Building and maintaining strong customer relationships is one of the major key ways of growing a business. Clients who receive top-notch customer service from a company always want to patronize that company. This is exactly how companies usually convert returning and potential customers. The person tasked with building and maintaining relationships in order to meet customers’ needs is the account director or account manager.
Do you want to become an account manager at a top company? If yes, then this guide will give you information on how you can become an account manager. You will also get to the job description of an account director, jobs for account directors, and the salaries involved.
First, let us get to know who account directors or account managers are and what they do.
Who is an Account Director?
Accounts directors are responsible for building, fostering, and maintaining relationships between a company and its customers. They also supervise the process of running marketing or advertisement campaigns in an organization.
Every company depends on the services of account managers so that customers can get solutions to their problems. As a result, these managers carry a huge influence on a company.
Account directors have a solid understanding of finance or business. Therefore, this increases their level of attentiveness and interpersonal skills to offer customers maximum satisfaction.
In most cases, people mistake account managers for sales representatives. While sales reps draw customers to a business and follow up potential leads, account directors build and maintain strong relationships with the new customers.
What is the job description of an account director?
The job description of account directors varies depending on the company. Generally, account directors dedicate most of their time to building and maintaining relationships with customers.
They do this by welcoming new customers to a business and looking for strategies to keep the customers interested in the business. If the customers encounter any problems, account managers look for ways to solve the problems.
On the other hand, account directors plan and oversee projects, brief creative teams, and manage budgets. They also oversee other personnel in the account section, set new goals & quotas, encourage new business, and supervise spending.
What are the necessary skills for the account director job?
Aside from understanding finance and/or business, account managers need certain skills that will help them to be successful in the field. The relevant skills for account director jobs include:
1. Communication skills
Communication is the most important skill every account director should have. The reason is that account directors interact with customers and internal stakeholders every day. Account managers communicate to this set of individuals in person, via mail, or by phone calls to ensure that customers obtain maximum satisfaction.
2. Public relation skills
As an account manager, you will need to possess public relations skills so that you can know how to deal with each customer professionally while promoting the company you are working for. Public relations skills will also help you to understand market forces and keep up with recent trends in the market.
3. Business development skills
With a business development skill, you will be able to identify areas of potential growth for a business. It will also enable you to help customers learn about new products in a company that will benefit them.
4. Strategic skills
Strategic skills help account directors to have a comprehensive understanding of customers’ accounts. It also helps account directors to focus on customer relationships that yield dividends continuously. By doing this, a company will maximize profits while building stronger relationships with customers.
How To Become An Account Director
If you want to become an account director but do not know the pathway to follow, we will list the steps that you can follow to become one. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to become an account director:
Step 1: Earn a bachelor’s degree
A bachelor’s degree is regarded as the basic starting degree for a wide range of careers. To kickstart your career in account management, consider pursuing a bachelor’s degree program in business administration, marketing, or related fields.
Keep in mind that most companies hire account directors who possess a bachelor’s degree in sales or business administration. Pursuing a bachelor’s degree in the aforementioned areas of study will enable you to learn all that concerns account management. In addition, you will gain experience in how to interact with customers and build relationships with them.
Step 2: Take a Bootcamp or MOOC
While a bachelor’s degree in business, sales, or finance fields can kickstart your career, a BootCamp or massive open online course (MOOC) will give you in-depth insight into the modern-day account director jobs.
Taking sales boot camps lets you learn the recent in-demand skills necessary for account director jobs. Alternatively, you can acquire these skills by enrolling in massive open online courses (MOOC). The good thing is that most massive open online courses are offered for free.
Step 3: Acquire licensure
Gaining a license gives one an edge over others in most careers. Certification in business, sales, or finance will make you have a profitable career as an account manager. While pursuing your licensure, you stand the chance of meeting other professionals in the field of account management, thus helping you to build more connections for jobs.
Step 3. Get a job
After obtaining your bachelor’s degree, taking a BootCamp, and gaining certification, the next step is to find a job and work in a sales position. Working in a sales role will help you to build the interpersonal skills necessary to handle customers and stakeholders in a company. Once you gain the experience, you can apply for higher account management roles in any organization.
What are the certifications for account directors?
Acquiring a bachelor’s degree and work experience is not enough to have a successful career in the sales and finance fields. Certification will make you stand out from other applicants if you are seeking jobs or other employees if you are currently working.
Below are the most important certification for account directors/managers:
Certified Sales Professional (CSP): The CSP certification is a must-have for anyone working in a sales position. You must possess a college and four (4) years of experience in an account management position in order to earn this certification. Alternatively, you can possess more than six (6) years of experience in sales to earn the CSP certification.
Project Management Professional (PMP): With a PMP certification, you will be able to carry out and oversee any project in a company. You will also have the ability to use hybrid and agile approaches interchangeably in carrying out any task to ensure greater success.
Certified Management Accountant (CMA): The CMA certification is common with account directors to certify their knowledge and experience in strategic planning and financial management. To acquire the CMA certification, you must first hold a bachelor’s degree or professional certification from a professional body and possess two years of experience in any sales-related field before taking the two CMA certification exams.
What jobs can I do as an account director?
There is a wide range of jobs that you can do as an account director. However, your job is not only limited to that of account management in a company. The skills that you have acquired during your education, boot camps, and licensure programs will enable you to land high-paying jobs.
Here are some of the alternative jobs you can do as an account director:
1. Digital Account Director
Digital account directors act as a liaison between businesses and their customers. These professionals have vast project management skills and can offer maximum customer service. They handle digital planning strategies for customers and the company’s website and social media platforms.
2. Account Director
Account directors manage and nurture relationships between companies and their clients thereby ensuring maximum customer satisfaction. They also oversee the process of running marketing or advertising campaigns and handle budgets.
3. Group Account Director
Group account directors assist the process of developing a business or company. They do this by building and maintaining relationships with clients and providing customer feedback to the account and sales teams. In addition, group account directors advise customers and develop strategies to achieve certain revenue goals.
What is the salary and job outlook of account directors?
Payscale reports that the average salary of an account executive with one year of experience (includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay) is $57,288 per year. Account directors that have between 1-4 years of experience make an average salary of $77,639 per year. Mid-career account managers with 5-9 years of experience make an average salary of $96,768 annually.
Additionally, the agency reports that the average salary of account directors with 10-19 years of work experience is $106,360 per year. The salary of account directors with over 20 years of experience is $120,799 per year.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of professionals in sales, advertising, and marketing roles is projected to grow by 10 percent between 2020 and 2030.
Building and nurturing relationships between a company and its customers are essential for the growth of the company. Now, this is where the services of account directors are employed.
If you want to pursue a career as an account director, this guide has carefully outlined the steps for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is an account manager a stressful job?
Yes. Account managers in a sales position are always under intense pressure to meet quota and convert potential customers quickly. Payscale reports that account management is ranked the second most stressful job.
Is an account manager a sales job?
Account directors carry out duties that extend over with a sales position. However, the account director role is not a sales job.
How long will it take me to become an account manager?
It will take you four (4) or more years to become an account manager. You can shorten the duration to fewer years by enrolling in a coding Bootcamp instead of pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, or related fields.
Can I become an account director from home?
Yes. You can become an account manager from the comfort of your home by enrolling in online courses in business management, marketing, and advertising fields. Upon successful completion, you earn a certificate to kickstart your career as an account manager.