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A complete guide to becoming a hotshot Account Executive

A complete guide to becoming a hotshot Account Executive

If you have good communication skills, can build strong successful relationships with the client and are creative enough to think beyond the box, you might just become the next best Account Executive.

Dive into this blog to know who an account executive is, what he does, the career path, salary, and the skills required to be an efficient Account Executive. You will also find in the blog how a day in the life of an AE looks like and the tips to crack the interview of an Account Executive.

Who is an Account Executive?

Account Executive is a fancy term used for a salesperson, someone who handles sales relationships between the company and its clients. He is responsible for getting new clients on board as well as satisfying the needs of the existing clients of the company on an ongoing basis.

A company can allot just one important client to an Account Executive or in some cases multiple clients. In simpler terms, an Account Executive can be considered as a salesperson who sells the company’s products or services to potential customers/ clients, build successful relationships with clients and maintain existing relationships.

Account Executive Responsibilities

Account Executive is responsible for handling the accounts of an individual or a client of the company and work towards developing new clients. As an account executive, you are expected to increase the company’s customer base by closing sales deals and help them grow. In order to accomplish your monthly targets, it is important to work in a systematic way. From searching about the prospects to making calls and fixing meetings, there is a lot which an account executive is required to do.

Furthermore, the account executive has to work on eliminating competitive threats in order to prevent competitors from poaching clients.

Tips for Closing Sales Deals

Below you will find step-by-step details of what it takes to close a deal and build company’s customer base- 

  • Exploring potential prospects
    The foremost step in building a new relationship is searching for customers who are more likely to show interest in your company’s services. This requires in-depth research about the market and businesses.
  • Communicating with prospects
    Once you are done with the research work, the next step is to reach out to the prospects. This can be done by making calls, mailing them or through social platforms such as LinkedIn. It is important to know the prospect in-and-out before contacting them, so make sure you are thorough with your research.
  • Determining the needs
    Before developing a proposal for the customers, it is important to meet the prospect to know his requirements. It is suggested to pose questions and answer his queries to develop his interest. 
  • Demoing, pitching and closing deals
    After customizing the proposal for the prospect, it is time you demonstrate it before him. Presenting the proposal confidently and addressing all his concerns, increases the chance of you closing a deal. Also, establishing an emotional connect with the prospect makes your pitching game stronger. Remember, a client will agree to do business with you only if you are successful in making yourself appear relevant to him.
  • Follow up
    This is the most crucial thing for closing a deal and making the client stay with your company. It is important to keep your customers in the loop and do follow-ups in a regular manner.
  • Improve customer satisfaction
    The work of an account executive does not stop after he has closed a deal. Staying in touch with the clients and catering to their needs, strengthen their link with the company. It is also advised to take the responses of existing clients. Strong, satisfactory and successful relationships with clients will increase the business of the company and enhance its position in the market.

Account executive salary and other benefits

The compensation received by an account executive depends on location as well as the industry. According to a report, the average salary of an account executive in the U.S. is about $54,000 per annum.

Account Executive Career Path

Being competitive, creative, and collaborative can give you a bright future as an Account Executive. It has been observed that successful Account Executives started their career as sales representatives, worked with small businesses and gradually moved into working with larger companies. Constantly learning new sales tactics and extensive experience is a key to move up the ladder.

Account Executive Skills

Surviving in a competitive field like Account Executive requires the following skills-

  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Good at negotiations
  • Collaborative
  • Creative
  • Knowledge of sales tools
  • Problem-solving
  • Curating proposals 

Learning should never stop for a person in this profession. Adapting with the changing buyer preferences and learning new sales tactics will give you an edge over others.

Account Executive Interview Question and Tips

Some of the topics around which sales interview questions revolve are mainly,

  • Background and past Experience:
    Every job interview comprises of some personal questions regarding your background and past experiences. 
  • Skillset:
    The interviewer probes deeper to know your knowledge about the company and your skillset. 
  • Situation based questions:
    It is more likely that the interviewer gives you certain situations where you will be asked to sell a product. For eg., selling fish to a Brahman.
  • Future plans:
    Interviewers are in a practice of digging deeper into knowing the candidate and his future plans. Such questions are posed to know how much goal-oriented the candidate is!

These were some of the topics on which a sales interview is based. An Interviewee should remember that presenting yourself confidently, communicating clearly and asking questions only when it is necessary are some of the points to keep in mind. Be prepared to convince the interviewer why you are fit for the job and what separates you from the rest of the applicants.

What an actual day in the life of an Account Executive looks like!

Every day is a different juggle for an Account Executive. It involves a lot of interactions, strategizing, holding meetings, making calls, delivering presentations, etc. Let’s explore what a typical day looks like: 

7:00 am: Day of an Account Executive starts early. It starts with checking emails, replying and responding to emails from customers and prospects. 

9:00 am: Reaching office and conducting a meeting with the sales team, building strategies, solving problems and setting priorities for the day.

9:30 am: Checking emails and LinkedIn profile, posting updates, sending messages and reverting to important ones. 

10:00 am The day officially kick starts now, with a lot of research about the prospects, making notes, and listing questions to be asked to the prospects. 

11:00 am It is a great time for a tea break and to feel afresh. 

11:15 am: After refueling, it is time to work on customizing proposals, making discovery calls, meetings and demoing the product. 

12:15 pm: It is important to keep the sales team leader in the loop with all the communications you have with clients and the projects you are working on! Take a halt at his cabin and discuss it out.

12:30 pm: Take this time for a break and energize yourself to get back to the grind. 

1:30 pm: This is the time for a follow up on deals that are in process, and convincing prospects to close deals. 

2:00 pm: This is the second batch of making discovery calls, reaching out to prospects which involves a lot of talking.

3:00 pm: Work on ongoing deals, make proposals and research. Finish the tasks given by the clients. 

4:00 pm: This is the time to remind your existing clients that you have not forgotten them. Get in touch with them, finish the tasks allotted to you, work towards their growth and build their trust in you. 

5:00 pm: The day doesn’t end here! An account executive is always on the go. 

8:00 pm: This is the time to check emails, reply, relax and ready yourself for another day.

This is how a typical day unfolds. In a full day of activity and work, one should not forget to take time out for himself. Spend some quality time with family, go out, watch your favorite shows and most importantly keep yourself hydrated.

Conclusion

An account executive should be fast-paced, hungry for success and strive to be on top of the leaderboard. Like every other profession, this also requires you to give your 100%. An account executive should work passionately and wholeheartedly to make clients happy and help them grow because eventually your growth depends on their growth and if they grow, you grow as well.