Three Books Every Strategic Account Manager Should Read in 2021

2021 began, for most of us, as a year that didn’t feel very new at all. The pandemic wears on, unrest in our country persists, and our post-holiday days looked a lot like they did pre-holiday. Yet there are signs that 2021 will be a year of positive change.

Regardless of how not-new it feels, the start of the year is a good time to take pause and put structure around what you want the next 12 months of your career to look like, and we’re recommending three great books to get you started.

While they’re not sales books exactly, these authors have all done a brilliant job illustrating the basics of what it takes to be a better strategic account representative. So take advantage of this quiet, not-so-starting-with-a-bang time of year while we have it, and dig into these books that will surely set you up for success in the months ahead.

1. “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi

First published in 2005 and updated and expanded in 2014, “Never Eat Alone” explores an enduring topic: the power of relationships. Author Keith Ferrazzi explains how networking shouldn’t be a passive collecting of names and contact info, but rather, an active, ongoing exercise in connecting. Using personal stories from his own life, Ferrazzi demonstrates how we can and should add value to every networking connection, by sharing knowledge, resources and genuine emotion, so that connections become a two-way street in which everyone wins. Ferrazzi’s practices of strong foundation building within your network, coupled with cultivating your personal brand, will help you get more value out of the limited client interactions you’re already having; they’ll also help you connect with new and even hard-to-reach people to ultimately expand your network into new accounts. This book is a valuable read for beginners and veterans alike—as one Amazon review points out: if you are already good at networking, this book will help you become better; if you’re nervous and don’t know where to start, it will help you there as well.

2. “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie

“How to Win Friends and Influence People”, incredibly, was first published in 1936, so it’s no wonder that Dale Carnegie is known as a pioneer of self-help. Even more incredible is just how relevant this book still is today. Simple and straightforward, “How to Win Friends” walks through techniques for interacting with people, and how to “win” people to your way of thinking. Concepts like “be a good listener” and “try to see things from the other person’s point of view” aren’t groundbreaking, but they are invaluable and abiding in their effectiveness. Enacted with a client focus, the tactics outlined in this timeless bestseller will ensure your customers walk away feeling good after every interaction they have with you.

3. “Great on the Job” by Jodi Glickman

The full title of this book is “Great on the Job: What to Say, How to Say It. The Secrets of Getting Ahead”, and it focuses on the art of communication. The book is based on a consulting program developed by the author, who, as a former Goldman Sachs exec and EPA policy analyst, knows a thing or two about professional greatness. Especially useful for those planning (or hoping) to move up in their career in 2021, “Great on the Job” provides the building blocks needed for every conversation you’ll have at work. From things like “how to ask for help without sounding dumb” to perfecting your elevator pitch, “Great on the Job” will give you tips for getting your boss to like you, and building a better network inside your organization overall. The book posits that the ability to communicate well is the most important precursor to success in the workplace, and we agree.


Looking to level up as a key account manager in 2021? These books are just a start. To see how Kapta can help support, accelerate and mentor your efforts, schedule a personal demo today.

Senior Engagement Manager at Kapta
Jennifer is a Senior Engagement Manager at Kapta