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
Strong interpersonal and customer service skills
Excellent leadership abilities
Problem-solving and management skills
Strong communication skills
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.
Los Angeles, California
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
New York City, New York
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.
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.
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.
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
Projected Employment in 2021
Projected 2019-2029 Percentage Shift
Projected 2019-2029 Numeric Shift
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?
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