March 11, 2018
Some people might think of account managers as first-class schmoozers that spend their time attending lavish customer events and off-site socials. And while this may be part of the role (depending on the company you work for), the technical account manager is SO much more than that. From helping users with technical issues and negotiating terms of contract renewals, to advising C-level customer stakeholders, these people are relentless, multitasking, charming problem solvers.
Earnings: Varies by seniority and industry, but typically around £40k - £60k base salary, plus bonuses.
Hang-Outs: Onsite presenting to customers, chatting with sales and product leaders on account strategy.
Key Skills: Consultative selling, customer focus, sharp technical skills, knowing their products inside out.
Secret Weapon: The ability to calmly address the thorniest of customer issues - head-on
Ultimate Ambition: Growing and developing accounts. Bigger contracts = more business value for the customer AND the company.
So, what is really meant by Technical Account Management?
In a tech or igaming company, the technical account manager typically manages the relationship with customers after they have passed the initial contact with a salesperson and been onboarded. They play the critical role as the strategic link or communication channel between customers and the business. On the one side, they are the company representative and strategic advisor to customers – from managing the rollout and integration of new services to regularly helping different stakeholders at the customer organisation get the most value out of the product. And on the other side, they are the voice of the customer internally; giving feedback, talking about new services that could be developed, and troubleshooting issues– technical or otherwise.
So are they more like sales people, or customer success managers?
A bit of both – and again it depends on the organisation. In some account management roles, the focus is on the upsell; keeping in touch with customers in order to sell them additional services from the product suite. For others, particularly those account managers who deal with fewer customers, it’s more about strategic relationship management – finding the best ways to work together through new partnerships and collaborations, and ultimately making sure customers are getting the most benefit from the product.
What kind of person thrives in technical account management?
In account management, relationship management is key – and for that you’ll need empathy, listening skills and excellent communication and presentation skills. Underpinning this, you’ll also need a sharp commercial brain: as tech account managers are managing the balance between customer satisfaction and retention, with profitable revenue growth. Although technical skills aren’t always a hard and fast requirement, most tech account managers will have some level of technical competency or understanding (ideally a technical background) - since they’ll usually have to be a whiz with product demos, presentations and webinars.
What’s a typical career path (and what’s the *ultimate* potential)?
Well… it varies. It’s fair to say that in many firms, the senior form of the technical account manager, the ‘strategic client director’ can be a career end goal in itself, with salaries reaching in excess of£100k plus bonuses. Client Directors typically own the relationship and account strategy for one or two exceptionally high-value clients, positions usually commanded by those who have been in the industry a while, as well as having previous experience dealing with that particular customer. Others go down the management route, leading teams of account managers or technical solutions sales people. Some get headhunted by their customers into senior roles. Some might even shoot for the CCO or CEO position, although people who take this route often have experience in new business development or product management too.
Highs and Lows of the Job?
Highs: Re-negotiating a hefty chunk of business with a customer
Lows: When senior management don’t consider the effect of internal changes on your customers.