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Customer Success vs. Account Management: 5 Factors That Differentiate Them

Customer success vs. account management: What’s the difference? 

Customer success focuses on ensuring the client receives the desired results and is satisfied with the product or service. On the other hand, account management entails maintaining the connection with the client, addressing their demands and concerns, and discovering opportunities for upselling or cross-selling.

Many professionals use the phrases “customer success” and “account management” interchangeably, which causes misunderstanding. Grasping the contrasts between these two responsibilities is critical if you’re seeking to create excellent customer experiences while driving long-term success.

While both roles are essential for sustaining a large client base and fostering corporate expansion, they take significantly different approaches to managing customer relationships. So, what’s the difference between customer success and account management? That’s what we are here to answer.

Keep reading to learn about the following topics: 

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What is customer success?

Customer success is a proactive strategy to ensure consumers get the results they expect from your company’s products or services. It entails comprehending the clients’ objectives and assisting them in overcoming any obstacles to their achievement.

What is the primary role of customer success teams?

Customer success teams frequently engage with clients throughout their journey — from onboarding to ongoing support — and are committed to developing trusting connections and enhancing customer happiness. Customer success aims to create happy, loyal clients who continue to utilize the company’s products and services while acting as brand ambassadors.

What is account management? 

Account management is a deliberate strategy for maintaining and cultivating essential client relationships. It entails taking a proactive, individualized approach to discovering and satisfying each customer’s demands and ensuring they get the most out of the company’s goods or services.

What is the primary role of account managers?

Account managers are responsible for finding growth possibilities, handling problems or challenges, and acting as the client’s primary point of contact. They collaborate closely with cross-functional teams — sales, marketing, and customer success — to achieve client objectives and exceed expectations. Overall, account management is essential for promoting client loyalty and happiness

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Customer success vs. account management

Customer success ensures consumers accomplish their intended results and get the most out of a product or service. It entails some of the following duties:

  • Understanding the customer’s goals
  • Guiding clients through the onboarding and adoption processes
  • Continuously providing support and resources to help customers succeed

Conversely, account management primarily focuses on establishing and maintaining connections with current clients to promote revenue development and customer satisfaction. It concerns the total administration of client accounts, which includes:

  • Identifying opportunities for growth
  • Addressing any issues or concerns
  • Serving as the main point of contact for the customer

While both positions center on the client, customer success is more strategic and proactive with the customer’s feelings, and account management is more reactive and concentrated on day-to-day activities. 

5 factors that make customer success different from account management

So, what makes customer success and account management different? Here are five factors that set the two apart:

  1. Focus
  2. Proactivity
  3. Metrics
  4. Collaboration
  5. Skills

1. Focus

Customer success ensures customers get the desired results and use the product or service effectively. This approach entails comprehending their demands and goals and adjusting methods and solutions to satisfy them.

Conversely, account management concentrates more on overseeing and upholding client relationships, usually with a broader scope, including upselling and cross-selling

2. Proactivity

Customer success teams are proactive in spotting possible difficulties or obstacles that clients may experience and taking action to fix them before they worsen. This strategy involves closely monitoring client usage and engagement statistics and providing proactive advice.

On the other hand, account managers tend to be more receptive. Typically, they don’t act unless the client expresses a worry or problem. Account managers offer support and assistance but don’t actively look for methods to enhance the client’s experience or avert issues from arising in the first place.

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3. Metrics

The distinction between customer success managers and account managers lies in their approach to metrics. We’ve already stated that customer success managers put a lot of effort into gathering and analyzing information on customer usage and engagement to understand their customers’ behavior and pinpoint areas for development. 

To assess the overall health of the customer relationship, they track key metrics such as: 

These metrics offer insightful information about how well the team meets the customer’s needs and expectations, and they can point out areas for development.

In contrast, account managers may place a greater emphasis on tracking client retention and engagement. They might monitor metrics such as: 

These indicators aid account managers in determining how valuable a client is over the long run, formulating plans to keep customers loyal, and cutting down on turnover. 

Account managers may also review client comments, follow up often to guarantee continuous satisfaction, and quickly resolve any problems.

4. Collaboration

To achieve a smooth customer experience, customer success teams frequently work with other corporate departments, including sales, marketing, and product development. Together, they seek out areas for growth and put up strategies to raise client satisfaction.

Account managers, on the other hand, typically work with the allocated clients to handle specific problems or challenges and offer specialized support. This relationship entails frequent meetings and communication to understand the aims and difficulties of the client. 

Account managers also work with many departments to give clients the best available solutions as the primary point of contact.

5. Skills

Both customer success teams and account managers need a specific skillset to perform their jobs well. Customer success teams are equipped with the following:

  • Strong communication skills to interact with customers and comprehend their needs
  • Analytical skills to identify patterns and trends in customer data so they can proactively handle potential issues
  • Cross-functional team coordination and project management abilities to lead initiatives that enhance the overall customer experience

On the other hand, account managers have:

  • Excellent interpersonal skills to establish rapport and trust with their assigned clients
  • A thorough understanding of the company’s product or service to effectively convey its benefits and respond to any customer queries or concerns
  • Firm conflict resolution and negotiation skills to handle complex customer relationships
  • Cross-selling and upselling skills to achieve revenue growth and customer retention

How do customer success teams and account managers work together?

Customer success teams and account managers collaborate to guarantee customers a smooth and positive experience throughout their relationship with a firm. They all contribute different skills and duties, even if their positions occasionally overlap. Here’s how customer success teams and account managers collaborate:

Developing a seamless communication channel

Customer success teams and account managers collaborate to maintain an open line of communication to express and meet client requirements and expectations. This approach entails frequent conferences, email updates, or client relationship management tools.

Collaborating on customer onboarding and training

Account managers and customer success teams frequently work together to ensure new clients have a seamless onboarding experience. Customer success teams give experience in product usage and training, while account managers offer valuable insights into clients’ needs.

Coordinating proactive customer engagement

Managers coordinate proactive customer engagement tactics by combining their awareness of the client’s business objectives and the product’s functioning. This entails regularly contacting consumers to inform them of new features, conducting training sessions, and collecting feedback on their product interactions.

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Customer success vs. account management: Which can WebFX tackle for your business?

WebFX recognizes the value of account management and customer success in promoting company expansion and preserving long-lasting client relationships. You will see notable advancements from using our digital marketing services in both areas.

Your clients will be happy and devoted to your brand because of the excellent customer success techniques provided by our team of professionals. We thrive on maintaining client relationships to optimize their worth and promote your company’s long-term development.

Sounds like we might be a good fit? Contact us online or call 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist!

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