Summary: Key Account Managers act as a contact between the client and his/her company. They attempt to identify and understand the client’s needs and provide solutions. They evaluate and adapt new strategies to keep up with current business trends. Key account managers may work with a field team or through internal associates to collaborate in the research of current market trends and foreseeing how these may affect their accounts.
Duties: Key Account Managers engage in a variety of tasks, which goes beyond sales to draft and manage the relationship between a business entity and its customers. These may include project management, coordination, decisive planning, managing relations and negotiations, leadership, and innovative development of opportunities. They should be able to give advice to customers regarding product options, provide support to a partner’s product requirements, maintain knowledge of new and existing products, as well as report competitor activities and systems. Key account managers also work to ensure customer satisfaction, identify opportunities to up-sell, organize and lead periodical account reviews, effectively communicate with all departments to resolve customer issues, maintain a database of current and potential clients, and provide substantial information relating to sales plans and reports.
Education and Training Requirements: Employers often prefer to hire applicants with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management, Economics, or Marketing (or any business related course). Some require key account managers to possess several years of work experience. Many companies require 3 to 5 years of experience in marketing or sales positions, while some prefer those with account management experience or a master’s degree.
Knowledge and Skills Requirements: A Key Account Manager must be inventive and resourceful, have strong marketing skills and have a good technical background with regard to previous and current trends. He/she must also target-oriented, a team player, schematic, enthusiastic, and ambitious; a good problem-solver and team leader; computer literate; an effective communicator; well organized and capable of drawing relevant insights to meet the client’s expectations, and possess a wide personal network to help in finding new leads and signing potential clients.
Working Conditions: Key Account Managers usually work during business hours from Monday through Friday. Work often requires local or international travel, although most of their time is spent listening and speaking to clients in person, via phone or e-mails. Because of this, they may be required to work on weekends and evenings. When not meeting with clients, Key Account Managers spend their time in a normal office setting, with a clean and well-lighted environment.
Salary: Key Account Managers receive an average salary of $67,000. This varies greatly depending on company, location, industry, and experience. Benefits may include health and life insurance; medicine reimbursement; performance bonuses; and paid sick and vacation leave.