Career Development

What Does an Account Executive Do?

Find out what an account executive does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as an account executive.

Account executives are the people who sell products and services to clients. They work with a variety of companies, from small businesses to large corporations, selling everything from industrial equipment to software solutions to consumer goods.

Account executives spend most of their time meeting with potential clients and pitching them on the benefits of using their company’s products or services. This might include explaining how their product can help solve a problem that the client is facing, demonstrating how it’s better than competing products on the market, or showing how it fits into the client’s broader business strategy.

Account Executive Job Duties

An account executive typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Identifying potential clients’ needs and recommending appropriate solutions
  • Generating leads through networking, cold calling, and prospecting via social media
  • Recommending changes to the client’s existing products or services to increase sales opportunities
  • Developing and maintaining relationships with current clients to ensure repeat business
  • Presenting proposals to prospective clients that clearly describe product offerings and pricing structure
  • Developing and implementing marketing strategies including public relations campaigns, email campaigns, print ads, television spots, telemarketing, and direct mail
  • Estimating costs of projects based on client requirements and industry norms
  • Meeting regularly with clients to discuss progress on projects and to ensure customer satisfaction
  • Negotiating contracts with clients to ensure that all parties are satisfied with the terms of the agreement

Account Executive Salary & Outlook

Account executives’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and industry of the company. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of commissions and bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $66,500 ($31.97/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

The employment of account executives is expected to grow slower than average over the next decade.

Demand for account executives depends largely on the overall state of the economy. As the economy grows, more companies will want to advertise and sell their products and services. In addition, as markets become increasingly competitive, companies will need to find new ways to promote their products and services.

Account Executive Job Requirements

A number of qualifications are necessary to become an account executive, including:

Education: Entry-level account executives are usually required to have a high school diploma or equivalent, although some positions may require a bachelor’s degree. Relevant coursework includes marketing, sales, business and communications.

Training & Experience: Account executives typically receive on-the-job training to learn the specific processes and procedures of their companies. Training may include shadowing current account executives or working with a supervisor to complete tasks. Account executives who have previous experience in sales or marketing may receive minimal training to refresh their knowledge of the company’s products and services.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications enable professionals to prove their qualifications to current and future employers. Account executives can earn certifications to gain more theoretical knowledge of their responsibilities, test their professional skills and further advance their career.

Account Executive Skills

Account executives need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication skills: Communication skills are essential in a sales role. You may be communicating with clients over the phone, in person or through email. Regardless of the communication method, you need to be able to convey your message effectively. This includes speaking clearly, using proper grammar and maintaining eye contact when speaking with someone in person.

Product knowledge: As an account executive, you should be knowledgeable about the products and services your company offers. You should be able to answer questions about your company’s products and services and be able to explain the benefits of each. This can help you to develop a stronger relationship with your customers and help you to sell more products and services.

Relationship building: Relationship building is the ability to form connections with others. As an account executive, you may be responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with clients and colleagues. Relationship building can help you form stronger connections with others and improve your ability to build trust.

Problem-solving: Problem-solving skills allow you to identify and resolve issues. As an account executive, you may be responsible for resolving customer complaints, addressing issues with clients and finding solutions to challenges that arise in your role. Your ability to identify and solve problems can help you develop solutions that work for your clients and help you grow your client base.

Time management: Time management skills allow you to prioritize your tasks and manage your schedule effectively. As an account executive, you may have several responsibilities each day, including calls, meetings, presentations and other tasks. Having good time management skills allows you to complete all of your work in a timely manner.

Account Executive Work Environment

Account executives work in a variety of settings, including advertising agencies, public relations firms, and corporate marketing departments. They usually work regular business hours, although they may occasionally work overtime to meet deadlines. Some account executives travel frequently to meet with clients or attend conferences. The work can be stressful at times, especially when deadlines are tight or when working on a high-profile account that is under intense public scrutiny. However, most account executives find the work to be exciting and challenging and feel that they make a direct and positive impact on the success of their clients’ businesses.

Account Executive Trends

Here are three trends influencing how account executives work. Account executives will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for a More Strategic Approach to Sales

The role of the sales professional is changing. In order to be successful, they need to adopt a more strategic approach to their work.

This means that account executives need to be able to think beyond just closing deals and understand the bigger picture of how their work fits into the company’s overall strategy. They also need to be able to identify potential opportunities and develop long-term relationships with clients.

More Focus on Digital Marketing

As businesses continue to focus on digital marketing, account executives will need to learn new skills in order to stay competitive.

One of the most important skills that account executives will need to learn is how to use social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to promote their products and services. Additionally, they will need to be familiar with search engine optimization (SEO) techniques in order to get their company’s website to rank higher on search results pages.

A Greater Emphasis on Customer Experience

Customer experience has become an increasingly important factor in determining the success of a business. This is because customers are now more likely to base their opinions about a company on their experience with its customer service department than on any other factor.

As a result, account executives need to be aware of the importance of providing a positive customer experience and should strive to ensure that all customers are satisfied. This can be done by providing excellent customer service, resolving issues quickly, and being available to answer questions.

How to Become an Account Executive

A career as an account executive can be a great way to start your marketing career. As an account executive, you’ll learn how to work with clients and develop campaigns that meet their needs. You’ll also gain experience in project management, which is essential for success in any marketing role.

To become an account executive, you need to have strong communication skills and be able to work well under pressure. You should also be able to think creatively and come up with new ideas.

Related: How to Write an Account Executive Resume

Advancement Prospects

The account executive is the client’s main contact with the advertising agency. The account executive is responsible for the day-to-day running of the account and works closely with the account planner to develop strategies for the account. He or she is also responsible for the financial management of the account and must ensure that the client is happy with the work being produced.

The account executive is the link between the client and the agency and must have a good understanding of both. He or she must be able to think creatively and come up with new ideas to present to the client. The account executive must also be able to think strategically and be able to see the big picture.

The account executive is usually the first point of contact for the client and is responsible for building and maintaining the relationship. He or she must be able to understand the client’s needs and requirements and be able to translate them into briefs for the creative team. The account executive must also be able to negotiate on the client’s behalf and be able to manage the client’s expectations.

Account Executive Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we’re looking for an experienced account executive to join our team and help us continue to grow our business. The ideal candidate will have a proven track record in sales and account management, with the ability to develop and maintain strong relationships with clients. They will be responsible for managing a portfolio of accounts, developing new business opportunities, and achieving sales targets. Additionally, they will provide input on strategic decisions for the account team, and contribute to the development of long-term relationships with clients.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Develop and maintain strong relationships with key decision-makers within assigned accounts
  • Understand customer business objectives and challenges, and develop creative solutions that address those needs
  • Serve as the primary day-to-day contact for assigned accounts, managing all aspects of the relationship
  • Proactively manage account activity to ensure maximum customer satisfaction and revenue growth
  • Achieve or exceed quarterly and annual sales targets
  • Develop and execute account plans that include strategies for short- and long-term growth
  • Stay up-to-date on industry trends, competitive landscape, and product developments
  • Prepare and deliver presentations to customers, prospects, and internal teams
  • Collaborate with cross-functional teams—including sales, marketing, product, and support—to drive success for assigned accounts
  • Manage contract renewals and upsell/cross-sell opportunities
  • Generate accurate and timely reports on account activity and forecast future sales
  • Participate in trade shows and other events on behalf of the company

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, or related field
  • 5-7 years of relevant sales experience with a proven track record of success
  • Excellent communication, negotiation, and presentation skills
  • Strong organizational skills and multitasking ability
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office, with aptitude to learn new software and systems
  • Ability to travel as needed

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • MBA or other advanced degree
  • Experience working with CRM software, such as Salesforce
  • Experience in the tech industry
  • Familiarity with project management software, such as Asana or Trello
  • Knowledge of HTML, CSS, and other web development technologies

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