What makes an Ideal Key Account Manager?

I’ve spent the past several weeks collating my notes, researching articles and analysing the past 10-years of running an agency to compile a guide pertaining to what skills I believe the ideal key account manager should possess.

Why is this important?

At novi, a substantial amount of our business is generated from referral, word-of-mouth and inbound enquiries. Fortunately, there isn’t a lot ‘sales’ per se, however, there’s still a significant need to ensure high retention rates. Enabling our team to be the ideal key account manager is a major contributing factor to this success.

Contained in the last section of this post, there are number of articles that that the following reasons people have provided as the most effective for successful account management:

• They motivate their colleagues and associates to take action and engage them with a compelling mission and vision.
• They have the assertiveness to drive outcomes and the ability to overcome adversity and resistance.
• They create a culture of clear accountability.
• They build relationships that create trust, open dialogues, and full transparency.
• They make decisions that are based on productivity, not politics.
• Strong attention to relationships: The main purpose of any account manager’s role is to manage relationships. Account managers are the facilitators between a business and its clients. Clients need to be able to trust that their account manager has their best interests at heart, and the business should be assured that their account manager will act according to corporate goals and ethics.
• Educated and industry-savvy: A good account manager is expected to be fluent in the industry in which he or she specialises.
• Excellent communicator: Effective and clear communication is central to virtually everything an account manager does.
• Flexible but tenacious: The ability to seamlessly change course, bounce back, adapt, and devise new solutions after setbacks.
• Multitasker: Must be able to juggle multiple projects, deadlines, and budgets at the same time with poise.
• Prioritization and delegation skills: Account managers are very busy. Part of being a manager is knowing when and how to prioritize workloads efficiently and delegate tasks to team members in order to streamline workflow.
• Leadership – You need to have a vision for what success looks like.
• Communication – know that you are in control in order to communicate that you are in control.
• Relationship savvy – Be aware of how different people operate. Read the other person.
• Appetite for Learning – Don’t be content in what you know, the world is changing and evolving constantly. The learning aspect is key, you have to want to learn on your own without guidance. Define your own path, you are the only one that is in control of your destiny.


You’ll notice consistencies across what I’m saying and the articles linked below. This isn’t a definitive guide, because each client is different and should be managed accordingly, but this list should provide you with a structured framework and an approach to help guide you to on the road to more successful management of your client accounts.

Hopefully you’ve gathered from this guide, what tends to make a good account manager is a structure and framework, but what makes a great account manager is you and your approach.

Helpful Guides:

1. https://www.mayple.com/blog/tools-for-marketing-kpis-success
2. https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/key-account-management
3. https://www.bts.com/research/the-keys-to-key-account-management/index
4. https://www.shiftwise.com/six-traits-ideal-account-manager-article/
5. https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2014/12/6-attributes-key-account-manager-gp.html