PEOPLE CARE……How to Develop “High Performance” Account Managers

The role of Account Manager in the landscape industry is a Critical Path function.

Account Managers are the only job roles (other than the Owner / President, Division Manager / Branch Manager) that touch and require proficiency

In ALL the Primary Segments of your Business.



  • Overall Management and Organization
  • Operations
  • Marketing and Branding
  • Sales and Client Management
  • Finance
  • Compensation
  • Human Resources
  • Results

There are essentially 2 types of Account Managers. There are some hybrids and variations on the theme. But they typically follow these two models. So, let’s review the two types.


The Production Focused Account Manager
is where most of this begins.

As companies develop and grow this is where the job starts.



This model will typically be responsible for the following tasks or processes.

  • Operational Crew Supervision
  • Managing the Clients Properties
  • Sales of Extras or Enhancements
  • Contract Renewals

This job type is a tough job to fill as it requires skill sets in two divergent areas, The hands-on Nuts and Bolts of Operations and the nuanced skills of Client Relations and Sales. When companies are small and growing, this role is put into play resulting from two imperatives:

1) The company cannot afford multiple roles

2) The owner is more directly involved in the day to day functions and can better support the people in these roles.


The Client Relations Focused Account Manager tends to develop as companies grow and the complexities of finding and keeping the production focused type become increasingly more difficult.



This model will typically be responsible for the following tasks or processes.

  • Prospecting and Selling Base Contracts
  • The Development and Maintenance of Client Relationships
  • Sales of Extras or Enhancements
  • Contract Renewals
  • Interfacing with Field Production Managers and their Teams

This job type is results as companies grow and separate the Production Focused Role into two separate job functions. The Client focused Account Manager and the Field Production Manager. Both roles are easier to source and develop as they come from two separate skill sets. More people have one or the other, while few have both together.

So, your first step as an owner is to identify which type of Account Manager you have or should have in place. The next step is to identify the Action Steps for Development and Training.

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”  —  Benjamin Franklin



 The Action Steps should follow this trajectory:

  • Build a Plan (Short, Intermediate & Long Term
  • Develop Detailed Job Descriptions & Identify Pivotal Duties
  • Create a Career Ladder that lays out a road map for achieving upward mobility.
  • Develop an Employee Accountability Platform or Process
  • Develop a Guiding Strategy “Vision – Mission – Core Values”
    • To Reinforce ‘Good’ Organizational Behavior
    • To Avoid Reinforcing ‘Bad’ Organizational Behavior
  • Develop the Training Protocols for each type of focus

The Training protocols should be grouped into three areas.

  • The areas both types share. This is because this will serve as the training program for the Production Focused Account Manager as well as the Field Production Manager who exists in the Client Focused Account Manager System.
  • The Areas that are exclusive to the Client Focused Account Manager
  • The Areas that are exclusive to the Production Focused Account Manager

The Overarching Training Protocols can or should look like this. NOTE: This is an approximate list to use as a guideline. The actual items should be determined by each organization.

Duties and Accountabilities

  • Organizational and Operational Duties
  • Sales and Marketing Duties
  • Financial Duties
  • HR People Duties
  • Quality Control Duties
  • Personal Effectiveness
  • Time Lines and Imperatives
  • Results and Outcome Expectations

Training Topics (Order / Priority to be Determined)

  • Sales and Marketing
  • Client Relations
  • Operations
  • People
  • Technical Training Program
  • Equipment

As we have seen here the role of Account Manager in your company is a Critical Path function. It touches all aspects of your organization. For your Account Managers to Become High Performance Business People, you must develop & implement a program such as this.


                                             “Always Remember Nothing Happens…

““                                                                              …Until Somebody Trains Someone”

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Fred Haskett

To Learn More Contact Fred

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