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I struggle a lot with account management, I often find myself being pushed about by the client. I have been trying to improve this, but I feel as though I am not getting anywhere. I keep on caving in.

I can deliver work on time and in budget. I excel at this. I excel at working with internal teams to get work delivered, inspiring and motivating them.

Do I need strong account management skills to excel as a PM?

  • Would types of skills or tools would you classify as being more "account management" than project management? – JennieK_NS Feb 24 '17 at 13:13
  • Directly interacting with the client, instead of just focusing on managing a team internally with an account manager doing the former. – bobo2000 Feb 24 '17 at 15:21
  • So you're thinking more the sales side of customer communication? Because all project management requires communication with a client at some level. – JennieK_NS Feb 24 '17 at 16:46
  • I mean only communicating with the client if I absolutely have too, where the first point of contact would be somebody else i.e. an account manager who deals with their day to day queries. Is this what account managers do? – bobo2000 Feb 24 '17 at 20:49
  • Yes and no. Account managers and project managers do have different roles, but the one thing that they share is a need for strong communication skills. – JennieK_NS Feb 25 '17 at 20:36
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TL;DR

If you are struggling with something, part of your job is to ask for more resources. If customer or stakeholder management are problem areas for you, then asking the organization for dedicated resources to manage those things for your project is perfectly reasonable. Whether or not those resources are allocated will determine whether or not you can remain effective on the project.

Analysis and Recommendations

Do I need strong account management skills to excel as a PM?

Not necessarily, but they do help. However, you probably need them if you plan to stay at your current job, especially if leadership can't or won't assign the necessary support resources to cover any gaps in your core capabilities.

While skills can be learned, personality and aptitude are largely ingrained. If your current job requires that you do things that you're really bad at, and don't see yourself improving in those areas, then you should look for a role that doesn't require you to do those things.

Project management is no different than any other career. You can find jobs with broader scope, narrower scope, or different scope. Since you seem pretty clear about the fact that you want to manage project internals rather than stakeholder or customer management, then look for a role where that's an option.

As some generic advice, smaller companies generally require people to take on more scope and wear more hats. Larger companies, especially those with a formal PMO, often have roles that are more clearly defined, and where you can get support from elsewhere in the organization to manage the things that aren't within your core capabilities.

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