The primary role of account managers is to manage their assigned accounts. At least that is how it used to be before business changed. But some contractors still feel their account managers should be primarily responsible for just managing accounts. Today, at most successful companies, account managers are doing more to help their companies grow and increase profits. Along with managing their assigned accounts, they are selling additional services to existing clients and bringing in new business. Good account managers are also training crew leaders and operators to increase production and work more efficiently.

Leading the way

Contractors are finding that less is more in terms of their number of employees, and account managers are a good example of this in practice. Quality account managers are leaders, and by coordinating with senior executives they play key roles in business success.

Team effort

Account managers should work with their executive teams to develop new service approaches and processes that streamline operations. Training supervisors to increase the productivity of their crews and complete more jobs each week is another important responsibility of good account managers. Account managers are actually sales people, and in most companies they have quotas and key performance indicators focused on revenue production. In past years, account managers were simply assigned accounts and were told to manage them and be sure nothing went wrong. That was then. Account managers are now more focused on the financial aspects of their positions. Profitability is tied to performance and companies today are relying on their account managers to increase profitable revenue and address less profitable accounts by improving performance.

Promoting safe practices

More property managers and building owners are asking for safety records in awarding contracts. Property managers insist that safe practices are followed by everyone on their properties. Account managers must continually review their job sites with eyes on safety and ensure all employees understand the importance of safe operations. Safety issues and accidents can be very costly for their companies; besides increasing insurance costs, on-the-job accidents can cause contract cancellations. Account managers should cooperate with safety directors and set up regular safety training sessions.

Always selling

Satisfied clients are the best references, so account managers must be sure their crews provide services that exceed client expectations. Property managers talk, and good service is always noticed.

Reviewing the troops

Account managers should schedule regular reviews for crew leaders and coach them to perform to higher levels. Open discussions of expectations, tutoring crew leaders to accomplish better results and pointing out exceptional results should be on performance-review agendas.

Moving on up

Because account managers interact with clients and employees, they already have the key ingredients for accepting more responsibility.

COVER PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO