What does Account Management mean and what do Account Managers do?  The role of the Account Manager in many organizations is neither clearly understood nor properly executed.  He/ she is often someone who does not seem to clearly fit into a prescribed department.  The Sales Team provides a clear cut function – to sell goods and services for the organization they represent.  The Customer Support Team provides another clear cut function – support the customers who use those goods and services.  So, who is this Account Manager who seems to have a foot in both departments?

A good Account Manager should act as the liaison between a company and its clients, and it’s their responsibility to see that those clients are maximizing the value of the products and services provided. That beings said, there is also a sales component to the Account Manager’s job as well. It’s the Account Manager’s role to not only maintain and retain the customer but also to up-sell additional products and services to those same clients.

So does that mean that my Account Manager is someone I shouldn’t trust?  Is it someone who does not have MY best interests at heart?  If they are a good Account Manager, the answer is no – they should be someone you trust and they should have your best interests at heart.  A good Account Manager will be most successful if they think of themselves as an extension of the client – a representative of the client within the organization.  It is their job to live in the client’s shoes and understand where they’re coming from.  If they are successful in doing that, they will be able to more accurately represent the needs and requirements of the client within the organization and work effectively to help the client achieve those goals.  By achieving those goals, they will help to maintain client satisfaction.

In today’s economy, there is great value in applying effort and resources toward retaining clients and ensuring their happiness.  A happy client will not only continue to pay you, but they will help you to continue to develop your product.  They will provide valuable insight into the market and help you build feedback into new configurations and solutions.  A good account manager should feed off  that invaluable stream of information and use it to help develop products and services that can be sold to other clients with similar organizational structures and needs.  The up selling part of the Account Manager’s job is not about “sticking it to the client” for additional revenue…it’s about providing complimentary products and services that make the entire package an end all, comprehensive solution.  If your Account Manager is good…their goal will be to help you to achieve that success.  Yes, sometimes there will be additional costs associated with reaching that milestone, but a good Account Manager is not focused on the revenue…they are focused on the comprehensive solution.  If the Account Manager keeps that their focus, additional revenue for the company will come on its own and will simply be gravy on top.

In summary, an effective Account Manager should be someone you consider your friend.  They should be a trusted resource for advice and guidance.  They should be detail oriented, organized, and communicate well.  They should accurately represent your needs within the company and they should follow through on their promises.  They should own up to mistakes and make things right when they are wrong.  The bottom line is that if an Account Manager is doing their job properly, they should be your strongest ally within the company, your friend, and they should be focused on your success.