Account Manager Vs. Business Development Manager

Jan 14, 2018

Account managers and business development managers share the responsibility for a company's financial gains. Find out how their techniques, salaries, and job growth opportunities differ.

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Comparing Account Managers to Business Development Managers

Account managers and business development managers are both driven to increase a company's revenue by contacting leads in the form of clients or business partners. The former builds lasting relationships with regular accounts, while the latter meets with various stakeholders in the company to present financial reports. Learn more about the similarities and differences between these roles.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2016-2026)**
Account Managers Bachelor's Degree $51,621 7% (Sales Managers)
Business Development Managers Bachelor's Degree $71,131 8% (Managers, All Other)

Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Account Managers vs. Business Development Managers

Account managers build working relationships with clients by contacting them post-sale and ensuring they are happy with the product or service. Similarly, business development managers design the policies and strategies related to client communications. Both professionals may travel to negotiate contracts or meet clients, but the bulk of their responsibilities are done in office settings. While account managers are focused on bringing in more clients and establishing loyalty from others, business development managers dream up new projects.

Account Managers

Mainly working in advertising, marketing, public relations or technology, account managers are tasked with meeting sales goals. To do this, they should have a wide knowledge of all available products and services their company offers. This allows them to propose customized products in an attempt to meet a client's unique business needs. Account managers spend significant time preparing sales quotas according to a client's budget. Additionally, they become familiar with new sales opportunities through data analysis and market trends. After locating a new lead, they may deliver sales presentations that offer details and specifications about the product and demonstrate how it ties to a company's processes.

Job responsibilities of an account manager include:

  • Creating sales lead resources, including company directories for cold calling new leads
  • Utilizing upselling techniques to offer clients the newest and best products
  • Completing orders on behalf of the client and collecting due amounts
  • Planning for the installation of technological goods, along with the client

Business Development Managers

The name of the game for business development managers is growth. These professionals find new business opportunities, such as projects that will increase revenue and meet company goals. Of course, first they evaluate the fiscal performance of a business based on data collected, as well as research the activities of any competition. When working in the production industry, they may negotiate manufacturing contracts between vendors, retail companies, and factories. In sales, they develop a business strategy to engage new accounts and offer clients their company's products and services. An understanding of branding and marketing is helpful, as some develop sales campaigns.

Job responsibilities of a business development manager include:

  • Setting the budget for new business programs, such as product development
  • Becoming familiar with economic activities within the market or field in which their business practices
  • Attending conferences related to their field and network with others
  • Developing strategies for increasing customer satisfaction

Related Careers

If a career as an account manager interests you, you may find fulfillment as a marketing manager, especially because both may deal with advertising campaigns for a client. Additionally, if you've considered a future as a business development manager, a position as a chief financial officer may be for you, since both drive a company's fiscal goals.

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