In part one of our two-part series on the benefits of adding an account manager (AM), we discussed how AMs improve long-term customer retention by getting to know clients more thoroughly and providing a post-sale point of contact for any follow-up questions, concerns, or upgrades. But depending on your business’s scale and your customer’s needs, two types of account managers may be needed: a Technical Account Manager (TAM) and a Client Account Manager (CAM).
Here, we’ll examine these two types of account managers and the specific way that each one of them fits into your organizational structure.
CAM vs. TAM. WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES?
Most companies structure account management by differentiating between two types of account managers; The Client Account Manager (CAM) and the Technical Account Manager (TAM). Depending on the structure of the organization, a Client Account Manager may also be referred to as a Client or Customer Success Manager (CSM) and a Technical Account Manager could be referred to as a Virtual Chief Information Officer (VCIO).
Though these terms may denote a slight shift in responsibilities, these roles are typically defined as follows:
Client Account Manager or Client Success Manager (CAM/CSM)– A CAM/CSM takes on most of the responsibilities we mentioned in part one of our articles. They are concerned with macro-level customer satisfaction efforts, matching services with long-term customer goals, and developing healthy relationships with business leaders. They proactively seek opportunities for upselling, subscription renewals, and future partnerships. The CAM/CSM should have a comprehensive understanding of the client’s business as a whole and handle the people and marketing side of the customer equation.
Technical Account Manager (TAM) or Virtual Chief Information Officer (VCIO) – A TAM/VCIO focuses their efforts on micro-level operational customer satisfaction efforts, such as making sure clients are maximizing the benefits of the services they purchase and offering technological road mapping to forecast industry-specific technological trends and plan accordingly. They are proactive in offering recommendations based on data and research and seek to make sure the client will be consistently satisfied with their investment. TAMs or VCIOs are more technical and should have an in-depth understanding of the intricate details of their client’s day-to-day operations.
WHO NEEDS TWO TYPES OF ACCOUNT MANAGERS?
Customer satisfaction and retention may require two separate skill sets depending on the type of business you run, the scale of the companies you are selling to, and the number of accounts you are attempting to service.
To figure out if you might need two separate account managers, examine the following factors:
- Type of services you offer – Companies that offer services that are easy to utilize and implement might be okay with just one account manager. If your services require a good amount of guidance or troubleshooting, your account manager might be stretched thin in attempting to meet your client’s daily needs and ensure they are satisfied with their products or services.
- The type of customers you service – If your customers are super familiar with the services you offer and don’t need much long-term guidance, you might only need one account manager. If you sell to customers that are much less knowledgeable about the products and services you offer than you are, you may need two.
- The scale of your business – If your business is large and you are servicing a myriad of clients simultaneously, your account manager may find it challenging to stay up to speed with every aspect of your clients businesses.
- The scale of your customers’ business – Servicing more prominent companies who are implementing several services at once or on a large scale could also stretch your account manager’s resources thin, requiring you to add another.
Ultimately, whether you need one or both types of account managers will come down to how your specific organization is structured and the type and amount of attention your clients require. If you have specific questions about how to assess the amount and types of account managers you might need, feel free to reach out to OSR Manage today, and we’ll be happy to assist you in determining the proper structure.