What does it take to become an effective account manager? Excellent communication skills are a good start, with sales and brand knowledge, negotiation and multi-tasking skills following right behind. While all of these qualities are ideal for any sales role, there is no perfect formula as to what makes someone a great account manager across every industry—or even from company to company within the same field. What skills do you need to get started in account management? While the way you interact with clients and products will differ across businesses in the innovation sector, there are a few essential, transferable skills that will benefit you, regardless of the company's size or area of focus. [bctt tweet="What Skills Do You Need to be a Successful #AccountManager? by @SINYCDave" username="StartupInst"]
Ability to establish meaningful, long-term client relationships
Even if you haven't had experience working with clients in a formal setting before, you likely know how to build meaningful, long-term relationships with people around you. As an account manager, you will keep in regular contact contact with clients, intently listening to their needs and solving their problems, and easing their concerns.
As you work with them and learn about their preferences and business models, you'll be able to expand upon the existing foundation you built to suggest new strategies and tackle issues with increased confidence. You not only have to be able to establish these relationships, but also maintain them. Included in the skill set of building relationships is the ability to remain positive, even when clients are unhappy or unreasonable. Develop a thick skin. Focus on hearing criticism without letting it destroy your ambition to succeed. Remember that this feedback can only be helpful—providing insights on both your product and your process as an account manager.
[bctt tweet="Develop a thick skin + allow criticism to be helpful as an #accountmanager, says @SINYCDave" username="StartupInst"]
Strong drive to see results
For a salesperson, the ultimate goal is closing sales. As an account manager, you pick up where the sales team leaves off by working with the client to ensure their initial solution is successful. Your role as an account manager doesn’t end when you see the first results or metrics. You need to continue to understand your clients needs and future goals. You adapt, expand, and optimize their original strategies to ensure their satisfaction with your product and brand.
[bctt tweet="#AccountManagers continuously adapt + optimize to ensure #customersatisfaction, says @SINYCDave" username="StartupInst"]
As someone with a strong drive to see results, you also must be proactive about keeping your client on track. Don't wait until they notice they aren't seeing the maximum results—you should be the one leading the charge and doing what needs to be done, using analytics and metrics to guide your efforts and being proactive about keeping your client on track.
Knowledge about the sales cycle
In account management, knowledge of the full sales funnel and customer journey will help you to execute on your own role more effectively. You also will need to know the basics of a good pitch as account managers will often need to upsell current clients on new or higher-tiered products. To become an account manager, first learn what it takes to be an excellent salesperson. This comes through technical know-how, such as using CRM systems and the Salesforce platform, and understanding how to develop strategies for existing or prospective clients.
Similar to many roles, sales is a craft that must constantly be refined. There is always more to discover about the product, the industry, and your competitive advantage. Build on your skills by learning to give excellent sales presentations, track deliverables, and master selling techniques around handling objections, motivational selling, and storytelling. Above all, remember that the ability to build and maintain meaningful relationships is foundational to success in sales and account management. Listen, be empathetic, and look for solutions that put the customer first, and you'll find a career you love and thrive in as an account manager.[bctt tweet="#Sales is a craft—there's always more to learn abt the industry + your advantage— @SINYCDave" username="StartupInst"]