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The sales field is far more diverse than many people realize, with various positions playing an integral role in the journey of turning interested prospects into paying customers. Two such roles include Account Executives and Customer Success Managers, each of which feature distinct differences. If you’re considering a career in either of these sales positions but aren’t quite sure which one you’d be best suited for, here are a few key differences to keep in mind.
Amount of contact
The goal of an Account Manager is to finalize the process that the marketing and sales development team started. That is, convert qualified leads into paying customers. Once that job is complete, the AE doesn’t have as much hands-on contact with the customer. That’s where the Customer Success Manager comes into play. Once converted, CSMs typically become the main point of contact for customers, ensuring that they receive the ongoing support and assistance they need to stay happy and loyal.
Level of support
Because CSMs are in the trenches, providing support to customers on a daily basis, they must remain on top of any and all changes or updates, both to the industry as well as within the company and product. This enables them to deliver more specialized support. AEs generally focus more on honing their own skills and crafting their messaging to ensure that leads have everything they need to move to the next step in the sales process. As such, their requirement for ongoing education and professional development may not be as in-depth as what’s required of a CSM.
Proactive vs. reactive
The most successful CSMs take a more proactive approach. For instance, a CSM might anticipate a potential problem or come up with newer and better ways to improve the customer experience.
Account managers are typically measured based on new logos / business acquisition, expansion of existing accounts, and also renewals. CSMs, on the other hand, as their name suggests, measure their success by that of their customers. It’s not necessarily that one role is better or more important than the other, but rather that they have distinct differences in priorities and how they track progress. AEs are incentivized to bring in as much business as possible while CSMs are measured by their ability to turn those customers into long-term assets.
Despite the fact that AEs and CSMs both involve working with customers, the day-to-day work involved in each role is quite different. Determining which sales position you’d be best suited for ultimately depends on your personality and preferences. For instance, if you are someone who prefers to be more hands-on and have excellent problem solving skills, you’d probably excel as a CSM. If you prefer a challenging and faster paced sales environment, an AE position might be your best bet.
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