To be an effective account manager, you need a variety of skills and technical knowledge. Being up-to-date with best practices and the latest expert advice can help you stay on top of your game.
Whether you’re just looking to upskill or transitioning into an account-based role, the best account management resources can give you the tools you need to succeed.
In this article, we’ll cover some of the best learning resources for account managers. From blogs to courses, podcasts and books, there’s something for managers of every level and learning style.
Account management involves using long-term strategies to nurture and manage key customers. The goal is to maximize customer retention and lifetime value by building strong customer relations and discovering upsell opportunities.
Rather than treating sales as a one-time deal, an account manager’s role is to find opportunities to guarantee future business with customers. This involves acting as a reliable contact point, solving customer problems and building rapport.
To be effective, an account manager needs several hard and soft skills, including:
Excellent communication and people skills
Detailed knowledge of relationship-building techniques
Strong leadership capabilities and business acumen
A good understanding of customer needs, wants and problems
Luckily, there are plenty of resources available that can help new and experienced account managers take their game to the next level.
Here are some of the best learning assets out there, from websites to training courses.
There are stacks of sales blogs on the internet. However, like all resources on the internet, it can take a while to find the real gems. That’s why we’ve done the hard work for you.
The following list of websites represents some of the best, freely accessible learning material out there.
Best for: In-depth practical guides, informative articles and training resources.
Pipedrive is a platform made for salespeople by salespeople. We’ve put together an extensive blog with hundreds of articles covering every topic under sales, marketing, account management, project management, business technology, management, customers and more.
In addition to this, we have the Pipedrive Academy – a training resource that helps salespeople hone their management and sales skills. In the Academy, you’ll find a series of courses, video tutorials and webinars designed to help you get the most out of every customer interaction.
Between these two resources, you have everything you need to learn the ins and outs of sales.
Must read: What is account management? A definition and breakdown
Best for: Industry insights and current trends.
The RAIN Group is one of the top sales training companies in the world. It has been named in both Selling Power and Training Industry’s Top 20 Sales Training Companies and has won several awards for its sales coaching services.
This long-lasting expertise is reflected in the RAIN Group Sales Blog, one of the most well-rounded resources for account managers. This blog is full of effective articles on strategic account management, sales management and almost every other sales category you could imagine.
Even better, it provides white papers, research and key industry insights for strategic account managers. For example, the company released a report investigating what the top-performing sales organizations are doing that separates them from the crowd. This cutting-edge data can help account managers and other salespeople boost their performance in the field.
Must read: What makes for successful strategic account management?
Best for: Easy-to-read beginner material in both written and video format.
Account Management Skills is a training organization targeted at agency account handlers. The company began as a blog written by Jenny Plant. Her goal was to provide others with the expertise and knowledge she’d acquired in the field, and her website quickly expanded into a well-rounded blog, podcast and training program for account managers.
The Account Management Skills blog is focused on all things account management. Each post is well-executed and aims to provide account managers with the support and insight they may be lacking in their position.
A unique thing Jenny does is post short excerpts from her podcast and video interviews to her YouTube channel. These videos add valuable insights from her students and colleagues to her already informative blog posts.
Must read: 10 essential skills for account managers
Best for: Deep guides for experienced account managers.
Kapta provides software that helps managers improve key account management relationship management via a cloud-based platform. The company works alongside its clients to develop key account management strategies and streamline their workflows to improve performance.
Kapta is one of the most consistent and comprehensive resources available online. For years, the Kapta blog has published a new article every week.
Because of this, you can be sure to receive decades worth of knowledge as well as recent industry trends. The Kapta blog is bursting with information, from short advice pieces to deep dives, answering any and every question you might have as an account manager.
Must read: The missing link in strategic account management
Best for: A massive range of diverse learning material.
Sales Hacker is more than just a blog. It provides a range of resources including in-depth articles, podcasts, expert-led sales videos and a forum for like-minded salespeople.
The Sales Hacker website broadly focuses on all things sales, but it doesn’t neglect account management.
Searching account management returns hundreds of articles and dozens of videos specifically catered to account managers. There are also multiple webinars and podcast episodes designed to help new account managers build the skills they need for success.
Must read: Top 3 strategies to land and expand with account heirarchies
Sometimes, self-guided learning simply isn’t enough. Whether it’s changing customer preferences or disruptive technologies, it can be hard to keep up. Account management and sales courses can help you navigate these changes and hone your team’s skills.
These courses differ substantially in content, availability and pricing, so take some time to consider your personal needs and budget before signing up.
Here are four of the best account management courses to consider:
The Large Account Management Process is a prominent account management methodology invented by the Miller Heiman Group. The approach provides a detailed structure for major account managers to plan and manage relationships with high-value strategic accounts.
In this course, you’ll learn how to:
Gather critical sales data to understand prospects, customers and competitors
Identify the main players, opportunities and market trends that will help your business succeed
Segment and bundle accounts into easy-to-handle groups
Discover sales objectives, information and actions you need to take to implement your plan
While many of the core concepts of the LAMP process have been debated over the years, it remains a highly effective process for account management.
We’ve already mentioned the RAIN Group’s blog, but that isn’t all the company provides. The RAIN Group delivers several sales training programs covering every facet of sales. RAIN is one of the most highly regarded sales organizations and its sales courses are held in high esteem.
When it comes to account management, RAIN Group offers the Strategic and Key Account Management training course. In this modular course, you’ll learn how to:
Grow strategic accounts and deepen customer relationships
Analyze key stakeholders to discover decision-makers
Select key accounts for high-value pursuits
Use value chain analysis to research accounts, discover new opportunities and ensure account success
Each module is self-contained, including study material, a collaborative classroom session, assignments and sales coaching.
SAMA delivers a training curriculum focused on the skills and strategies needed to manage key accounts. It has a variety of certification programs and online training options for individuals and teams alike.
To begin, you have to complete an Individual Competency Assessment. This helps SAMA work out how experienced you are and what areas you may need to be trained in. The organizers then use these insights to create a highly individualized training program focused on your strengths and weaknesses.
Some of the programs SAMA provides include:
SAMA Academy/Training. Offered as in-person, live online or self-led online workshops several times a year. These focus on skill-building for strategic account managers in areas that have been shown to lead to better business results.
Strategic Account Manager Certification (CSAM). SAMA’s CSAM program is aimed at creating the highest benchmark for strategic account managers. The CSAM program is available as a public course or internal, private training program.
Customized account management programs. In addition to its main courses, SAMA can also connect you with experts and practitioners to help deliver the SAMA methodology to your team in a personalized manner.
Account managers today have more to do than ever before. They have to manage hundreds of accounts, monitor client retention and drive growth. To address this, Factor8 has put together a three-tier training program that gives account managers tried and tested tactics to help manage their time.
The three levels of Factor8’s training program are:
Level 1: Expand the Base. The goal of Level 1 is to increase your conversations and fill your sales pipeline. Understand the goals of account management and learn strategies that drive account growth. Learn how to find new contacts and leverage existing customers for networking opportunities.
Level 2: Get What’s Yours. In Level 2, learn how to identify cross-sell and upsell opportunities. Understand where a customer’s value lies and how to identify the accounts that have the highest growth potential.
Level 3: Watch It Grow. Level 3 is about growing your account base and improving sales forecasting. Learn how to overcome objections and reactivate upset accounts. This part of the training will also provide strategic time management, territory management and pipeline management strategies.
Factor8’s sales training is given virtually in an interactive environment. Beyond account management, the company also provides sales training and sales management courses.
If you prefer to learn by listening rather than reading, an account management podcast might be the best choice for you. Here are the four best podcasts to listen to if you want to learn more about account management or just stay up-to-date with the current best practices.
Best for: Advice for organizations and agencies shifting to account-based sales.
The Happy Clients Podcast is brought to you by Dot & Company, a client account management company for digital marketing agencies. The podcast is focused on providing client services and experiences that keep your customers satisfied.
With well over 100 episodes, this podcast is packed with vital information for account managers. To give you an idea of the topics covered, some of the most popular episodes include:
How an account manager can be a profit center vs. a cost center
The episodes are usually short and punchy, ranging from a brief five minutes all the way to 30 for more technical topics. If you’re just looking for a quick answer or you need sound advice from an expert consultancy, we recommend giving The Happy Clients Podcast a go.
Best for: New account managers who need to learn the ropes.
Produced by Fred Fuller and John Brown of Fuller Brown Consulting, this podcast is aimed at brand-new account (or client) managers. So far, there are 21 episodes covering the fundamentals of account management. Topics include:
The good thing about this podcast is that Fred and John cover topics that usually go overlooked. For example, they explain things like how to build an account management team and how to travel as an account manager. These topics are invaluable for someone who’s just taking their first steps in the world of account management.
Best for: Account managers who want practical tips to stay in top form.
The KAM Club Podcast is hosted by Warwick Brown, a well-known key account management consultant and coach. There’s usually a new episode every week discussing the practical “tools, tips and tactics” that account managers can use to build a successful career.
There are 26 episodes to date, with each providing essential tips for both beginner and experienced account managers. Some key episodes include:
The importance of co-creating value with every strategic customer
The importance of co-creating value with every strategic customer
25 problems that stop key account managers from doing their job
Best for: Account managers who want industry insights from a range of professional interviews.
Hosted by Jenny Plant, the creator of the Account Management Skills blog, the Creative Agency Account Manager podcast is an underrated gem for account managers. With 82 episodes, each around 30 minutes long, there’s a stack of value waiting to be uncovered.
The goal of the podcast is to:
Share insights and tips to add more value to your client’s business
Learn to treat client relationships like partnerships
Strengthen relationships with customers
Develop your account management and sales skills
Grow your own business or career
While Jenny often hosts the podcast’s episodes, she also features experienced account managers to deliver others, like:
While short articles and podcasts can give you account management strategies in a nutshell, books can give you a much deeper understanding. With more pages to play with, skilled authors can distill complicated topics into easy-to-understand tactics that you can use to excel.
Here are some of the best account management books available today:
This is one of the seminal works in account management, written by Robert B. Miller, Stephen E. Heiman and Tad Tuleja of the Miller Heiman Group.
The book focuses on why it’s so important to target key accounts and how you can do so. It’s full of real-world examples, success stories and sales tactics that you can use to develop a dynamic approach to account planning.
The New Successful Large Account Management is the perfect accompaniment to the Miller Heiman Group’s LAMP training, discussed above. It takes a deep dive into how to apply the LAMP sales process to maximize the profitability of your customers.
Mastering Account Management provides a sales strategy that companies can use to work out which accounts are likely to be most profitable and target them effectively.
The author Dan Englander is an expert account management consultant. He has spent decades analyzing what actions guarantee repeat business from key accounts – and this book is full of his findings.
Finally, the book also provides actionable advice to leverage technology (like CRM software) and streamline their account management processes.
Perfect for salespeople just transitioning to an account management role, Key Account Management and Planning is a comprehensive guide to key account management.
In this book, you’ll learn everything from why account management is vital to how to become a more effective sales manager. Key Account Management and Planning contains real-life examples and thorough step-by-step guides for every account management initiative.
To add to its credibility, the book is written by Noel Capon, a Professor at the Colombia Business School and one of the top sales educators in the world.
Account management is an incredibly diverse field, and professionals need to access a variety of materials if they want to excel. Use the resources we’ve listed in this article to take your sales game to the next level.
From free, easy-to-access resources like sales blogs and podcasts, to more in-depth books and extensive training courses, there’s something for everyone.
Start or continue the conversation with like-minded sales and marketing professionals on our Community.Join our Community
Confused about contact management? In this post, you’ll learn everything you need to know, from a contact management definition to how to succeed with a CRM.
Siloed teams that don’t freely share data with other departments can negatively impact projects. Learn how to integrate teams and create a unified workforce.