Key Account Manager: Job Profile and Role

As a key account manager, you are responsible for maintaining customer relationships. These usually refer to high-value clients, depending on the size of the company you are working for. Looking after your company’s clients is, however, only one part of your job role as a key account manager. You are also responsible for looking after their key account, for ensuring revenue growth and for the overall customer satisfaction. The following blog will now take a close look at the qualifications and skills needed to become a key account manager (KAM). We will also tell you what working hours and salaries you can expect. Last, but not least, we will give you an insight into the typical day of a key account manager and tips for thriving in this job.

Short Summary

  • As a key account manager, you are looking after high-value clients for your company. You ensure that their accounts are being looked after and that they are satisfied clients.
  • As a key account manager, you are responsible for revenue growth, making sure that your company’s sales profits increase every year.
  • As a key account manager, you need to stay informed about the latest trends and developments. You also need to keep a close eye on your competition to identify potential threats and new business opportunities.

Job description

Your main job as a key account manager or KAM is to manage and look after your company’s most important clients and their accounts. Hence the name key account manager, which refers to those “key accounts” or “strategic account”. One of your main responsibilities is to make sure your clients are satisfied with both your service and your company’s products. You are also in charge of making sure their needs are being met and that the sales of your company continue to thrive. In order to achieve your job goals, you need to be a whizz in strategising, communication and negotiation. This applies to watching your competition as well as to working closely with other departments in your company.


  • Negotiation
  • Data Analysis
  • Problem-Solving
  • Strategic Planning
  • Risk Management
  • Customer Advocacy
  • Feedback Collection
  • Account Management
  • Forecasting and Reporting
  • Cross-functional Collaboration

Different types of Key Account Managers

  • Global Key Account Manager
  • Technical Key Account Manager
  • Customer Relationship Manager
  • Government or Public Sector KAM
  • E-Commerce Key Account Manager


The typical salary of a key account manager can range from £33,300 to £54,300 per year. Note that the lower salary corresponds with an entry level annual salary. The more work experience you have as a key account manager, the higher your annual salary. Besides the work experience, your salary will also be influenced by the company size, the employer and the location. In general, you can expect higher wages in big cities like London.

Working hours

On average, a key account manager works 40 hours per week, usually from 9 am to 5 pm. These working hours may differ when a deadline looms or a crisis has occurred that needs dealing with. This can result in overtime. Note that overtime is not automatically paid by your employers. Make sure that your working contract expressly states the payment of overtime and also specifies how many overtime hours you are expected to work for your employer.

Your working hours might also be influenced by networking events. In some cases, they can be seen as part of your daily workload. Working in the evenings and on the weekends can be a regular occurrence when you work as a key account manager.

Another factor that can add to your weekly working hours can be travelling. This can be the norm when you work for a company with international clients.

Before becoming a key account manager, you should have a good think if those working hours actually work for you.  


Key account managers are needed in pretty much every company, be it a small or medium-sized business or a large corporate company. Depending on your preferences in key account managing, you can start your job hunt in the finance sector, the health sector or in the IT sector. You can also find a job in the service industry as well as in technology and telecommunications.


Depending on your future employer, you will not have to have an academic education. In some cases, an apprenticeship in finance or marketing may suffice. If you decide to approach your career with an academic background, you may want to consider doing a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in business, accounting, sales or marketing.

As a future key account manager, you should also have in-depth skills and qualifications in customer relationship management (CRM), analytics and project management. You should also be familiar with frequently used softwares, such as Adobe Analytics, HubSpot Sales Hub and Zendesk.

The job as a key account manager could be suitable for you if you have one or more of the following qualifications:


In order to be an excellent key account manager, your set of hard skills should be complemented by a set of soft skills. Negotiation and communication skills are top of the list, and we will tell exactly, why that is the case. And without much further ado, we will now take a close look at these two and an additional essential skill for a key account manager.

Is the key account manager job a good fit for you? Typically, a key account manager should have or develop the following skills:

Negotiation skills

As a key account manager, you will deal with contracts, pricing and contract terms. You should never accept those terms and conditions at face value. Instead, you should negotiate conditions that are beneficial to both your company and your clients. Negotiation skills are therefore an essential soft skill to have as a key account manager.

Communication skills

One of the key factors of your job is dealing with clients. Communication skills are therefore vital for performing an excellent job – whether you talk to them in person, on the phone, through email or via a communications platform.

Problem-solving skills

As a key account manager, you will be confronted with glitches. Problem-solving skills are therefore essential for your job. You will need to identify a problem. After that, you need to come up with both a solution for that problem and ways to avoid this problem in the future.

Further useful Skills of a Key Account Manager

Besides the listed skills, a key account manager should also not be afraid to take risks – obviously, with always having done a risk analysis beforehand. Also, a key account manager should not be afraid to challenge the people he or she works with – whether it is the team, the company he or she works for or the clients.

Career Path

Your career path starts with either your apprenticeship or your academic education. If you have chosen the academic approach, you will ideally have done an internship in a chosen company. This can not only give you valuable insights into the job, but also an advantage when applying for a job.

After you have secured your first job, you will start at entry level. By gaining work experience and by performing excellently, you will likely get promoted to a more senior key account manager role. This may eventually result in you becoming either vice president or CEO of the company you are working for.

Educational Background

To become a key account manager, you have two options: pursuing an academic education or doing an apprenticeship. Depending on the company, an academic degree like a Bachelor’s degree might be preferred. We recommend that you check the common educational requirements before you start your training.

Gaining experience

Gaining experience as a key account manager is one of the keys to prosper in this job. Naturally, you will start from scratch when starting your first job as KAM. By working in this job for several years, you will the experience necessary to either get promoted or to start looking for a new challenge at a different company.

Continuous Learning

Stopping to learn means stopping, both on a professional and on a personal level. Unfortunately, this will also put a stop to a potential high-flying career as a key account manager. This is why it is so important to keep on learning. Broaden your knowledge in everything that is relevant for the job of a key account manager, including analytical knowledge, common softwares, client communications and new market trends.

A Day in the Life of a Key Account Manager

You now have the relevant information on how to become a key account manager, who will employ you and what you will likely earn. But what will you be doing all day as a key account manager? Let’s take a look at what a typical day in the life of a key account manager looks like and what tasks are on your daily to-do list.

Account Review

Account review involves communicating with your clients. You discuss their needs and challenges as well as your common goals. You will also need to update them on the services and products of your company. Last, but not least, you should present your clients with new sales opportunities.

Data Analysis

Analysing the relevant data is another important part of your working day. It helps you to identify potential new trends and opportunities. It also gives you valuable insights into the performance of your clients’ accounts, understanding how they work and where they might need readjustments. It therefore also gives you the chance to see which areas need improving – both in the clients’ accounts and in relevant departments in your company.


Prospecting means that you need to take a close look at growth potentials within an existing client account. It also applies to identifying new high-value clients for your company. Furthermore, prospecting involves providing and delegating resources and personnel to projects and clients’ accounts.

Tips for Thriving as a Key Account Manager

You know that continuous learning is an important part of your KAM job description. It is one way to help you thrive in this job and to stay on top of the KAM game. But there are various other ways that will help you thrive as a key account manager. To give you a first starting point, we will now take a closer look at three essential ways on thriving as a key account manager:

  • Cross-departmental collaboration
  • Customizing solutions
  • Feedback loop

Cross-departmental collaboration

As a key account manager, you will need to work closely with other departments in your company. This may include the marketing department as well as the sales department and product development. Establishing a good relationship and rapport with these departments is an important way to thrive as a key account manager.

Customising solutions

No client and connected account is like the other, meaning that each client has specific needs and faces his or her individual challenges. Therefore, you should focus on customising solutions. A sure way of thriving as a key account manager is to develop bespoke solutions and accounts that are just as unique as the clients you are dealing with.

Feedback loop

Feedback is a vital part of your job as key account manager. It involves talking to your clients. Here, you find out if they are satisfied with your services and if not, where room for necessary improvement is. Keeping your clients in the loop is another important tip for thriving as a key account manager.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a key account manager earn?

An entry level key account manager can expect an annual salary of around £33,300. Key account managers with years of work experience usually earn up to £54,300 per year. The overall salary does not only depend on your work experience. It is also influenced by the company’s location, its size and your employer.

What qualifications do I need to become a key account manager?

You can become a key account manager by either getting an academic degree or by doing an apprenticeship. The most common studies and apprenticeships are in finance, marketing and sales. Furthermore, you should have qualifications and skills in analytics and communications. You should also be familiar with the relevant softwares, such as Adobe Analytics, Zendesk and HubSpot Sales Hub.

What is the job of a key account manager? 

As a key account manager, you look after your company’s key clients and their accounts. You make sure that your clients are happy and that their needs are being met. As a key account manager, you also identify new sales and growth opportunities. Furthermore, you ensure that your company and its sales are always ahead of the competition. Being a key account manager also involves cross-functional collaboration, meaning that you have to work closely with other departments in your company.