Account executives typically work in a number of industries, whereby they make sales and gain new clients. Therefore, a background in marketing, advertising, or sales is beneficial and necessary for individuals working in this career.
What is an Account Executive?
Accounts executives are primarily responsible for taking care of the company’s clients and also maintaining company-client relationships. This often involves working with multiple clients while trying to increase how much business an organization does with those particular clients.
Usually, an account executive holds an important sales position, generally selling services and/or products to other individuals and organizations. In general, the executive of the company sets key sales quotas that need to be met in order to succeed in this unique position. Also, the account executive is responsible for executing the recruiting and research aspect of gaining potential clients. Sometimes, account executives also perform cold calling. An account executive must spend a portion of their time locating potential clients, discovering their needs, and then making specific pitches for amenities that will satisfy their needs. Last, they will close the sale and gain their business.
Once the sales transaction is finalized, the account executive may then work with a team of customer service representatives or work directly with the clients in order to determine if the products and/or services meet their satisfaction. If a problem should arise, the account executive will often work to develop a plausible solution and is also sometimes necessary for them to work with other aspects of the marketing department, including advertising. They are responsible for cultivating healthy client relationships in order to encourage more business in the future.
Therefore, an account executive has to be familiar with every aspect of the company’s goods and products and also have the ability to promote and sell them. Overall, an account executive has to meet to a certain selling quota or exceed it within a certain amount of time, which requires a great deal of time spent communicating with clients, discussing their problems, and emailing them the necessary information.
Account Executive Responsibilities and Duties
Besides working on existing client accounts, account executives are responsible for locating and obtaining new clientele, generally within an assigned area. Generating and expanding new business often involves cold calling as well as attending conventions, seminars, and relevant trade shows or sometimes making person-to-person presentations with potential clients. For an advertising account executive, from the time a client makes a request from the advertising agency, up until that entire campaign is live and the end results are being assembled, it’s the job of the account executive to facilitate the key exchange of information between the client and the agency.
Not only will these key activities result in gaining new clients, but the company can also learn new and exciting skills that will benefit the organization as a whole. Research conducted last year found that many account executives also analyze financial data and trends, develop new operating procedures, track sales, train new employees, and study the business practices and strategies of their competitors.
Tasks of Account Executives
• Sell the company’s products and/or services to new prospects or established clientele.
• Manage the whole inside sales process including everything from proposal to closing the sale.
• Hit targets sales quotas or exceed them.
• Find and maintain communication with both prospective and current accounts.
• Track and monitor activity as well as prepare and maintain client records for new sales leads and the status of those accounts.
• Attend training seminars regarding products or services in order to understand the technical side of solutions.
Account Executive Qualifications and Preferred Skills
Most employers require that anyone applying for an account executive position has a bachelor’s degree in marketing or business and at least some experience in the field. Also, some employers will give special preference to individuals with extra abilities, including strong social networking and computer skills. According to research, many companies seek candidates who possess the following characteristics:
• Are self-motivated
• Work well with others in a team setting
• Are very well organized
• Have outstanding communication skills
• Work extremely well under pressure
How to Become an Account Executive
1. Earn your bachelor’s degree.
There are a number of bachelor’s degree programs that offer marketing, advertising, communications, or associated fields that can provide a strong foundation for would-be advertising and marketing account executives. Students must develop vital thinking skills while learning all about the logistics of market research, consumer behavior, and the most successful strategies for a variety of media platforms. These types of business courses will offer the necessary fundamental skills in order to adequately perform networking, sales, customer service, proposal writing, and contract negotiation.
2. Get work experience.
Entry-level jobs working as assistant account executives exist for new college graduates. The time spent working as an assistant account executive is extremely valuable for gaining industry knowledge, learning about how to work efficiently on a team that’s a key trait of the advertising industry, and improving their organizational, writing, and communication skills. With enough experience, these tasks usually expand into working directly with top account executives in order to complete important client projects along with contributing new and fresh ideas to marketing campaigns and/or pitches.
3. Get noticed.
The advertising industry is very competitive. Therefore, it’s critical to be noticed as a unique individual. Often, advertising account executives develop a certain forte, including working with a specific demographic, type of business, and then becoming a top expert in that field. Another surefire way to stay competitive is to keep developing and maintaining your creative skills. In terms of advertising, the ability to offer fresh concepts is often more important than experience, because the success of a marketing campaign generally depends on innovation and originality in order to draw and engage the attention of an audience.
Account Executive Requirements
As mentioned, most account executive jobs require that an applicant has a bachelor’s degree in marketing, advertising, or even accounting. But, it’s also very helpful to gain internship experience when applying for any of these entry-level positions. In order to land a senior advertising executive position, on the other hand, it’s not unusual that the hiring company requires at least 5-10 years of experience in the field. Many account executives will also earn their master’s degree at some point in their career as well. Here are some of the common educational requirements for an account executive position.
Common Educational Requirements for an Account Executive
• Degree Level: Bachelor’s
• Degree Field: Marketing, advertising, finance, business, economics, and accounting
• Required Skills: Management, creativity, sales, extreme attention to detail, flexibility, analytical, communication, interpersonal, and teamwork
• Experience: Entry-level requires college and/or post-graduate internship; mid-level requires 2-5 years; senior executive requires 5-10 years
• Computer Skills: Specialized business software for project management, business and spreadsheet analysis, publishing, and imaging
Account Executive Salary
As of 2015, the annual salary regarding an account executive position is approximately $52,000 per year. Commissions account for a substantial portion of this total number, approximately less than a third. The overall cash compensation for an account executive position often varies anywhere between $34,000 to about $94,000. Top pay grades involve potential for profit sharing and bonuses as high as $15,000 and $25,000, respectively. In general, an account executive salary is primarily influenced by the firm and they work for, followed by geographic location and tenure. Overall, most account executives purport extremely high levels of job satisfaction and career motivation.