The role of an Account Executive, in the sales sector, is to drive the promotion and purchase of a particular product or service and to maintain and encourage relationships with clients.
Account executives are seen as the financial drivers behind the company and are responsible for keeping the business moving forward. It is the Account Executive's responsibility to promote and sell the company's product or service which could be anything from advertising space to hardware products.
The role varies further depending on the product itself, some Account Executive roles will require graduates to form lasting relationships with clients to consistently sell certain products in large orders or sell the service for a significant length of time. While other Account Executive roles will involve cold calling and quick pitching of products with the aim of making a one off sale or drumming up new business.
These two different types of Account Executive are usually differentiated by the abbreviations of B2B for business to business where longer lasting relationships are formed and B2C for Business to customer/consumer where more direct selling would take place.
To be successful in this role graduates need to ooze confidence, people skills and sometimes have the gift of the gab. While most importantly, Account Executives need to have an understanding of the customer, the product and have a good bit of business nous.
Much of this work is high pressure and requires graduates to hit KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), however, the rewards can be great and graduates can make a lot of money and gain some key skills very quickly.
Account Executive Salaries
The average salary for an Account Executive is £21,606, a very respectable sum for graduates fresh onto the job market. However, salaries for Account Executives can be extremely rewarding. Don't be fooled by the average salaries displayed in the graph above, because Account Executives in the sales sector can earn extremely well.
Much of the earnings is made up by bonuses after hitting targets and this is paid on top of their basic salary. Because the role of Account Executive in sales is about bringing revenue into the company, they are often rewarded handsomely for their efforts.
As mentioned before, the focus of an Account Executive is hitting targets and KPIs so this is where they make their money. This is a rare field where the role suits graduates perfectly and there is a lot of money to be made if they work hard, similar perhaps to a Recruitment Consultant.
The Daily Duties of an Account Executive
The daily duties of an Account Executive are mainly focused around driving revenue for their company. This could be through an array of activities, but does involve the graduate Account Executive to be confident, charismatic and self-motivating, much of the position is an uphill struggle and has its peaks and troughs. The main duties of an Account Executive include:
- Selling - As an Account Executive in a Sales based role there will always be a time when you need to find a lead, pitch your product, negotiate the cost and then seal the deal. This could either be by cold calling potential clients or through dealing with incoming enquiries.
- Account Management - Once the dotted line has been signed, it's now up to the Account Executive to ensure that the service/ product is delivered to the customer/ clients satisfaction. This requires good organisational skills to keep on top of the different people and departments tasked with delivering the product or service. Often it's about discovering what the clients needs are, in order to provide them with a service they will use again.
- Client Interaction - Although email dominates most peoples working life in the modern day, an Account Exec is still expected to build personal relationships with clients. That could involve regular phone or face-to-face interaction to build trust and sentiment. It also helps if you're quite a liekable person who doesn't mind a bit of small-talk.
The duties of an Account Executive range widely depending on the product or service you are selling. There is also a large difference in daily activity depending on whether you are selling to another business or a single customer.