April 23, 2020
The roles and responsibilities of a developer and project manager are pretty well established and rather straightforward—one builds software, the other ensures that project work goes as planned.
Account managers, however, are tasked with a range of responsibilities that aren’t necessarily all that obvious. So what does an account manager in a software development company do? And what can you expect from them when working together on a software project? Let’s take a closer look.
An account manager (AM) acts as a sort of intermediary between nearly all departments inside a software development company. Account managers ensure that the client receives individually tailored products, information, and support, based on an in-depth understanding of the client’s business and expectations.
The role of an account manager, therefore, is to help teams from different departments adjust operations so that the result of their work meets the client’s needs.
"I’m responsible for making sure your business needs are met. I'm involved mostly in high-level business discussions while everyday development work is being coordinated by a project manager.”Joanna Trochimiuk Account Manager
We hired our first account manager only in 2017—yup, we managed to go without one for seven years. But because we wanted to grow and strengthen our existing client relationships, we ultimately acknowledged that hiring an experienced account manager was the only way to do it. And we’re happy to report that the addition has yielded only favorable outcomes on both ends.
In the early stages of working with a software company, you mostly talk to sales executives and business analysts to define project scope, discuss estimated costs and, eventually, to close the deal. But then, right after the ink dries on the contract, an account manager steps into action alongside the project manager, to take charge of the relationship and your collaboration.
Isn’t a project manager enough, you may ask? Well, in this case it’s not a question of what’s enough, but rather what’s best. And according to our experience, the best approach to software development projects usually involves project and account managers working in tandem.
How do they complement one another?
Because we want a Project Manager to focus on delivering value to the customer - understood by the best product within a timeline and budget - the Account Manager can take care of the business context. This role is given to any client and is non-billable.
The main responsibilities of a project manager include setting up and leading project teams as per client requirements, organizing project workflow, and taking ownership of project budget, scheduling, and delivery. The specific scope of an account manager’s responsibilities might slightly differ depending on company size, maturity, and structure, so let’s focus on what you get when working with Monterail.
Here’s what our account manager does for you in the course (and after) of our cooperation:
But above all, account managers are responsible for building strong and long-lasting business relationships.
They help companies foster and maintain lasting business relationships based on trust and understanding. One of the main ingredients of successful long-term business partnerships is high-level collaboration between account managers and clients. The client has to trust the account manager and recognize that the services and products the software development company offers can improve and optimize their own operations. Good account managers, meanwhile, correctly identify client needs and expectations and then oversee the development process so that the software solutions address all of them—and often deliver more.
The account manager is, at once, your go-to person, your advocate inside Monterail, and Monterail's advocate with you.