What is the Difference between an Account Executive and an Account Manager?

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Both the role of account executive and account manager is highly contingent and situational. The role of both these professionals keeps changing from company to company. The Account Managers are responsible to manage and retain their existing business and identify opportunities to grow with their clients. At some places, they are also responsible for developing new clients. An Account Executive is more concerned with day to day execution of affairs and they ensure customer satisfaction to a specific group of clients. They work as assistants to the account managers. Most companies demand account managers who can provide their service to existing accounts and the account executive is the one who sells new business.

1. Role of Account Executives:
The post of Account Executive is a front line position for account management. Customer contacts take place through account executives that work directly with clients and manage their accounts. They ensure that the ongoing projects go smoothly and monitor progress of creative team or the product development team. The Account Executives also ensure that all deadlines are met and all questions of clients are answered well. They are expected to come up with new ideas to new prospects. The responsibilities of account executives vary from organization to organization and industry to industry. An Account Executive may also recruit, screen applicants and post requirement of clients on various job listing sites on internet.

2. Role of Account Managers:
People find the word “sale” to be offensive and they think account executive sounds better and more professional. The rank of these professionals depends on the company. The account managers report to the account executives. The Account Managers form one foot of each department. They act as liaison between company and its clients and take responsibility of maximizing value of products and services. There is a large sales component to their job profile. It is duty of AM to maintain, retain and upsell their client’s portfolio or accounts. The Account Management functions in different types of companies like consulting firms, service providers, advertising and public relation agencies. They manage company’s relationship with the clients.

At any tech company, the AMs are primary source of contact between companies that provide technology and the clients who use it. They work closely to determine the demands of clients. They create budget and schedule meeting their account’s need and enforce deadlines for development of products or client’s project. They communicate client’s agenda to their staff and communicate their concerns and capability to the client. The Account Managers identify new customers and plays an active role to follow up post sales. In any advertising company, they are responsible for overseeing execution of ads, in a software company they help in training clients while in a manufacturing unit, they ensure delivery of orders on time.

3. Qualities of Account Managers:
The Account Managers need to be detail oriented. The main part of their job is organization. You are expected to keep the name of organization top for all aspects of project. They should have good communication skills for interacting with clients, staff and management of the company. They should keep promises made to the customers and not offer something more than what your company can deliver. Account Managers should exactly know the services that are offered and the time in which the project can be completed. They need to know everything about their client. Only strong understanding of business strategy of client can help you to understand and communicate with them. You need to know industries in which your client is competing. Read changing business trends and its strategies. This can help you to attract new accounts and keep the ones you have. Unfortunately all projects don’t go the way they were planned and fixing the whole problem is responsibility of an account manager. The work of AMs can be very stressful if the client is a hard man to work with. They need to be creative to figure out the best solution.

4. Requirements of Account professionals:
Firstly, you should contact your campus career center and stay in touch with alumni who are working in this profession. You should gather as much information as possible about this profession. The Account Managers can explain you how to get into this field and meet people in the industry. As your contacts grow, you will be able to find new positions as and when it becomes available. If you are interested in account management, give interviews with agencies that come to your campus. Another way to go about it is internships in any agency and then get hired. Internships in journalism, marketing and broadcasting skills are valuable for account management. Your work experience enables you to build a powerful portfolio and resume. In technological fields, engineering degree or at least some experience is required to understand technology for employment. In the manufacturing units, account management professionals can get certification for advancement in their career. For higher positions, a degree certificate and work experience may be required.

5. Job Outlook:
The work profile of Account Managers varies from industry to industry. Businesses start spending money on advertising and technologies, these professionals have good future. In long run, the management opportunities are likely to grow at a slower rate than other industries. The job outlook varies in different sectors and it depends on which is growing and which is more mature. Things are very promising for AMs and the ones who work with an interactive ad agency or sell ads of search engine.

6. Career Track:
The responsibility of Account Management varies and it depends mainly on industry and nature of organization. Client prospects and solicitation is expected a lot. You should build a healthy relationship between organization and their clients. The customers should be comfortable to come to you with new ideas for projects and change the existing ones. They are involved in administrative duties like fielding phone calls of clients, entering information in database, bulk mails and many other things.

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