An account executive is a sales professional who connects with potential clients, turning them into new customers.
Once a client is onboard, they hand over the relationship to an account manager.
Here’s what to know about the role’s salary, skills, and how to become one.
Roles and Responsibilities:
- Account executives build relationships with prospects and turn them into customers. They also negotiate contracts with existing customers.
Day-to-day tasks include:
- Finding prospects through networking and sales tools.
- Link up with prospects via calls or emails.
- Delivering sales pitches and discussing buying options.
- Meeting new and existing clients to discuss contracts.
- Updating the sales team on industry trends.
- Mentoring junior account executives.
Account Executive Within a Company:
Account executives work in sales, focusing on customer acquisition.
They might be divided into junior and senior roles, with seniors overseeing juniors.
After closing deals, they may hand over clients to account managers but still handle contract renewals.
Account Executive Importance:
Account executives are vital for building customer relationships and securing deals, crucial for business growth.
Their work also helps in retaining long-term customers.
Account Executive Skills Needed:
- Sales and prospecting knowledge.
- Experience in deal negotiation and account management.
- Familiarity with sales tools and software.
- Bachelor’s degree in business or related fields.
- 2-3 years of sales experience.
- A master’s degree in business or sales certifications can boost career prospects.
- Sales expertise.
- Identifying ideal prospects.
- Understanding company products and services.
- Business acumen and industry analysis.
- Proficiency in sales tools.
- Persuasion and negotiation.
- Analytical thinking.
- Time and project management.
- Empathy and active listening.
- Resilience to rejection.
- Sales intelligence tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
- Scheduling software like Arrangr and Acuity Scheduling.
- Data management tools like Airtable, ZoomInfo, and Excel.
Becoming an Account Executive
Education and Experience:
Account executives usually have a bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, or a related field.
They typically start with 2-3 years of experience in entry-level roles like sales representative or customer support.
While not required, getting a master’s degree in business or marketing can open up more opportunities.
Certificates and Courses:
- Take sales training programs to improve your sales skills.
- Get certifications in sales leadership to add to your qualifications.
- Consider courses in SPIN selling and other specialized areas to sharpen your sales techniques.
- Look into getting a sales executive certification for future career growth.
Many start in jobs like inside sales representatives or marketing assistants before moving up to become account executives.
As you gain experience, you can advance from junior to senior account executive roles.
With more education and certifications, you might aim for top positions like Chief Operations Officer or VP of Business Development.
However, that usually takes years of management experience.