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Account Manager Vs. Sales Manager

Explore the differences and similarities between account managers and sales managers, especially their salaries, degree requirements, career outlooks, and major responsibilities.

Comparing Account Managers to Sales Managers

Account managers and sales managers meet sales quotas and boost customer satisfaction. Readers will learn that the former establishes ongoing relationships with clients, while sales managers are interested in the initial contact with fresh clients.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)**
Account Managers Bachelor's Degree $51,570 7%(Sales Managers)
Sales Managers Bachelor's Degree $54,601 7%

Sources: *Payscale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Account Managers vs. Sales Managers

Both these managers sell products, services, and even real estate to new and returning customers. Account managers focus their efforts on offering established clients the newest products. Sales managers, however, oversee whole teams of people who track leads and find new clients. Both may be required to travel to the client in order to gain a better understanding of their needs.

Account Managers

Building lasting relationships with strategic clients is the focus of account managers. Working with assigned accounts, they may sell to businesses or individual clients. To meet call volume quotas, they may also occasionally call new customers. These calls are all about determining the client's needs and offering them customized products. Account managers may have to express any concerns about potential setbacks with a customer's requirements and try solving them before they become major issues. They also have to understand the client's budget, as well as track their buying cycle, to plan contract renewals. Contracts or written sales proposals are written by these managers and include price quotes.

Job responsibilities of an account manager include:

  • Placing a customer's orders, ensuring the product is delivered by the client's requested deadline
  • Meeting sales goals for their accounts
  • Scheduling meetings with employees who are responsible for buying products for a client
  • Developing professional presentations for sales pitches

Sales Managers

To boost revenue, these managers direct sales teams by assigning geographical territories and setting goals. After analyzing sales statistics, they meet with regional managers to update them on how well their team is performing, providing suggestions on how to increase productivity. Sales managers also develop new techniques, such as cold calling, to bring in new clients. Additionally, they attempt to use selling points that focus on elements of the product that meet a customers' requirements. This may mean working with marketing departments to find gaps in the market and locate potential buyers, as well as determine how profitable a product will be.

Job responsibilities of a sales manager include:

  • Hiring new sales representatives
  • Designing training programs for new sales representatives
  • Offering discounted rates to customers
  • Maintaining inventory of the available products

Related Careers

Those interested in a career as an account manager may also consider a future as a marketing manager, because both assist with a company's advertising. For people curious about a position as a sales manager, they may research a career as a market research analyst, since both have to understand the target customers for a product.


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