What Is an Amazon SAS Core Account Manager and Do You Need One?
SAS Core is a program that gives Amazon third-party sellers a dedicated account manager within Amazon. If you've ever struggled with endless loops trying to fix problems with Seller Central support this might sound great. But there's a catch – this service isn't free and it isn't cheap.
In this article, we'll address what SAS core is and whether they're worth the price.
What Is an Amazon Account Manager and What Can They Do For You?
Essentially, an Amazon Account Manager is an advisor from within Amazon that, according to Amazon, helps third-party sellers grow their business and fix issues. They are supposed to help third-party sellers on Amazon come up with and execute strategies so their business can grow.
Amazon Account Managers have a variety of responsibilities, including
- Giving listing feedback to help increase visibility and SEO
- Giving recommendations (e.g., increasing conversion rates, expanding to other marketplaces)
- Logistics management
- Providing updates on new programs and policy changes that can affect the business
- Manage Amazon issues and cases
The last one is probably the most important function of an Amazon Account Manager, especially if you’re facing a listing or account suspension.
And while most sellers wouldn’t hire an Amazon Account Manager to do low-level tasks such as listing creation, SAS Core includes them as some of the functions their account managers can do.
An Amazon Account Manager doesn’t necessarily have to manage every area of your account. They can, for example, focus more on PPC or getting your listing unsuspended—it depends on your arrangement, based on what your business needs.
Overview of the Amazon SAS Core
The Strategic Account Services (SAS) Core is a program on Amazon that provides third-party sellers access to their own account manager inside Amazon.
It differs from other account managing services because the manager provided to you is actually connected with the platform, i.e., they’re actually Amazon employees.
In order to be eligible for an Amazon Account Manager through SAS Core, you need to have the following:
- An active Professional Selling Account (as opposed to the Individual Plan) in good standing on Amazon.com
- For multiple selling accounts, a completed application form with an email address and Merchant Token unique to each Selling Account
The program is currently available only to sellers who sell on Amazon US (Amazon.com). However, the SAS Core caters to both private-label sellers and resellers, so you can still get an account manager even when you’re doing Amazon arbitrage.
How Does the Amazon SAS Core Work?
If you’re eligible to enroll in the SAS Core, you can contact Amazon. Note that when you have multiple seller accounts, Amazon requires that you enroll each account separately. This means that there’s a good chance you will be working with a different manager for each account.
When you’re assigned an Amazon Account Manager through SAS Core, you have to work with him or her for a minimum of 3 months. Unfortunately, the program has no trial period.
You can communicate with your account manager via phone or email, and you’ll have scheduled monthly check-in calls. You can discuss business plans, growth strategies, or steps to fix account issues.
And if you have problems or are unhappy with your assigned manager, you can provide feedback. There’s a link included in their email signature so you can reach out to their manager.
If you want to cancel your enrollment to SAS Core, you can do so through Seller Central
Seller Central > Programs > Premium Services > Manage > Cancel Program
But of course, you have to wait until the three-month period is over.
How Much Will an Amazon Account Manager Cost?
An Amazon Account Manager from SAS Core will cost you $1,600 per month + 0.3% of your total sales in the previous calendar month + tax. In this case, total sales don’t include returns, shipping, sales tax, or other charges.
This means that the amount you will pay for your Amazon Account Manager through SAS will vary, depending on your sales. However, the total cost per month will not exceed $5,000.
How Competent Are Amazon Account Managers?
Account managers from SAS Core, according to Amazon, receive “in-depth training on topics that include fulfillment and inventory, selection and conversion growth, merchandising and advertising, and global expansion (and many more).”
But of course, this very vague statement isn’t much help when you’re making the decision to pay at most $5,000 each month. So let’s look at a job post by Amazon for a Senior Account Manager for SAS Core.
Here are the basic and preferred qualifications:
As we can see, Amazon experience is not required, let alone ecommerce experience. As is often the complaint from SAS Core users from within our EcomCrew community, established sellers often know more about the ins and outs of the business compared to their advisors.
You should also note that each account manager will be handling multiple accounts (around 12 to 15), so they won’t be solely focusing on your business.
Get an Amazon Account Manager for Free – Kind Of
Does having a dedicated account manager within Amazon sound good but you don't want to pay the price? Well, there is one free alternative that is nearly as good but comes with a catch.
Brand Growth is a program within Amazon that gives a dedicated account manager to new sellers. That's the catch – you need to be a new seller on Amazon or at least be opening a brand new Amazon account.
Here are some of the services they've offered:
- Get increased inventory limits
- Fix catalogue attributes
- Ungate categories
- Solve ASIN deactivation issues/Brand Registry issues
Unfortunately, the program is also invite only and they're specifically targeting established brands not yet selling on Amazon. But if you are an established brand looking to sell on Amazon for the first time, it's a great deal.
Will SAS Core Give you Peace of Mind and “Account Insurance”?
As mentioned earlier, SAS Core account managers are Amazon employees. However, just because you have an “insider” doesn’t mean you can expect special treatment. As they’ve clearly stated in the FAQs section, “Amazon’s policies are the same for all sellers and applied equally, regardless of whether you’re enrolled in our program or not.”
This means that getting an account manager from SAS Core doesn’t guarantee that your concerns will be prioritized. So to answer the question of whether the program can give you account insurance, the general answer is no because there are no guarantees of issue resolution even though you’re hiring an Amazon employee to look into your concerns. However, it does help with your peace of mind, knowing that someone within the company is working on your problem and can potentially get it in front of the right person.
If you’ve ever had an account issue before, you know how frustrating it is to always be transferred from one Amazon support staff to another. An Amazon Account Manager from SAS Core is helpful in cases like this because at least you’ll have one contact person you can ask for updates from instead of dealing with multiple people who don’t seem to have the solution you’re looking for.
And even though there’s no preferential treatment, your account manager likely knows whom to forward your concerns to and would do the actual follow-up for you.
Another advantage is these managers will have early access to Amazon programs that are still being developed, so you’ll have a higher chance of testing out beta and pilot programs.
Sellers often go for SAS Core Account Managers when
- they have critical account problems that will have a significant monetary impact such as account or product suspensions
- when they’ve gotten big enough to be able to afford the costs to help grow their business
SAS Core account managers can be very helpful, especially in resolving critical issues. However, there seems to be only a handful of sellers who found their account managers helpful long-term, considering the costs.
What’s Better – An Amazon Agency or SAS Core?
There are now a number of agencies (or so-called “full Amazon account management”) that will handle the entire Amazon account management services. Typically, these companies charge a percentage of your revenue and will handle all aspects of managing your Amazon account from managing PPC to managing inbound shipments.
Without getting into a debate about the merits of giving a percentage of your sales to an Amazon agency vs. doing it in-house, SAS core is NOT a replacement for an agency. An agency is going to do time-consuming tasks such as listing creation. SAS Core, for the most part, is going to give you guidance and direction.
|SAS Core Pros||SAS Core Cons|
|Account managers are more updated about pilot and beta programs on Amazon||Costs range from $1,600+ to $5,000|
|Account managers will most likely be in the loop about internal problems on Amazon so you’ll know what’s up even before anything is released in public||No preferential treatment despite having an Amazon employee|
|If your ASINs are eligible for 7-Day Deals or Lightning Deals, your listing fee for one deal per week will be free.||Three-month minimum contract period|
|Potential inside help with escalating difficult-to-resolve cases||Services are bundled (you can’t pay a lower price even if you just want help with one area of your business)|
|No trial period|
Why Does Amazon Charge for Account Managers?
If your business gets big enough, Google and Facebook may assign you an account manager for free. But with Amazon, even though third-party sellers already pay a lot in terms of FBA fees and other fees to sell on the platform, they still have to pay up to $5,000 to get access to people who can advise them on how to scale your business further. Why is this so?
Well, it turns out that this is not true for all marketplaces. Amazon India, for example, has two free account management services sellers can avail of. They’re invitation-only and participants are chosen based on performance metrics, but at least those who sell on amazon.in have a chance to get these services for free.
So why do they get this option while sellers at amazon.com have to pay a hefty amount?
We don’t know for sure, but it might be to encourage third-party sellers on younger marketplaces to scale. Amazon India was launched in 2013, around 18 years after its US counterpart.
These free services may just be a technique to attract more third-party sellers and to help scale those who are already doing well on the platform to improve the overall performance and popularity of amazon.in because the company is facing a lot of competition in India whereas it already dominates in the United States.
SAS Core Amazon Account Managers help with critical issues and in giving suggestions on how to scale your business. However, they are not for everyone. In general, not every seller needs an account manager. In fact, there are a lot of Amazon sellers who have built 7-figure and 8-figure businesses without ever hiring one.
Have you worked with an Amazon Account Manager before? Were they helpful to your business?