Have you ever wondered what the difference between account management and project management is? Understanding what makes each role unique will help you hire the right person and avoid hiring mistakes.

Account management

When you’re in charge of account management, you typically interacting with clients. This is a client-facing role that’s done via email, on the phone, or during in-person meetings. Account management typically means you’re good at upselling clients, and ensuring the team delivers what the client needs.

Account management frequently focuses on client satisfaction, and therefore often needs a project manager to balance out this role and ensure the clients are happy while the business still runs profitably and efficiently.

Project Management

When you’re handling project management, you need to juggle internal teams, budgets, and business goals to achieve efficiency. Project managers are typically more focused on deadlines and the feasibility of getting projects done, versus the possibilities.

Project management is frequently organized with the use of a PM tool, such as Trello or Basecamp. A project manager ensures that tasks get done on time, on budget, and correctly.

Balance both or combine?

Some businesses combine the project manager and account manager roles. They may seem similar in that they both handle deliverables, but these roles are innately different. If you’re just starting out and in a pinch, hiring one person to take on both roles is understandable, but you’ll have to screen for an excellent candidate.

A project manager makes sure your business operates efficiently, and all the pieces work together and run smoothly. He or she coordinates your business, profitability, deliverables, and makers (the people who create the work, such as writers, developers, and designers).

However, without the strategy and foresight of an account manager, you may not have much business for a project manager to manage. An account manager understands the projects, but his or her main job is to sell to the client. Account managers must have the foresight to predict what a client needs even before the client realizes, then make sure they go with your business.

A PM focuses on efficiency and feasibility, and an AM focuses on opportunity and possibility. It’s best to hire these two separate roles for your team accordingly.

About the Author: Jocelyn Pick