What is a High-Tech Account Manager?
According to Business Dictionary the definition of an Account Manager is:
“An employee whose job is the day-to-day support of a particular customer's account with a business, and who serves as the primary point of contact between the customer and the company. The account manager position can provide customer support, technical support, planning and optimization for the account, as well as developing a relationship with the customer.”
The key phrase we take from the above definition is “developing a relationship with the customer.” This is by far the fundamental building block of Account Management in order to be successful. This is no different in High-Tech Account Management, the main difference being that a higher level of technical knowledge regarding the product is often required.
To be successful in this role is dependent on a range of variables but it essentially comes down to being able to build strong, lasting business relationships. Below we have highlighted some key qualities that are instrumental in this.
What are the qualities that lead to success?
In High-Tech Account Management you may often find yourself talking and presenting technical slide-decks to CEOs, CTOs and Software Engineers; professionals that have years of industry experience and have a real in-depth technical knowledge. Although it is not our place to know the absolute ins and outs of the latest technology, it helps to get a high-level overview in order to be confident in the role.
Presenting via the telephone throws up some interesting points to be considered. Body language is non-existent in this scenario, it is all about phone manner and presentation skills. Practice could not be more important than at this stage and the presentation must be concise, thorough and delivered with confidence. Take the time to learn about the company, present the slide deck to colleagues, partners, dogs – anyone who will listen – because the more natural the presentation, the more at ease the listener will be and the more they will be taking in.
Confidence is key to building trust with accounts. Learning the product knowledge and, therefore, presenting it assertively leads to the audience gaining trust in the information provided.
Like in any relationship, trust is the groundwork that must be laid for success. Stick to your word, when you say you are going to do something – follow that through. Know your account, do your homework. Showing that you know your stuff will let your client know you are serious and they will trust to leave their business with you.
This follows on nicely from the previous point – stay in touch. After a successful initial reach out with newer accounts, follow-up is vital. Working with Software Engineers, it is essential to build the engagement pipeline to ensure the momentum continues. An effective engagement pipeline will map out the activities paved out for the next year; embarking on technical projects to produce results that show the valuation of such advancements in the latest products.
Don’t leave an account in the dark, as soon as you know the latest information that impacts this account, inform them. They will respect you for that.
Being a High-Tech Account Manager often means being the middle-man between the client and the Software Engineers, whom will be working hard on technical projects. Build a rapport with both sides to ensure you keep yourself in the know at all times. Keep everyone in check, it is not the responsibility of the Software Engineers to manage your relationship – they manage the project. Linking back to the above point, make sure everything is communicated well; if everything runs smoothly, your client is likely to want to use your services again.
The Final Result
All-in-all our role as an Account Manager is to grow the account base. This will only be done through successful relationship building and management. If all of the above points are done correctly, your rapport will lead to your client having a high level of respect for you and in turn, you will have more influence over the account and where they choose to take their business. Leverage this with some hard work and great client management skills and a successful business relationship will last years and produce many prosperous ventures.