Many salespeople know that the next logical step in their career is to become an account manager. As an account manager, you can avoid the cold calls and custom service inquiries, and you’ll instead work with the same people each day. This brings consistency to your work, and over time, you’ll see the impact that you have on your organization.
The next step after that is to become a key account manager. In KAM, you’re working with the absolute top clients of your organization. They’re the 20% of people bringing in 80% of your organization’s results. The job comes with a lot of pressure, and to be successful in it, you need to have some serious skills.
The good news is that with added responsibility comes a pay upgrade! If you’re thinking of making your ascension to key account management in the near future, you’ll probably want to know what the career ladder looks like along with the salary and compensation packages. Today, we’ll take a look at the numbers and the steps you need to take to become the key account manager at your organization.
Climbing the Ladder
Once you’ve moved from the sales battleground and get the key account management position, you’ll most likely start out as an individual Key Account Manager. An individual key account manager typically works with only a few clients so they can avoid being stretched thin.
In this role, you’ll mostly be responsible for the success and progress of these accounts. Your goal is to enable your clients’ success and become their trusted advisor to provide guidance and advice. Make no mistake; key account management isn’t just a glorified sales position. In fact, you shouldn’t expect to do much selling at all really.
KAM is more about guiding your client to success and providing real value to them, so they stick around for the long-term.
So, how much bacon can you expect to bring home in your new role? Luckily, you can say goodbye to the low base salaries and slugging away day-in and day-out for a fat commission. Instead, you can expect to make an average of $71,925 per year according to data from PayScale.
This pay will range depending on the company and your location just as it would with any job. For a broader range to give you a better idea, the low end of the scale is $44,669, and the high end of the pay scale is $108,657.
The Next Step
If you’re good at your job, and you provide real value for your clients, you have a few choices when it comes to the next rung of the career ladder. Many KAMs will ascend to Regional Sales Manager, Business Development Manager, National Account Manager or Team Director. These roles are similar in that they’re a step above the individual key account manager, but they also have different functions.
The average salary for a Regional Sales Manager is $79,862 but can range from $48,059 to $122,015 depending on your locations, skills, and company.
Sales Director salaries are a bit more than Regional Sales Manager salaries. According to the same PayScale information, a Sales Director can expect to make an average of $98,053 but can range from $46,946 to $151,729.
Keep in mind that these positions typically come with benefits, commission, and bonuses too, depending on your company, but we’ll discuss these a little later on.
The Top of the Food Chain
Let’s say that you’re an absolute superstar and you can quickly rise through the ranks. Well, if you have your eyes on the top job, you can expect to work as a Global VP of Account Management.
In this role, you mainly work exclusively with the senior level executive at your accounts’ firms. You set the communication protocols for the account management department, and it’s on you to ensure that the relationships you have with accounts are not only healthy but thriving and prosperous for the upcoming years.
If you can’t tell already, there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with this role, but the good news is you get paid fairly for the amount of work.
According to data from PayScale, VP of Account Management professionals make an average yearly salary of $131,036, but the range is from $84,048 all the way up to $173,132. That’s just the salary alone too.
When you add in the bonuses, profit sharing, commission, the total pay range moves to $93,594 to $203,492.
Account management is a great field to get into with endless upwards potential. Although you might start in sales earning a small base salary and working mostly for a commission, if you take the time to focus on improving your skill set, you have the potential to move even further into a senior leadership role in your organization.
So, how can you get paid more? Well, we wrote about this a while ago, but here’s a summary:
Improve Your Game
With any job, you need to know the skills associated with high performance and focus your efforts on building upon them. From organization to communication, KAM takes a distinct set of skills. Learn them and make sure that you’re sharpening them.
You can’t expect to move up the ladder with a few years under your belt. We all have to start somewhere, so don’t be afraid to put in your time on the sales floor. It’s this experience that will help you sharpen your skill set and move up the ranks. Even if you are a KAM, it takes years to become a VP of Account Management. For some people, it takes their whole career to get to the executive level! No matter how long it takes, it’s worth it in the end.
Focus on Results for your Clients
One thing that separates KAMs from other salespeople is their dedication to their clients. You need to make sure that you can deliver reliable results to them. Focus on this first and the sale second, and you’ll have great success in this field.
How We Can Help
Whether you have all of these skills or only a few, Kapta can help you take your key account management program to the next level. Stay organized and make more progress faster with our platform. Schedule your free demo today!