Customer Relationship Manager Careers: Salary & Job Description

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What're the pros and cons to being a customer relationship manager? See real job descriptions and get the truth about career outlook to find out if becoming a customer relationship manager is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of Becoming a Customer Relationship Manager

A customer relationship manager makes sure that customers and clients have a positive experience with a business or organization. Learn the best and worst parts of being a customer relationship manager by reading below.

PROS to Being a Customer Relationship Manager
Above-average salary (median salary for sales managers around $111,000 in May 2014)*
Bonus and commission options with many employers*
Employment can grow depending on the state of the industry you're working in*
Few extensive educational requirements (57% have just a bachelor's degree)**

CONS to Being a Customer Relationship Manager
Long hours are common for a managerial position*
You may have to work weekends and evenings depending on your employer*
Managerial jobs can be stressful*
Strong job competition is normal for many managerial positions*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*Net OnLine.

Career Information

Job Description

A customer relationship manager is assigned to handle key customers and clients for an organization. You can find these positions within private businesses, banks and other financial institutions, marketing companies or any type of organization with a sales team. Your primary responsibility will be to make sure that customers are happy with the products or services they receive from the organization.

In this position, you might be given just a few clients to develop relationships with or you might be given a group of them depending on the needs of your employer. You may have to prioritize clients based upon the amount of revenue they're giving your business. In order to help build and maintain a client base, you may have to look for new business and ensure that contracts are renewed with existing clients. You'll need to coordinate with your co-workers and other departments to make sure the projects for your customers are completed on schedule.

Salary

In 2015, Salary.com reported that the median salary for custom relationship managers was about $66,000. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2014, management occupations in general were found to have yearly median incomes of about $97,000, while sales managers in particular earned a median income of $111,000 (www.bls.gov).

Career Requirements

Work Experience and Education

Previous work experience is beneficial when you're trying to find employment as a customer relationship manager. The amount of work experience you need can vary between two to five years, depending on the business. Generally, you'll want to have experience in managerial or customer service positions prior to applying for a customer relationship manager position. If you're trying to get promoted in an existing organization, it is important to note that positions are fewer in smaller businesses so it may take longer than it would at a bigger company.

A postsecondary educational background in business is sometimes necessary as well. An associate's or bachelor's degree in a business-related major is normally the preferred amount of education. Classes in marketing, customer relations, economics, accounting, finance and mathematics may be useful for you.

What Are Employers Looking For?

Managerial skills are crucial for customer relationship managers. Employers want you to be able to effectively lead a team of workers to succeed. Possessing good customer relations skills is also another major trait employers are looking for. The biggest part of your job is to keep customers and clients happy, so you have to be able to make people feel relaxed and appreciated. You can learn what some real employers were looking for in customer relationship managers in June 2012 by reading some information below taken from job postings.

  • In California, a software provider is looking for a customer relationship manager who has experience with CRM tools and ASP solutions. Candidates should also have a bachelor's degree and at least five years of experience in a sales or management position.
  • A Florida financial services company seeks a customer relationship manager that can speak Urdu and Hini. Applicants should have five to seven years of experience as well as at least an associate's degree.
  • A bank in Texas desires a customer relationship manager with at least three years of experience in mortgage and customer service. In this position, the candidate will be required to work as a point of contact for the bank's most valued customers.
  • A computer business in Ohio wants a customer relationship manager with knowledge of legal systems. The position requires two to four years of related work experience, although on-the-job training will also be provided.

How to Stand Out as a Customer Relationship Manager

If you become a member of a recognized professional organization, that can help set yourself apart from other customer relationship managers. You can develop work contacts by attending local chapter events or using the member directory in an organization like the Sales Management Association (www.salesmanagement.org). You also have access to academic research and conference archives that can help with your work. Management tools are another perk associated with being a member of this association. Finally, choosing a specific industry to get experience in can help you stand apart from other custom relationship managers. For example, a job posting for a customer relationship manager in a California bank suggested that applicants should have previous banking experience.

Other Occupational Paths

If you're looking for an alternative career option, consider becoming an advertising manager. As an advertising manager, you would help get people interested in the service or product your company offers. You'll come up with print, radio and television campaigns that catch the attention of customers. In May 2011, the BLS found that advertising managers earned an average salary of $103,000 or so. You'll see about a 13% growth in employment for advertising managers in the time span of 2010 to 2020.

Being a public relations manager is another occupational choice you may want to look into. The press releases that a company submits are written and reviewed by a public relations manager. The goal of your work is to ensure that your employer's main point of view comes out clearly to audiences. Public relation managers made about $106,000 on average annually according to the BLS in May 2011. The job outlook for public relations managers is expected to grow by 21% from 2010 to 2020.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA: Marketing
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      • MBA: Project Management
    Bachelor's
      • BSBA in Sales Management
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • BSBA - Investment
    Associate's
      • AASBA in Customer Service
      • Associate: Business Admin.
      • AASBA in Sales
      • AASBA -Entrepreneurship
      • AASBA in Retail Management
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    2. American University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Agile Project Management
      • Master of Science in Measurement and Evaluation
    Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate in Agile Project Management
      • Graduate Certificate in Project Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Marketing
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      • Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology - Small Business Development and Entrepreneurship
      • PhD in Business Admin - Public Admin
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      • MBA - Marketing
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    4. Virginia College

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Associate's - Business Admin
    Certificate
      • Certification - Business Administration
      • Diploma Program - Business Administration
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    5. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • DBA - Management
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      • M.B.A. with an Emphasis in Project Management
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      • Master of Science in Business Analytics
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      • BS in Applied Management
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      • BS in Entrepreneurial Studies
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    6. Johns Hopkins University

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    Master's
      • Master of Science in Government Analytics
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    7. Saint John's University

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    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration: Interdisciplinary Business
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    8. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA
      • MBA Dual Concentration: HR & Project Mgmt.
      • MBA Dual Concentration: BS Mgmt. & HR
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    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science - Business Management
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  • Campus and Online Programs
    9. Judson University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration Online
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration - Entrepreneurship - Online
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  • Online Programs Available
    10. Saint Joseph's University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Organization Development & Leadership
    Bachelor's
      • BLS in General Studies - Professional Studies Concentration

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • MBA: Marketing
  • BSBA in Sales Management
  • AASBA in Customer Service

Which subject are you interested in?

American University

  • Master of Science in Agile Project Management
  • Master of Science in Measurement and Evaluation
  • Graduate Certificate in Agile Project Management
  • Graduate Certificate in Project Monitoring and Evaluation

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Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Marketing
  • Doctor of Business Admin - Management
  • MBA - Marketing
  • Master of Business Administration - Strategic Management

What is your highest level of education?

Virginia College

  • Associate's - Business Admin
  • Certification - Business Administration
  • Diploma Program - Business Administration

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Grand Canyon University

  • DBA - Management
  • M.B.A. with an Emphasis in Project Management
  • BS in Applied Management

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Johns Hopkins University

  • Master of Science in Government Analytics

What is your highest level of education?

Saint John's University

  • Master of Business Administration: Interdisciplinary Business

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Herzing University

  • MBA
  • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
  • Associate of Science - Business Management

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