Account Managers vs. Relationship Managers, Part 1

Shashi Jasthi
Nov 1, 2022 5:08:00 AM

It’s important to differentiate whether your IT vendor has assigned an Account Manager to oversee activities on your behalf, or a Relationship Manager. This may at first sound like only an exercise in semantics, but the difference is critical to your business.

Traditionally, the term “Account Manager” has always been a euphemism for “Sales Manager” because, as a result of both training and incentives, an Account Manager can help your business in only one way – by selling you services and the staff needed to support them. As your company grows, he grows his account by supplying additional services and personnel when appropriate.

For example, in the area of customer service, how many trouble tickets must your company process each month?  An account manager will supply the personnel needed to process the tickets as they come in and, as your business grows, supply additional bodies to process the growing number of tickets. This will be true even if the trouble tickets are all essentially identical – even if they all boil down to “grunt work” that will sustain your business but lead to no improvement for your company.

Because of his sales perspective, an Account Manager grows his account by filling seats at your company with additional staff, with no regard as to whether there are more efficient ways to accomplish the work or even whether the work itself is necessary to your business.

As such, the traditional sales perspective of the Account Manager is one that is antagonistic to the client, while a relationship perspective is one in which the service provider’s goals are aligned with those of the client.

As one frustrated executive once told his Account Manager, “I don’t need you to manage us. I need you to help us!”

As we will see in the next post, Relationship Managers are trained to do the necessary work and use their knowledge and experience to provide additional value for the client. Additional value is their primary goal and provides a win-win situation with positive net effects for both the client and the services provider.


Full disclosure: Relationship Managers are an integral part of how Solugenix engages with clients.


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