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Navigating Sales Hires: Account Managers or Business Development Managers?.

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Navigating Sales Hires: Account Managers or Business Development Managers?

In the competitive world of sales, the success of a business often hinges on the strengths and skills of its team. When it comes to expanding your sales force, a critical decision awaits: should you hire an Account Manager or a Business Development Manager? This isn’t just about filling a job title; it’s about understanding the unique roles each plays in your business’s growth and customer relationships. Here, we break down the essential traits, responsibilities, and motivations of these two vital positions in a straightforward, professional manner, helping you make a well-informed hiring decision that aligns with your business’s goals and culture.

When considering sales hires for your business, the choice between an Account Manager and a Business Development Manager is crucial, as these roles cater to different aspects of the sales process and require distinct skill sets and personalities.

Account Managers

Account Managers are often likened to “farmers.” Their primary role is to maintain and develop existing client relationships. They focus on upselling and cross-selling to clients assigned to them, and their interactions tend to be regular and ongoing with the same set of clients. Account Managers need to be strong communicators and customer-oriented, possessing patience and an acute understanding of business trends and customer needs. Their role involves managing the post-sale process, which includes project management, negotiation, and strategic planning. They are critical in ensuring customer satisfaction and loyalty, and often work with internal teams like Customer Service and Product Development to enhance the overall customer experience.

Business Development Managers

Business Development Managers, on the other hand, are considered “hunters.” They are responsible for acquiring new clients and thus, focus on identifying new markets, services, or product offerings. Their work involves a lot of networking, cold calling, and market research. Business Development Managers are expected to be proactive, have great people skills, and excel in setting goals and developing strategies to achieve them. They create and nurture new business relationships and are involved in high-level negotiations for partnerships and collaborations.

Both roles have their unique challenges and rewards, and the choice between them depends on your company’s needs. If your focus is on expanding your client base and exploring new markets, a Business Development Manager would be the ideal choice. However, if you’re looking to strengthen and grow existing client relationships, an Account Manager would be more suitable.

In terms of personality, Business Development Managers are often more aggressive and proactive in seeking new opportunities, whereas Account Managers excel in nurturing and growing existing relationships. Regarding incentives, both roles are likely compensated with some form of commission structure, although this can vary depending on the industry. In some cases, Business Development Managers might work on a performance-based or commission-only structure.

Ultimately, the success of your sales team depends on a balanced mix of these roles. While Business Development Managers help in growing the client base, Account Managers play a crucial role in retaining these clients and exploring further opportunities within existing relationships. Therefore, understanding the distinct roles and characteristics of each position is key to making an informed hiring decision that aligns with your business objectives and growth strategies.

Hi, my name is Liam sanders and i am the managing director of swiftree.

I am an experienced B2B sales leader, Chief Revenue Officer (CRO), and strategy consultant with over 10 years of global experience, specialising in business consulting for Fortune 500 companies. I offer both fractional and project-based support to drive sales and strategic initiatives for global clients.

Liam Sanders, Founder of Swiftree Growth and Sales Consultant

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