Account ExecutiveJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

People who are ambitious, have great communication skills, and like working with people are a great fit for an account executive position. Account executives need to be goal-oriented, determined, and always ready to get the job done. 

Account executives are the contact points between a business and its clients and vendors. They manage all sales-related interactions with both in support of current contracts, while continuously building stronger relationships with both, and making sure both parties are satisfied. They also find creative ways to locate prospective clients and close sales deals to create new customers. These executives work in various industries, such as advertising, public relations, financial services, and technology.

Account executives perform various jobs, including planning and coordinating account activity, handling press releases, giving media pitches, managing blogger and influencer outreach, heading up press conferences, providing product samples for editorial placement, and managing promotional events.

Sample job description

Come grow with us! [Your Company Name] is currently seeking an account executive for an exciting opportunity. In this role, you will be charged with identifying and closing sales opportunities with the clients you manage. This includes contract renewals, up-sells, and cross-sells. Additionally, you will provide a high level of quality of service to our customers. The ideal candidate will be motivated to succeed, well-organized, able to prioritize, and able to work well with a team.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Creating detailed sales strategies to meet predetermined goals and quotas
  • Managing the sales cycle, from locating a prospective client to securing a deal
  • Making sure client needs are met
  • Uncovering new sales opportunities through networking and turning them into long-term partnerships
  • Presenting products and services to prospective clients
  • Providing excellent support to existing clients to maximize customer loyalty
  • Maintaining a close relationship with clients to build close relationships and meet customer needs
  • Resolving issues and handling complaints to the customer’s satisfaction
  • Maintaining the company’s reputation
  • Negotiating sales agreements 
  • Compiling and analyzing data to find trends
  • Staying current on company offerings and industry trends

Education and experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, or related field
  • Some fields may require additional certifications or licenses
  • Three years experience in sales

Required skills and qualifications

  • Creativity and organizational skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Strong interpersonal and customer service skills
  • Excellent leadership abilities
  • Sales expertise
  • Problem-solving and management skills
  • Strong communication skills

Preferred qualifications

  • Experience landing new clients
  • Experience managing clients and promotions
  • Excellent time management
  • Experience negotiating with clients for products or services 
  • Experience negotiation contracts
  • Experience in networking to find potential clients

Average salary and compensation

The average base salary for an account manager is $66,000 per year in the United States. While only base salaries are reflected here, commissions and bonuses may greatly increase total compensation. Additionally, salaries will vary based on experience, company size, industry, and geographic market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$65,650$88,800
Los Angeles, California$74,050$100,200
Denver, Colorado$61,700$83,500
Washington, DC$75,150$101,700
Miami, Florida$41,150$83,100
Orlando, Florida$56,650$77,200
Tampa, Florida$57,200$77,800
Atlanta, Georgia$60,000$81,200
Chicago, Illinois$69,000$93,350
Boston, Massachusetts$74,600$100,950
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$59,450$80,450
New York City, New York$78,450$106,250
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$63,950$86,500
Dallas, Texas$62,250$84,250
Houston, Texas$62,000$83,900
Seattle, Washington$71,800$97,150
National Average$56,100$88,800

Typical work environment

Do you enjoy getting to the heart of a topic? Are you an expert troubleshooter and instructor? A position as an account executive might be your ideal fit! Account executives may work out of a corporate setting or a home office, with their days often spent conducting client meetings and briefings. They might have to work overtime during busy seasons or to meet critical deadlines. Account executives might have to travel, sometimes extensively, to client meetings, presentations, or to meet with prospective customers. With today’s technology, many account executives conduct meetings virtually, but some still meet with clients face-to-face.

Typical hours

Most account executives work full-time, 8 AM to 5 PM. Some require you to come in early or stay late to meet with clients in different time zones or deadlines. Travel might also require weekends and being away from home for days at a time.

Available certifications

As account executives work in a wide range of industries, many accredited institutions offer certifications. Here are some of the best certifications available for account executives:

  • Certified Sales Professional (CSP). The Certified Sales Professional (CSP) certification is the mark of excellence in the sales field and is designed for sales professionals who want to be recognized for excellence in how well they handle even the largest accounts and how consistently they meet or exceed sales targets. The program provides candidates with a solid understanding of consultative selling. As a CSP, you demonstrate your ability to improve time and territory management, set goals, and prospect for clients, among other things. 
  • Certified Inside Sales Professional (CISP). The American Association of Inside Sales professionals designed this course for sales executives and account managers to develop essential qualities, competencies, and tactical skills required to perform the role of inside sales. A CISP will acquire and master the skills to identify target accounts and customers, research, prospect, handle objections, handle voicemail and email etiquettes, winning meetings, and the basics of territory, account, and channel management. The program covers a wide range of topics from successful processing to objection handling and demonstrates that your goal is to achieve the highest standard of excellence as a sales professional and that you have a desire to keep learning.
  • Certified Sales Executive (CSE). This certification is offered by Sales and Marketing Executives International and covers such topics as essential sales skills, how to communicate with customers, and how to manage sales and a sales team. The CSE demonstrates knowledge and understanding of core sales competencies, such as sales management, sales strategies, and buyer-seller relationships. Completion of the course gives you access to online forums, educational webinars, and peer connections for knowledge sharing and continued education.

Career path

To become an account executive, begin with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, advertising, business administration, or a related field. Some larger organizations might require a master’s degree. An account executive generally starts in a junior position, such as a sales representative or pre-sales consultant to gain exposure and sales experience. After a few years with a proven track record of meeting and exceeding sales targets, they can move into an account executive role. Opportunities for account executives to further their careers include becoming a sales director or a sales vice president.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 11-2022

2019 Employment397,900
Projected Employment in 2021425,800
Projected 2019-2029 Percentage Shift 7% increase
Projected 2019-2029 Numeric Shift27,900 Increase

As companies focus more on remote work, account executives will need to be very familiar with digital communications platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and others to conduct virtual client meetings, present presentations, close sales deals, etc. The need for account executives to be well versed in the demands of working in an online world, including sales, planning, and seeking out prospective clients, will continue to be important. The ability to reach across the country and the world instantly is opening up many more global opportunities, and account executives will need to be committed to engaging a diverse number of cultures and countries.

Sample interview questions

  • How do you handle rejection?
  • Are you comfortable making cold calls?
  • What methods do you employ to locate sales opportunities?
  • What makes an effective demonstration or presentation?
  • How do you build successful business relationships?
  • How familiar are you with using social media to identify potential clients?
  • How do you persuade a prospective client who refuses to buy?
  • How do you prioritize when you’re working on closing deals for multiple clients at the same time?
  • How do you handle dissatisfied or aggressive customers? 
  • Describe a time you solved a client’s problem.
  • What was the most difficult deal you closed?
  • How many customer contracts have you successfully negotiated? Can you tell me about one?
  • What did you do to meet an objective when odds were against you?
  • What was your most complicated sales cycle and how did you manage it?
  • Define the stages of the sales cycle. Which do you find most challenging and why?
  • What’s your least favorite part of the sales process? 
  • What was the quota in your previous position? What was your average deal size? How many people hit this number?
  • Tell me about a time when you were rejected.
  • Walk me through your biggest deal and how you closed it.
  • How do you manage your time between supporting your assigned clients while pursuing leads and making cold calls?

Account Executive Jobs in Ashburn

    Loading RSS Feed

Need help hiring an Account Executive?

We match top professionals with great employers across the country. Your next career move or star employee is just around the corner. Review our career content and advice, browse our latest job openings, or email us your resume. We look forward to connecting with you soon!

Browse A-Z Job Descriptions