and demand is likely to remain high. With experience, account manager salaries can be high, while opportunities for career progression are varied and highly achievable.