I love a good self-help book and these are 10 of the best. As an Account Manager you wear many hats and trying to be all things to all people is damn hard work. It also takes time, but these books can fast track your expertise. I’ve shared books that will take you on the entire journey:
- Finding out what you do best and how to position yourself as an expert
- How to get your next job – whether that’s your first move into Account Management, or whether you’re already an Account Manager who wants to change industries.
- What to do when you land that job
- How to develop your social skills
- How to develop your business and strategic thinking
- Improving your presentation skills and business writing
Let me know what you think and if you have any other books you think would make great reading for an Account Manager, share them in the comments below.
TIP: It’s not just what you read, but what you remember. Check out Darious Faroux‘s excellent article How To Retain More From The Books You Read in 5 Easy Steps.
An eye-opening and startling look at just exactly who you are and what you are known for. Turns out it's probably not much and you've got a long way to differentiate yourself from your colleagues and peers. This book makes you take a long hard look at yourself and made me realise that hard work and being good at your job just aren't enough to get noticed anymore.
It's jam packed with exercises so be prepared to do some work to get to the core of who you are and then how to go about building your personal brand around it.
Two big takeways for me from this book:
(1) You need to align your values with your job. Find where you fit in. If you can't there's no point trying to get your company to fit in with you - it's time to move on
(2) I was so client focused that I forgot to plug into my manager's goals. He's the one that signs off on the pay rise, not my client. I need to make his job easier which in turn makes my job easier. I stopped seeing him as the enemy.
|CareerKred: 4 simple steps to Build Your Digital Brand and boost credibility in your career
OMG. This book pulls no punches. It makes you take a brutally honest look at your careers and I have to say, I wasn't happy with what I saw. Ryan is that one friend that when you ask "does my ass look big" he says "yes".
This is essential reading if you're in a career slump and need to get back on track. The major breakthrough for me was realising that I've been gradually sliding under the radar because I've been treating my job as a reward for my hard work, instead of realising success doesn't mean the work stops.
A great read for anyone looking to establish their credibility and focus on what their strengths are and how to demonstrate them to the people that matter.
|Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One
You know when you're at that point when you just need something to happen but don't know how? This is THE book. Extremely practical with lots of exercises and questions to find out exactly what you're good at and how to transition those skills into your next move.
Pivoting is a brilliant concept that helps you focus on what's realistic. Jenny refers to aligning your skills with a move that's on a new trajectory and related to your existing experience. If you want to move into - or out of - Account Management, then this book will help you.
|The 5 A.M. Miracle: Dominate Your Day Before Breakfast
If you feel like the days and years are passing you by and wondering where the time goes, then get up earlier! This book will convince you that you are the most productive first thing in the morning and that you can accomplish anything you desire by investing those few hours before work focusing on your day and taking action on what you want to achieve.
This book has changed my life and allowed me to really conquer my work/life balance and get things done. As an Account Manager, it stopped me being busy being busy and helped me get through my To Do lists. I've never been more productive.
It's not easy mind you. Training yourself to wake up at 5am (actually 5.30am for me) is hard. You're rewiring years of habit. But it doesn't take long. A week of early starts and you're exhausted. Two weeks and you're on fire.
Seize the day by reading this brilliant book!
|First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up To Speed Smarter and Faster
Account Managers usually get the most basic of training when they start a new job. The person their replacing is long gone and no-one knows anything about what went on before.
You usually spend the first 3 months playing Detective, not Account Manager.
This book is genius and gives you very detailed actions to take to get orientated, become familiar with the company and the clients and how to build internal networks and get up-skilled.
You could easily adapt this approach to taking on a new client and what your first 3 months looks like.
This is 90 day planning at its best and essential reading.
|The Charisma Myth: Master the Art of Personal Magnetism
If there's one thing I can promise you: as an Account Manager you WILL be called upon to network, present and schmooze. That just comes with the territory. If that doesn't appeal to you, either look for a different career or read this book!
Whether you're an introvert or an extrovert, this book is brimming with advice on how to tame your exuberance or to coax yourself out of your comfort zone.
It covers everything from body language to conversation starters and a million other tricks that you can use to showcase your personality. Olivia's approach is very refreshing. She's not asking you to change yourself or be someone you're not. Her strategies are modular - you can pick and choose what works for you and develop your own unique charisma in an authentic and persuasive way.
|How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships
Continuing the theme of developing your social skills, this brilliant book has 92 ideas for you to start a conversation and keep it going.
I have worked for many years to overcome my awkwardness in crowds and with strangers. I was painfully shy for many, many years. Practice and necessity of course help, but reading books like this are a great inspiration and will give you some easy tactics to add to your toolkit.
What I learned most from this is that talking to people mostly involves listening. This books shares with you secrets on how to get other people to do the talking and to keep the conversation going.
Read this and you'll be able to work the next party with barely uttering a word.
|Key Strategy Tools: The 80+ Tools for Every Manager to Build a Winning Strategy
You need this book.
This is a brilliant guide to strategic concepts broken into themes:
Not only will you use these yourself when you build strategic client plans, but you'll be able to talk to the C-Suite with confidence about a wide range of business principles that will establish your credibility as a trusted advisor.
This is one of the most well-thumbed books in my collection.
|Writing Business Bids and Proposals For Dummies
I hate to tell you but Account Managers will usually have to write their own proposals when their clients decide to go to market. If you have any resources for bid management they're likely already allocated to the sexy world of new sales.
So you'll be flying solo most of the time. The challenge is that most Account Managers are good at keeping their clients. So they manage to avoid bids, yet strangely end up being the ones writing them on the rare occasions one comes their way.
This is a problem. You're writing bids when you have no experience writing bids.
That's why this book is so brilliant. It breaks down the bid and proposal process into micro-steps and holds your hand the entire way from setting up the bid team to writing the proposal to final round presentations.
This is a fantastic resource that belongs on every Account Managers' book shelf.
|Show and Tell: How Everybody Can Make Extraordinary Presentations
This is not a book about Powerpoint. Dan Roam strips back the art of presentation to the basics we learned in kindergarten Show and Tell
The entire book is doodles. It's such a fun and easy read but because of the way it's graphically presented - it's very memorable.
Dan tells you how to understand your audience and build your presentation on a foundation of truth and using storytelling and visuals to give your message impact.
As an Account Manager you will be presenting. That's a fact. If that's outside your comfort zone, this book is perfect because it teaches you the fundamentals in how to convey your message by finding the passion in your presentation.