Tell me about being a technical account manager!
November 20, 2016 5:18 PM   Subscribe

I've decided that it's time to look for a new job, and based on the aspects of my current job role, I think I'd like being a technical account manager. However, I don't have friends with that specific job title, so I'm looking for some first-hand accounts about this position, and potentially reasons why it's not as good as a fit as I think it might be.

Here's my current situation. Late-30s manager at a medium-sized software company in Manhattan. My career has basically gone: technical writer -> technical project manager at two very large, enterprise-y organizations -> manager at this firm. I have some work experience in networking and application development, but I've never been a full-time developer, nor would I characterize myself as a programmer.

What I've done for the past four years is a combination of the following:

* Application design and architecture (mostly iOS/Android apps and cloud hosting configurations)
* Account management - From business development, to handling all contracting and billing, etc.
* Project management

Of the above, the aspects that I've really enjoyed, and frankly done best at, have been the application design and account management roles. I'd love to get away from project management - while I've enjoyed small helpings of it in the past, I've burnt out on it in the last two years, and need to take a break before considering it as a core job component again.

Consequently, I've been exploring sales engineer and technical account manager positions - basically, roles that seem to have a lot of client interaction, solution design, and room to learn and specialize in technical topics.

Unfortunately, I'm fairly certain I can't renegotiate my current role to allow me to focus more on these aspects - we simply have too few managers to cover everything that needs to get done. I've been feeling like my career is losing focus, and the variety in my current role is feeling more like a liability rather than a series of productive learning experiences within a narrative of career development.

What are your experiences as a technical account manager, or a related position? Am I right in thinking this roles are primarily customer-focused and salesy (in a good way)? If you're in NYC and can suggest any meetups or other professional development opportunities that might apply, I'd love to hear about those as well.

Thank you!
posted by Transmissions From Vrillon to Work & Money (3 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
So I've been a TAM for 8 years, but I don't think my job is quite the same as what a lot of TAMs do. Like most jobs I think there's a pretty broad range of job responsibilities across different companies. Some are more pure account managers, some seem to be mostly ticket takers logging issues, some dispense the same set of solutions over and over again, some are really in-depth and are almost like consultants that do very custom work.

My job is has been a little of all of those but definitely a lot of client interaction. I'm not salesy per se in that the particular products I work with are structure more as partnerships and not straight sales. Which is good for me - avoid quota like the plague unless you like it and think you can hit it all the time. But it is a role where you try to increase a user's engagement with your product whether or not that involves more sales.

I don't want to get to into specific details but if you're interested, drop me memail.
posted by GuyZero at 9:50 PM on November 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm not a TAM but I am close to my company's Microsoft TAM. As far as I can tell, he is always busy whether it is performing triage on problems or trying to arrange for access to materials and experts for new initiatives. I don't know if he is compensated for sales events but certainly the new initiate work is indirectly tied to new licenses and product sales.
posted by mmascolino at 1:28 PM on November 21, 2016

Thanks, everyone! I appreciate the feedback - it's clarified my understanding of the role.
posted by Transmissions From Vrillon at 1:12 PM on December 3, 2016

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