1. Who is an Account Manager? What does an Account Manager do?
Account Managers play a critical role in retaining and growing existing clients and key customers in the Enterprise, Corporate, and Channel space. The main responsibility of an Account Manager is to have forged strong and strategic relationships with key decision-makers and budget holders within the assigned customer, having a thorough and clear understanding of the customer’s business objectives and where they are inclined to make the necessary investments to achieve these objectives, managing the client’s expectations, overseeing the process of delivery, and ensuring that the client’s needs are met in a timely fashion. This is done through solid research, exploration and engagement with the client.
2. Key responsibilities of an Account Manager
An Account Manager serves as a single point of contact for the client. Clients are usually more comfortable when they’re talking about their requirements to one person. Having the client speak only one person is less confusing and creates a smoother engagement model built on trust and sound advice. This communication also flows inwards to the business with clear reporting on billing, spend, current projects, and new opportunities.
The core responsibility of an Account Manager is managing the client’s expectations and perceptions from cradle to grave, daily. To establish and maintain professional relationships with the client, Account Managers continue to assess customers’ needs and business objectives as the project progresses.
Account Managers often help in developing initiatives for increasing account growth, customer satisfaction, retention, and new opportunities. A thorough understanding of the client’s organisational structure and stakeholder mapping is a critical function.
Internal management is key from the planning, executing, and reporting perspectives. Account Managers must be able to articulate and share the progress and plan against agreed objectives and targets to the Senior Management Team.
The sales cycle for technology services, projects, and products is usually long and complex, involving different decision-makers at every stage. Account Managers are responsible for identifying the information and resource requirements for each of these stages, such as:
- Understanding and articulating the client’s vision and roadmap,
- Analysing and understanding the business requirements and objectives associated with this vision and roadmap,
- Formally eliciting these requirements and detailing them,
- Scoping these potential projects,
- Sizing and costing these potential projects and workloads, and
- Submitting proposals to the customer that articulate our value proposition, approach and strategy to achieve what is required, customer evaluation, and supplier selection.
Account Managers also ensure that our company achieves the best position as the preferred supplier for a given client. Ensuring that the relationship is moved up the Buy-Sell Hierarchy from being a vendor to a preferred vendor to a key operational vendor to finally sitting in the most valuable position as a key strategic vendor.
Confidence and Trust
An Account Manager is a person responsible for building a relationship with the client. Smart Account Managers know how to forge stronger relationships with customers, increasing their loyalty, building trust, and unlocking their tech investments.
Adoption, Customisation, and Success
Account Managers help clients to implement and adopt the software that we have designed and built at their company. They streamline the process that allows the customer to shape the software to be perfectly in line with their business objectives and unique requirements. They also share knowledge and help the customer build a stronger business. This is the foundation for creating a long-lasting relationship.
Another key responsibility of an Account Manager is coordinating various teams to make sure that the client’s expectations are met. This role assists all the teams to meet their financial targets and growth objectives. An Account Manager also helps the company management in formulating broader-picture strategic planning.
An Account Manager serves as a single point of contact for the client as well as our internal teams. The Account Manager is ultimately accountable for the success of the account, the client, and our business.
The various areas of the business are responsible for their specific domain to support the Account Manager. This ranges from Technical Presales, Solution Design, Project Development, Project and Services Implementation and Delivery, Billing, Accounting, and Collections.
I see the Account Manager as the “Managing Director” of the account who is ultimately accountable for the success of the account and the cross-functional internal team as being responsible for their domain of expertise.
The distinction between accountability and responsibility is a key concept that needs to be understood and implemented daily.
3. What skills does an Account Manager need?
The exact skills an Account Manager needs to have might differ from company to company but also across different industries. Here are a few universal account management skills that prove essential to this role:
- Outstanding verbal and written communication skills,
- Ability to work well under pressure,
- Excellent people skills and intuition about the customers’ business needs,
- Ability to deal calmly with any customer complaints or problems,
- Ability to work independently and collaborate with the team successfully,
- Strategic thinking,
- Problem-solving skills,
- Leadership skills,
- Perseverance, and
- Ability to negotiate and close opportunities.
Account Managers who perform their role in the tech industry need a few other skills:
- Domain knowledge – smart Account Managers realise what it takes to build successful projects, services, and products business. They can advise their customers at every stage of software development and manage their expectations accordingly, drawing on the best industry practices and standards. Knowledge of common technology challenges – the most successful Account Managers are the ones who can understand the needs of their customers. Being aware of the challenges companies face today is an invaluable skill for Account Managers working in tech. After all, they’re the ones who navigate the relationship and who will be helping the customer to solve problems and optimise their operations.
- Technical knowledge - an Account Manager needs to have a solid grip on the technology that would be proposed and implemented within their accounts. What decisions customers are making around their technology stack, their current and future architecture, their technical support, and skills capability
- Knowledge about recent technology trends – to be successful in tech, an Account Manager needs to carefully observe technology trends, especially the ones related to the client’s business goals and target audience.
- A good understanding of project management methodologies – software development companies usually implement industry standards and methodologies such as Agile or Scrum. The knowledge of such project management techniques allows Account Managers to understand how the project could be better adapted and realised within the deadline and budget constraints.
4. Formal requirements for Account Manager positions
As an Account Manager, you need to meet many requirements and bring specialized skills to the table:
- A bachelor’s degree or higher in a related business field such as business administration, marketing, communications, sales, business management, and others.
- Experience in marketing, sales, account management. Most of the time, we are going to ask for 3 to 5 years of significant experience.
- Account Managers are usually expected to have experience in working with customer relationship management (CRM) systems or having experience working in a junior position in the account management department.
- Collaboration and interpersonal skills – an Account Manager is a role that requires building and maintaining relationships with several clients. That’s why you need to show strong interpersonal skills and the ability to collaborate with others easily.
Note: Tech is a highly competitive environment. That’s why the requirements for Account Manager positions in technology companies are higher than usual and require the skills mentioned.
A little bit about DotModus
At DotModus, we offer the best in industry-specific, scalable cloud solutions. We are an official Google Cloud Premier Partner, AWS Specialised Partner, and Microsoft Azure Gold Partner specialising in the implementation and support of the multi-cloud hyperscaler technologies.
Whether you're developing a new app, moving your databases online, or experimenting with machine learning, DotModus is your partner in making your leap to the cloud. We are experts in data wrangling, orchestration, and assisting clients in data-driven decision-making.
We take big data and turn it into valuable, single view insights of your company, helping you not only find answers but ask better questions. We choose speed and iteration in our development cycles, producing measurable results in half the time. We also believe in "co-sourced development" where we work with you - not for you.
DotModus is taking South Africa’s Software Engineering, Data Analytics, and Machine Learning talent to enterprises throughout the world. The world-class team that we are building will help our customers build incredible and innovative cloud-first solutions that will add tremendous value to their businesses.
We are part of Dynamic Technology Holdings Group with a total of 1200 staff. Our belief and culture is that your workplace, and the people you work with, should both be amazing. Heck, you spend over a third of your time at work, it better be fun! Work hard, Play hard.
At DotModus, you’ll be working with some of the smartest people in South Africa, where you’ll get to play and develop with some of the coolest tech and gear we can lay our hands on. Data is what we do and we’re loving it. Our products, projects, and customers will expose you to some of the biggest and best datasets around and throw you into one of the biggest growing industries of today. We also build beautiful apps that are as many experiences as they are tools. We build for people, not robots.