What is an Account Executive?
Account Executives are the primary point of contact between a vendor and a client. They manage the day-to-day interactions between both parties in order to achieve maximum customer satisfaction. It is also an Account Executive’s responsibility to help find new clients and bring new business to their company.
They work in a variety of industries, including advertising agencies and pharmaceutical manufacturers, as well as public relations firms and radio stations. Their primary responsibility is to develop new client relationships while also assisting in the cultivation of existing ones. They provide guidance while also assessing and ensuring that clients’ needs are met. They may write media pitches, contact social media influencers, provide product samples for editorial promotions, plan promotional events, and more.
The Account Executive must seek out a specific subset of customer feedback on a regular basis. While the customer success team may be interested in learning more about a user’s experience with the product’s features, the Account Executive wants to know how the customer emotionally connects with the product and, more importantly, the brand as a whole.
Not every business will require the services of an Account Executive. It is an investment position that typically indicates the presence of a healthy customer base, an efficient sales pipeline, and post-startup operational status.
Although they are referred to as executives, they are not traditional executives in the sense that they manage a team. Instead, they serve as the primary point of contact for new and existing clients.
Account Executives are high-energy individuals who enjoy working with others and solving problems.
An Account Executive’s responsibilities vary depending on the type of company they work for, but in general, they are in charge of both account acquisition and account management. Their job requirements include the following:
- Creating new accounts
- Preserving customer satisfaction.
- Removing competitive threats.
- Data collection and analysis
- Negotiating, tracking and maintaining records of the process from pitch to sale.
- Working to reach or exceed established sales quotas.
- Instructing and guiding prospects through the purchasing process
- Managing a pipeline of qualified leads in order to develop relationships with prospective customers.
- Collaborating with current key accounts to retain and grow their business.
- Presenting suggestions of products and/or services to clients.
- Securing deals with new and existing customers at or above target levels
- Collaborating with marketing and product teams to develop cross-functional sales strategies for new and existing products.
The average UK salary for Account Executives amounts to £28,000 per year, ranging from £22,000 to £77,000.
As with a lot of other jobs, location can influence the salary amount.
An Account Executive in London earns an average salary of £33,559 per year, which is significantly more than in other UK regions.
Many Account Executives receive additional compensation, known as a sales commission, when they meet or exceed their minimum sales targets.
Some are even compensated solely on commission. In any case, the practice seeks to incentivize and reward productivity and initiative, making this a highly competitive but rewarding career if you thrive when challenged.
Working hours and work location
Almost all Account Executives work in an office, and many travel to client meetings.
Although the advancement of technology has reduced the need for face-to-face communication, some businesses still send Account Executives to meet with clients in person, particularly for important discussions.
The majority of Account Executives work full-time from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. They may, however, be expected to arrive early for clients in different time zones or to work late to meet strict deadlines. The more hours an Account Executive typically works, the higher up they are on the corporate ladder or the more important their accounts are.
Hours are typically consistent throughout the year, but more work may be required at times depending on the client. Account Executives who work with florists or chocolatiers, for example, will most likely need to work extra hours around Valentine’s Day due to increased business.
What to expect
Account Executives use networking events, research, sales calls and visits, and other promotional tactics to connect with new clients. Their primary responsibility is to use sales strategies and psychological principles to establish relationships with new clients and earn their business. As a result, their daily tasks frequently include networking and promotion.
The internal structure of each company varies, so hierarchies differ, but an Account Executive reports to a designated Senior Account Executive, Account Manager, or Department Director. In some cases, an Account Executive may directly report to the agency’s director or the president/principal.
Account Executives are responsible for growing customer accounts, removing competitive threats, and maintaining customer and account satisfaction. They are proactive and inquisitive members of a healthy sales team, and they frequently identify client growth opportunities before they identify a need or gap for themselves.
Account Executives frequently hold regular (sometimes daily) meetings to keep company management and relevant teams up to date on projects and client expectations.
Accounting software such as QuickBooks and Sage, as well as Microsoft Office and customer relationship management (CRM) software, should be familiar to Account Executives.
There is no one-size-fits-all path to becoming an Account Executive, but a bachelor’s degree is advantageous.
Although any degree or HND is usually accepted, the following subjects may be especially beneficial when it comes to undergraduate or postgraduate degree:
Obtaining a masters degree in any of the above mentioned areas will solidify your chances of landing the best paid jobs with the most prestigious companies.
In addition to relevant education and work experience in order to excel in the Account Executive role, you'll need the following skills:
must have skills:
- Organisational abilities
- Management skills
- Decision making
- Excellent interpersonal skills
- Analytical abilities
- Communication skills, both oral and written
- Client relations
- Problem-solving abilities
- Presentation abilities
- Goal orientation
- Persuasion skills
You’re off to a good start with a degree in business, marketing/advertising, public relations or communications.
Furthermore, if you want to work at an agency, your best bet is to start with an internship and work your way up the ladder at an agency or in the media industry to build necesary contacts.
Because most Account Executive positions require at least three years of sales experience, plan to work in an entry-level sales role for at least three years before seeking a promotion.
Experience as an advertiser, sales manager, accountant, or project manager can aid in the development of the skills required to become an Account Executive. Basic knowledge in these fields can be supplemented by industry-specific on-the-job training.
Most companies seek Account Executives with industry experience who are dedicated to the position. Additionaly, they prefer to hire Account Executives who will stay with them for an extended period of time, developing long-term relationships with their clients.
The UK offers numerous job opportunities for Account Executives. In order to get better access to them, you will need to take initiative towards working in this sector.
There are several paths to becoming an Account Executive, but the majority of applicants will take the following steps:
- Obtain a bachelor’s degree, typically in business, communications, marketing, or a related field
- Gain sales experience.
- Acquire management experience
- Develop key skills
One of the more common paths to an Account Executive position is to gain experience and contacts in a lower-level position, such as a Sales Representative or Account Coordinator. You can then advance to the position of Account Executive. You’ll most likely start as a junior Account Executive reporting to a senior Account Executive, and if you excel in your role, you’ll be in a good position to advance up the Account Executive ranks.
Those with no prior experience as Account Executives should consider the following steps that could help with landing their dream job:
- Research the responsibilities and skills that employers want
- Analyse their skill gap by comparing what skills they have to what employers want
- Find a mentor
- Learn about or take courses on account management
- Update your CV to tailor experience to Account Executive jobs
Account Executives can advance to senior positions such as Vice President of Business Development or Chief Operations Officer (COO). These positions require working with high-profile clients on a case-by-case basis, but the majority of their time is spent improving their company’s workflow.
This is a full-time curriculum, delivered by the University of the West of Scotland London. To accommodate their schedules, students can choose from a variety of start dates. UWS London provides their students with the opportunity to learn from industry experts and guest lecturers, as well as professionals with years of experience. The best thing about this course is that it is held at the London Campus, in the very heart of the UK’s business capital.