Account Managers vs. Relationship Managers, Part 2

Shashi Jasthi
Nov 14, 2022 8:46:00 AM

As we learned in the previous post, Relationship Managers focus on creating additional value for the client company that has nothing to do with sales which is the main function of an account manager. Their relationship perspective aligns the service provider’s goals with those of the client company.

Typically, Relationship Managers each have 10-20 years’ experience in the area of expertise for the engagement and are trained to do the necessary work. They therefore have the knowledge and experience that can discover additional value for the client.

In addition, forward-looking firms provide the services of Relationship Managers to client companies free of charge because the savings they discover will be a win-win for both provider and client.

In the example we cited in the previous post of how an Account Manager would typically cope with the processing of trouble tickets by simply adding more customer service personnel, a Relationship Manager would apply root cause analysis to determine the underlying cause of the increasing number of trouble tickets.

Her analysis may discover (1) a systemic problem that, once addressed, will reduce or eliminate trouble tickets for that issue, (2) that a different approach may be a more efficient way of dealing with the ongoing issue, or (3) that the coping process can be simplified by eliminating unnecessary steps.

By aligning the service provider’s goals with those of the client, often processes are improved, efficiencies are realized and monies are saved. It’s a win-win situation when the provider passes on a percentage of its savings to the client company.

A Relationship Manager (RM) focuses on diagnosing and resolving all such types of issues that may have nothing to do with sales:

  • Resolution of personnel issues – those issues that arise within the workforce: someone who is not performing properly, or not cooperating with co-workers
  • Resolution of delivery issues – rectifying the effects of miscommunication, misalignment with goals, or the question of quality
  • Coaching/Performance Improvement/Training – raising the game of the workforce by personnel who are working at the client’s site
  • Innovation of delivery – effecting innovation that goes beyond the current engagement by doing additional things, doing the same things but in a better way, or eliminating non-essential things or processes


In sum, taking the relationship perspective aligns the service provider’s goals with those of the client company – to the advantage of both – and forms a firm foundation for a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship.


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