Learn About Being an Account Representative

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published December 10, 2019

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

What does an account representative do?

An account representative serves as the primary contact between clients and their company. Account representatives maintain existing customer accounts while also working to create new accounts. Key responsibilities of an account representative typically include: 

  • Familiarizing yourself with all current company accounts

  • Communicating with clients and resolving client issues or complaints

  • Monitoring company and business email, messages and other communication systems and promptly responding to clients

  • Creating and distributing invoices and recording all transactions relating to client payments

  • Auditing all client files quarterly to maintain accurate record-keeping

  • Collaborating internally across multiple company departments including marketing, accounting and management

  • Prospecting, making presentations and closing sales on new client accounts and continuing to service the accounts after the sale

  • Up-selling and cross-selling additional products and services to existing clients

Your specific responsibilities as an account representative will vary based on the industry you are in.

Average salary

Most account representatives are full-time employees, although some may work part-time or as temporary employees. Salaries for account representatives vary depending on their level of education and relevant work experience, the employer’s industry, company size and geographical location. Account representatives may earn additional compensation in the form of commissions or bonuses. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the salary link.

  • Common salary in the U.S.: $49,240 per year

  • Some salaries range between $22,918 to $88,532 per year.

Account representative requirements

Securing a position as an account representative may involve certain requirements depending on the level of the job you’re applying for, including: 

Education

Entry-level account representatives should have a minimum of a high-school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate. Some positions prefer a bachelor’s degree or a commensurate level of experience, often depending on the industry. Candidates may possess degrees in a variety of majors, including but not limited to, business, marketing or communications. Certain employers may prefer university education in industry-specific disciplines that better prepare their account representatives for specific industry challenges.

Training

Many account representatives learn the specific skills and technology related to their role and industry while on the job. This training is often part of the onboarding process when you begin with a new company. On-the-job training may last from a few weeks to a month. Training often includes a period of shadowing current account representatives and performing duties in your role under direct supervision until you are comfortable enough to complete your responsibilities on your own. Some industries and companies also offer continuing learning opportunities for employees.

Certifications

Certifications allow you to prove your skills and qualifications to current and potential employers. Account representatives can earn certifications to gain additional knowledge about their responsibilities and further their career advancement opportunities. Popular certifications for account representatives include:

Sales certifications

There are several different sales certification programs available to choose from. The one that is right for you varies based on the industry you are working in and your employer’s personal preferences. Popular sales certifications include, but are not limited to, Certified Inside Sales Professional (CISP), Certified Professional Sales Person (CPSP), RISE Up sales certifications, the Consultative Sales Certification (CSC) and the Certified Professional Salesperson (SCPS).

Project Management Professional (PMP) certification

Account representatives looking to advance their careers into account management roles can benefit from the Project Management Professional certification. The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers this certification and requires a combination of 35 hours of project management education and 7,500 hours leading and directing projects.

Software certifications

Having certifications in the software products commonly used within the role of an account representative can be beneficial in being chosen for the role and advancement opportunities. One such certification is the Salesforce certification which is offered directly through Salesforce’s online program. Salesforce is one of the most popular CRM systems used across a variety of industries. Other popular software certifications are the Microsoft Office certifications. Microsoft offers multiple certification options through its online learning program.

Account representatives may also need industry-specific certifications such as the Patient Account Representative Certification for the healthcare industry.

Skills

Account representatives need a combination of several hard and soft skills to succeed in their role. Some of the most common account representative skills required include: 

Marketing

Marketing skills include strong overall communication skills, an understanding of inbound marketing campaigns, a basic understanding of buyer needs and the sales process, the ability to sell an idea through storytelling, teamwork and negotiation skills. Many companies will require a minimum of three-plus years of experience in marketing. Account representatives use these skills to identify client needs and add new accounts to the business. 

Sales

These skills include the ability to prospect, pitch and close new clients. Prospecting may be in the form of cold calls, inbound warm leads and door-knocking depending on the industry. You can show sales skills through proven experience as an account representative, call center sales associate or other sales roles. Account representatives use these skills to expand their book of accounts and grow the company. 

Customer service

Account representatives resolve client complaints and issues, which requires strong customer service skills. Customer service skills include the ability to empathetically recognize and understand the needs of the client and come up with creative solutions to resolve their concerns. 

Communication

One of the primary responsibilities of an account representative is to serve as the primary point of contact between clients and the company. This means an account representative must have both excellent written and verbal communication skills. Account representatives may be in contact with their clients via phone conversations, email, instant messenger and in-person. 

Organization

This skill involves the ability to simplify complex tasks and create order within the workplace. Account representatives use organizational skills to maintain accurate client records and ensure they meet all the needs of their clients. 

Problem-solving

These skills include the ability to identify issues, understand each party's interests, identify multiple solution options, compare solutions and choose the best solution to resolve the issue. Account representatives need strong problem-solving skills to resolve issues that arise with existing clients and to overcome objections posed by prospective new clients during the sales process. 

Accounting

Account representatives are often responsible for creating and distributing invoices and keeping accurate records regarding client payments. Basic accounting skills are necessary to perform these job duties. 

Multitasking

Account representatives are often responsible for nearly all aspects of maintaining long-lasting client relationships. The ability to multi-task between creating new accounts and managing existing client accounts, often in a fast-paced environment, is an essential role of an account representative. 

Computer and technology

Many account representative roles require you to be proficient in the Microsoft Office Suite of products and have the ability to type a minimum of 50 wpm (words per minute). Your company may have additional software you will need to become proficient in such as a CRM.

Account representative work environment

Account representatives typically work in an office setting but may also occasionally meet clients outside of the office. As an account representative, your job duties may require the ability to sit at a desk for extended periods and using standard office equipment such as computers, printers and fax machines. Industries that often hire account representatives include sales, marketing, healthcare and financial institutions. Many account representatives work a standard full-time schedule between 8 AM and 5 PM, however, schedules may vary depending on the industry your role is in and the needs of your clients.

How to become an account representative

Account representatives are often entry-level professionals who are recent graduates. Follow these steps to become an account representative: 

1. Pursue a degree.

Employers often hire account representatives as recent graduates from high school or college. Some companies and industries prefer or require a bachelor’s degree in marketing, communications or another related field. College-level courses teach the fundamental business skills that account representatives need such as sales, negotiation, customer service and problem-solving. If you want to become an account representative, research the industry you want to target for your career and then pursue the appropriate degree for that specific field.  

2. Gain experience.

While an account representative is an entry-level position, many account representatives remain in their position or with their company for a long time. One of the main responsibilities of an account representative is to foster long-lasting relationships with clients and to manage those client relationships on an on-going basis. A great way to gain experience as an account representative is through an internship role while you are in school.

3. Earn certifications.

Certifications can help you prove your skills and abilities to a potential employer and stand out among the competition. If you want to be an account representative in the healthcare industry, they may require you to become a Certified Patient Account Representative. 

4. Develop your soft skills.

Soft skills are necessary for almost every responsibility an account representative has. Soft skills include skills such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, flexibility, leadership, time management, social and emotional intelligence and organization. Taking the time to further develop your soft skills shows an interest in personal growth and development and will help you stand out to potential employers. 

Account representative job description example

Our busy marketing agency is seeking an account representative to join our growing team. We’re looking for someone who is creative and organized and understands the value of results-driven customer service. The ideal candidate will be energetic, able to multi-task, driven by success and possess excellent written and verbal communication skills. The successful candidate will be responsible for all client communications, conducting brainstorming sessions with our marketing team, communicating results of campaigns verbally and in monthly reports, and processing client complaints or concerns. The successful candidate will also manage the administrative side of our client accounts and make outbound sales calls and attend local networking events to generate leads. The goal of our account representatives is to foster long-lasting client relationships and help grow our business. We offer a competitive salary, bonus structure and benefits for the right candidate.

Related careers

  • Sales associate

  • Customer service associate

  • Account manager

  • Account executive

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