This guide will teach you what strong account management is all about so you can increase your client satisfaction and bottom line.
Every person in a company has a role, and there’s genuinely no other role like account management
Talk to any CEO, and they’ll tell you how important their customers are. Customers bring revenue, which is the lifeblood of a business!
It’s no kidding that account managers have big shoes to fill — since their primary job is keeping the customer relationship sustained. Elite account managers have certain traits and understanding of customer relations that make them successful.
And all of this?
Is exactly what you’ll learn in this article.
We need to know the full details of what account management is all about.
- What is Account Management?
- Why is Account Management Important?
- What are the Duties of an Account Manager?
- The Top 5 Skills & Traits of a Quality Account Manager
- What are Best Practices for Account Management? Here are 6 of Them
- Final Thoughts About Account Management
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What is Account Management?
Account management is the ongoing activity of overseeing and handling client service delivery, concerns, and requests.
It’s all about building a solid relationship with the client rather than hoping the service is just “good enough.”
From the customer’s perspective, they want to work with a company that’ll help them achieve a particular goal. If they find a company like that — they’ll always want to do business with them.
Some job titles that fall under account management include:
- Account Executives
- Account Manager
- Account Supervisor
- Customer Success Manager
- Client Relations Manager
Think of the account manager as the face of the company from the customer’s perspective.
The reason for this is because they’re the main person the customer is interacting with.
Investopedia mentions this, saying, “An account manager is the business representative with whom a client has the most one-on-one interactions within a company.”
Every request, question, and inquiry gets brought to the account manager, making it clear that they need to be very sharp.
But being mentally sharp is just the tip of the iceberg; let’s discuss why account management is so crucial.
Why is Account Management Important?
Builds Client Relationships
In business, you often hear about “Building relationships”…
But how is it actually done?
An account manager builds a relationship by staying on top of client needs, asking questions, and truly being curious about where the customer is and where they want to be.
Think of a favorite co-worker, friend, or manager:
What made you enjoy being around them was likely their genuine curiosity about what you had going on.
Customers think the same way about account managers — a well-built client relationship ensures happy customers.
And what does client happiness lead to?
Loyalty, a better brand, and more revenue!
Client Retention and Reduced Turnover Rate
Speaking of revenue, to really grow, it comes down to consistent business and scaling accounts.
Great account managers know the steps it takes to reduce client turnover.
It’s the rate of a business’s customer loss.
A high turnover rate spells trouble because the company has to rely on getting new business constantly…
Rather than the current customer base contributing to revenue.
Did you know that it can cost about 5X more to attract a new customer?
Account managers can help reduce turnover by promptly taking care of client needs, leading to fulfilled clients and healthy business cash flow.
Strengthens Customer Experience
A strong customer relationship and low turnover rate means that the company provides a great customer experience.
Dimension Data reports that 84% of companies that focus on bettering their customer experience report an increase in their revenue. With those numbers, it’s a no-brainer to leverage an account manager.
Remember that customers don’t keep their experiences to themselves — they share them like candy.
If your company doesn’t have sound customer experience practices in place, it could cause you to lose out on future business.
94% of customers say an online review convinced them to avoid a business.
Increase Company Revenue
Earlier, we mentioned how account managers could increase revenue by lowering turnover rates.
But that’s not all….
Account managers can also contribute to revenue by upselling, cross-selling, and down-selling additional services the client would benefit from.
- Upsell – Adding a product/service with a higher price point to the current one.
- Cross-sell – Adding a product/service at the same price.
- Down-sell – Adding a product/service that has a lower price point than the current one.
At the end of the day, if you’re a company founder, your sales reps are busy closing on new deals. So you want your customer base to keep the current cash flow going or have it increase.
Account managers can let current customers know about additional products or services they may have been unaware of.
Which helps them buy more offers.
This is known as the Value Ladder.
On top of that?
These customers are more likely to buy because they’ve already bought from you once.
What are the Duties of an Account Manager?
Now that we understand just how vital the account manager is, what are the actual duties?
Sure, some responsibilities may vary based on industry, but overall, these five show up regularly.
Here’s the list:
- Nurturing the Client Relationship – Encouraging the client’s growth throughout time and holding all parties accountable (the client, the account manager, him/herself, and the company.)
- Keeping Clients Informed About the Account – Playing an active role and initiating communication when necessary.
- Being a Helpful Guide for the Client – Acting as a trusted advisor that contributes helpful information to the customer on an ongoing basis. All of this leads to client success.
- Deep Understanding of Client Goals and Business Ideas – Keeping the client’s agenda in mind to create the best plan possible for them.
- Offering Upgrades for the Client – With the client’s betterment in mind, the account manager should offer service packages or upgrades that’ll help the client even more!
These are just some of the responsibilities of an account manager.
However, it doesn’t just end there…
There needs to be certain skills tied along with these responsibilities for an account manager to truly be successful. Whether you’re hiring an account manager, are training one, or are one, these skill sets are essential to understand and implement.
Let’s dive in.
The Top 5 Skills & Traits of a Quality Account Manager
We’re now going to break down the considerable skills that exceptional account managers have.
1. Strong Communication Skills
Building a sound relationship is about effective communication.
How can you expect your account manager to keep customers long-term if they can’t articulate the value of your company?
Let alone articulate the customer’s problem back to them!
Strong communication skills usually include: listening, friendly conversation, non-verbal communication, stress management, and emotional control.
2. Competent Skill Set
As an account manager, you could be the coolest guy or gal in the world.
But you still need to have in-depth knowledge about your service and how it can help your customer reach their goals.
Clients want to work with someone very knowledgeable so they can rely on them for support.
If your client is a busy business owner in the B2B space, the last thing they’d want is an account manager that isn’t very knowledgeable.
Competence shows through product knowledge, industry knowledge, testimonials, and industry experience.
Pro Tip: Sales reps can help position account managers for success by letting clients know about an account manager’s experience.
Sales Rep: “I’ll pass you over to Adam — he has 15+ years experience with financial planning and will take care of your retirement account every step of the way.”
3. Leadership Ability
Leadership is not exclusive to a CEO or president.
Guiding people to be successful takes great degrees of leadership. It’s not just about leading the client — leadership is also the account manager leading themself.
The account manager has to have the ability to direct themself and make improvements even when higher-ups don’t notice mistakes.
Open-mindedness is how receptive you are to a big array of new ideas and information.
This skill is highly critical with account managers because they’re constantly communicating.
Be it through email, phone calls, or in-person, the account manager has to be open to taking customer feedback to better the client relationship.
No matter how much expertise the account manager has, there’s always something they don’t know.
“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” – Dalai Lama
If an account manager doesn’t believe in themselves, the product, or the company…
Why should the customer?
Everything starts with the account manager’s confidence level because it’ll show in their communication, product recommendations, and information given to the client.
How can account managers build confidence?
Here are a couple ways:
- Hands-on experience
- Confidence affirmations
- Encouragement from colleagues (co-workers, managers, etc)
If you’re hiring an account manager, be sure that they have a belief in the big 3: Themselves, the company, and the product.
If they don’t, clients will feel that something is off and not want to stay long-term.
According to Indeed, 98% of workers say that they perform their job better when they feel confident.
What are Best Practices for Account Management? Here are 6 of Them
1. Make Communication Efficient
Have a main platform you use to communicate with clients. This is especially important if you’re overseeing multiple accounts.
The last thing you want is a loss in communication.
2. Anticipate Client Needs
Anticipating client needs is extremely important.
As the expert, it’s your job to be a helping hand and predict potential issues that may come up with the account.
Here’s an example:
Say an account manager is overseeing a client’s lead generation campaigns. The ad is doing great, but the client just can’t seem to close the leads.
The account manager suggests that the client tries the company’s sales training at a discounted price.
In this scenario, the account manager gave the client a good solution before the problem [lack of sales conversions] became an even bigger problem.
3. Deliver as Much Value as Possible
Value is actionable takeaways a client can use for themselves. A great account manager keeps value in mind when working with clients long-term.
Think of a coach or mentor:
Their knowledge and wisdom make you see them as valuable. Customers are thinking the same way with a good account manager’s guidance.
The more you’re focused on giving value?
The more money customers are willing to pay because revenue is simply a representation of the value a company brings to a marketplace.
4. Use Helpful Account Management Tools
Account management can be a handful if you don’t have the right tools to help you out.
Without a helpful CRM that allows you to manage your tasks, calendars, and clients, you’re dealing with tons of inefficiency and maybe even burnout.
5. Streamline Service Renewal
We now know that account management is the task of sustaining client relationships.
If your company is doing a monthly payment model, make sure that it’s streamlined and clients are billed automatically (with their understanding, of course.)
This ensures that services continually run and value continues to get delivered to your customers in a timely manner.
6. Leverage Referrals
The sales team aren’t the only referral generators in town.
Account managers should routinely ask their customers — and especially successful customers — for referrals.
When a customer enjoys a company’s service, they want to share it with the world, especially with people they know. (As we spoke about earlier.)
You can ask for referrals, testimonials, and reviews to strengthen the appeal of working with the company.
Using Software to Help Your Account Management
Account management is the glue that sustains business relationships!
Great account managers understand their foundational role in the company and exhibit traits that help them and their clients become successful.
The fact of the matter is — you need to be keeping track of all of your valuable customer data. And using an all-in-one CRM can help you track and manage that data.
Schedule a demo call today to see how it’s helping account managers and business owners win!