Account Manager Career Growth

Jan 21, 2020

Account managers are experts in customer relations and excel in the areas of organization and communication. Their valuable skill sets can be leveraged toward various career advancement opportunities.

Career Advancement for Account Managers

Account managers are skilled at maintaining and growing customer relationships for their organization. They are not only experts on their company's products and/or services, but they excel in communicating the necessary information in a clear and understandable way. A successful and experienced account manager can leverage these and other job skills to grow their career, moving up the career ladder through various managerial and executive pathways. Four job advancement options covered here include the areas of public relations, marketing, and executive management, with responsibilities and requirements listed for each.

Job Title Median Annual Salary Job Growth (2018-28)* Qualifications
Public Relations Manager $114,800 (public relations and fundraising managers; 2018)* 8% (public relations and fundraising managers) Bachelor's or master's degree; related work experience
Sales Manager $124,220 (2018)* 5% Bachelor's degree; sales experience
Marketing Manager $134,290 (2018)* 8% Bachelor's degree; related work experience
Vice President of Sales $140,132 (2019)** 6% (top executive) Master's degree in marketing, sales, or business administration (MBA); extensive management experience

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **

Career Information

Public Relations Manager

Account managers not only communicate the value of their product or service, but also help maintain their company's professional public image each time they interact with a customer. An account manager with a keen insight into public image maintenance and improvement may enjoy a move into the role of a public relations manager. In essence, a public relations manager helps sell a corporation's image to the public. This can involve crafting a corporate response to economic, social, or political trends, ensuring that marketing campaigns work alongside the corporation's desired image, and handling both internal and external communications. Public relations managers often work alongside management in advertising, marketing, finance, and legal departments. A bachelor's degree in public relations or a related field is a common requirement, though some employers may prefer a master's degree. Relevant work experience is also necessary.

Sales Manager

An experienced account manager can move up their career ladder into the role of sales manager. A sales manager directs a corporation's sales department. This includes, but isn't limited to, overseeing sales territories and goals, developing sales training, and managing the department's staff. Sales managers work with the marketing department, as well as research and design, in order to strengthen their customer base and to provide products and services to meet client demand. Applicants should have a bachelor's degree, and should also bring with them several years of sales experience.

Marketing Manager

An account manager who enjoys tracking the demands for products and services, and has an eye for market potential, may find the role of marketing manager a good fit. Marketing managers work largely on the development-side of a company's products and services, researching trends, assisting in product development, and creating pricing and marketing strategies. They often work alongside the development, sales, and public relations departments. Applicants should have a bachelor's degree, as well as work experience in sales, marketing, or promotions. With the continued increase of online marketing, job seekers with experience in digital advertising will have an advantage.

Vice President of Sales

An account manager who displays a high level of leadership and experience has the potential to advance up the career ladder to Vice President (VP) of Sales. The VP of Sales oversees their company's sales and marketing initiatives, setting the direction and tracking the impact of the sales and marketing teams. They may meet regularly with clients, board members and other top executives. Analyzing sales reports, negotiating contracts, and establishing departmental budgets can also fall under the responsibility of the VP of Sales. A bachelor's degree is a minimum educational requirement; many VP of Sales have a master's degree, specifically in marketing, sales, or business administration (MBA). Proven management and collaboration experience are also a must.

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