Account Manager Vs. Account Executive: Salary & Responsibilities

Oct 02, 2019

Understanding the difference between account managers and account executives can be confusing. This article provides an overview of the unique roles and shared responsibilities of these two titles.

Comparing Account Managers to Account Executives

Account managers and account executives are the face of a company to potential and existing customers. They manage the relationship between project teams and clients. By fostering positive and long-lasting client relationships, account managers and executives have an essential role in the overall success of their company.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2019)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Account Manager Bachelor's degree and/or relevant experience $53,478 6% (for all advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales managers)
Account Executive Bachelor's degree or relevant experience $52,489 6% (for all advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales managers)

Source: *, **US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Responsibilities of Account Managers vs Account Executives

Account managers and account executives connect with clients to sell their company's products and services. Whereas account managers tend to work with existing clients, account executives acquire new clients. There is a lot of overlap in their duties and responsibilities. Some companies hire one person for both positions. Other companies use these titles interchangeably. Despite the confusion, there are significant differences to note between these two roles.

Account Manager

An account manager ensures that their clients receive the products and services they are looking for. They take on multiple existing accounts, meet with the clients associated with those accounts, and provide the accounts' teams with a better understanding of how they can fully satisfy their clients. They must have excellent communication and problem-solving skills to predict and solve the needs of their customers. An account manager must communicate with their clients on a regular basis. Although they work regular hours in an office, they may have opportunities to travel to meet with clients. Account managers can move up to become account supervisors (oversee teams of managers) or become a key account manager (work with the most profitable accounts in their company).

Job responsibilities of an account manager include:

  • Manage the flow of information between customers and project teams
  • Foster positive long-term relationships with clients by providing follow-up services
  • Stay up-to-date with their company's offerings and present new products to customers to gain more business
  • Help frustrated clients express their needs to project teams

Account Executive

While an account manager meets the needs of existing customers, an account executive finds new clients. It is a confusing title because account executives do not have executive authority or a management role. Instead, they sell a company's services by identifying potential customers, tailoring a pitch specific to the customer's needs, and closing the deal with a contract. They must have excellent interpersonal skills, as they are a client's initial point of contact in the company. Although account executives work regular hours in an office setting, they may also travel frequently to meet with potential clients. Depending on their industry, an account executive may move up in their company to upper-level marketing, management, or sales positions.

Job responsibilities of an account executive include:

  • Network with existing clients to find potential customers
  • Represent their company to new customers
  • Establish a positive relationship with clients early-on to help foster a long-term relationship
  • Meet monthly sales quotas
  • Resolve customer complaints

Related Careers

Professionals with the customer service and sales skills necessary to be an account manager may also be qualified to be a national account coordinator. Those interested in account executive positions may want to look into becoming a regional sales manager, a job that shares the communication and management aspects of an account executive position.

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