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How to Hire an Account Executive?

January 3, 2023

If sales teams are responsible for bringing life to a business, Account Executives make sure it keeps breathing. While different companies have their own unique meaning for the term Account Executive based on the industry and business, the role is conventionally considered to be a part of the sales department.

However, the function of an Account Executive starts where the role of sales representative ends after onboarding customers. 

A sales rep is primarily responsible for selling a product or service. An Account Executive, on the other hand, manages existing client accounts. From understanding a client’s dynamic needs to catering to them, helping them grow, and retaining clients – Account Executives are expected to manage client relations seamlessly.

At a ground level, Account Executives’ main job is to deliver a superior customer experience and support clients by ensuring consistent value addition. 

No matter what type of business you operate, whether you sell products or services, or who you sell them to – retaining existing customers is much more economical and healthy for your company than acquiring new ones. Skilled Account Executives help you accomplish this goal.

But how do you hire an Account Executive for your company? What should you look out for in an ideal AE candidate? What does the job description of an Account Executive look like? Find out all of this, and more in the blog. Let’s get started straight away.  

What is The Role of an Account Executive?

An Account Executive is a sales professional who leverages their sales skills and experience, product expertise, and result-oriented procedure to assist both new and existing clients. 

From regularly interacting with customers and being a primary point of contact for the assigned accounts, to creating a roadmap for quality service – the roles and responsibilities of an Account Executive vary widely.

The primary responsibilities of an Account Executive include: 

  1. Provide Products and Services Demos

The first and most vital responsibility of Account Executives is demonstrating the products or services offered by a business to prospects. It also includes delivering demos for feature updates to existing customers.

Similar to assigning customers, a majority of businesses also assign certain prospects to Account Executives for managing their buying experience. 

Additionally, Account Executives are also responsible for sharing timely and brief updates with customers to keep them informed about new features, improved functionalities, and other updates. 

For example - If you offer a SaaS product that helps product teams to collaborate effectively, your Account Executive should be able to deliver appealing product demos. They should not only be well-versed with the product but should also be able to align the use cases to the client’s business and convince them that it’s a right fit.

  1. Procure Contract Extensions   

An Account Executive is required to ensure value addition and secure value for the company. How? By convincing customers and securing contract extensions, AEs also play a huge role in retaining clients. 

At the end of the day, superior customer satisfaction wins and an Account Executive has to take care of signing up extended contracts or purchasing more products/inventory from your company.

It should be noted that this role again requires AEs to study the client’s business, needs, and expectations thoroughly. So that they can make the right recommendations at the right time and ensure maximum value addition for both parties.

  1. Handle Customer Support
  • Account Executives are the first point of contact (POC) for a company’s customers.
  • They are responsible for handling all the complaints, issues, and needs of the assigned clients. 
  • AEs are also required to either resolve the problem themselves or assign a ticket to the customer support team. 
  • So an Account Executive should also be able to grasp the product knowledge deeply and troubleshoot the most common issues.

Account Executive Responsibilities Checklist

  • Focused on managing accounts (clients)
  • Communicating with clients proactively
  • Develop sales collaterals and demo documents
  • Track project progress, timelines, and expenses
  • Reports to a client about project updates
  • Presents company products and services to the client
  • Negotiates and closes contracts
  • Maintains a positive relationship with clients and tries to renew it
  • Meet clients to get feedback and inputs
  • Responsible for keeping clients satisfied

How to Hire an Account Executive: Step-By-Step? 

Account executives act as connecting bridges between businesses and their customers. They are responsible for customer assistance, forming and nurturing a great relationship with each client, and supervising the delivery of products or services while ensuring the client’s business objectives are effectively met.

Apart from ensuring that the existing clients assigned to them are cared for, Account Executives also work closely work with the sales team to close new deals, plan pitches and demos, and extend contracts. 

To sum up, here are the primary KRAs for an Account Executive irrespective of the industry or your business:

  • Maintain consistent and effective communication with assigned clients
  • Bring more business by prospecting for new customers
  • Analyze clients’ businesses and find out more relevant gaps that can be filled
  • Partner with sales teams for effective outreach, demos, and closing of new clients

What Should You Look for in an Ideal Account Executive?

  1. Extraordinary Communication Skills: Account executives primarily take care of communicating and following up with existing clients for delivering great customer experience. So the ideal AE candidate should be excellent in written and verbal communication.
  1. Proactive and Insightful: As the Account Executive will be your primary POC with clients, you need them to be proactive in terms of updating and informing clients. Secondly, business relationships are fostered through value addition, so your Account Executive for any client should always be equipped with relevant insights for business growth.
  1. Goal-oriented Approach: The least your clients care about is the effort your team puts into something. What concerns them is the value added to the business, which is primarily possible through a goal-oriented mindset.
  1. Negotiation Skills: One of the most frequent tasks of an AE involves positive negotiation with customers. From engagement contracts to deliverables and prospecting discussions – negotiation is a vital skill for Account Executives. 
  1. Organizational Abilities: An Account Executive needs to handle multiple clients having varying needs as they represent completely different industries and businesses. So an ideal candidate should be extremely focused and organized in order to be able to cater to your business requirements effectively.

Step 1: Analyze Your Business Needs and Find Out If You’re Ready to Hire

Answer the following questions before diving into hiring an Account Executive:

  • How many clients do you currently have? – If the current headcount of Account Executives is not enough to meet the business requirements effectively, you need to hire more Account Executives.
  • What’s the hierarchy you follow in your organization?  – Decide if you need to hire senior Account Executives who will guide the team or junior Account Executives to follow templatized performances and do on-ground work.
  • What are your business goals in the near future? – If you’re preparing to scale up and onboard new clients, you will definitely need more Account Executives to take over. Additionally, it will also help you finalize the seniority required for different open positions
  • How are your existing customers feeling? – Take feedback from customers about their experience while partnering with you. Consider their input while building your Account Executive team. Remember, the priority is delivering a high-quality customer experience. 

Step 2: Create a Job Description

Now that you have analyzed the business requirements, client feedback, and organizational goals, the next step is sourcing Account Executive candidates. For the same objective, you will first need to create a detailed and appealing job description that will help you attract top-quality candidates.

Wondering what should you absolutely cover in your job description? Have a look:

  • Job Title: The position you’re looking to fill. For example - Senior Account Executive. 
  • Roles & Responsibilities: A brief description of the candidate’s day-to-day tasks including everything they might ever need to do. From demos to clients to negotiation and managing quality customer service, everything should be covered.  
  • Skill Requirements: Skills and abilities a candidate must have to perform the job successfully. 
  • Perks and Benefits: The compensation details, perks of the job, and any other benefits. 
  • About the Company: Why should a candidate consider working as an accounts executive with your company?

Account Executive Job Description Template

Role

An Account Executive is responsible for building long-term connections with a variety of assigned clients and networking with top corporate stakeholders and leaders. They collaborate to deliver solutions timely and effectively in accordance with customer needs and the organization’s internal capabilities.

Responsibilities
  • Identify areas of improvement to meet sales quotas
  • Develop new business with existing clients
  • Prepare periodic reports and forecast key account metrics
  • Identify industry trends and learn about customer behavior
  • Resolve/prevent customer pain points and close agreements to maximize profits
  • Serve as point of contact for all customer accounts amongst various key stakeholders, both external and internal
  • Communicate with customers/clients to understand their needs, and explain solutions or product value
  • Build strong and long-lasting client relationships
Requirements
  • Proven work experience as an Account Executive, Key Account Manager, Sales Development Representative Sales or relevant role
  • Experience in delivering client-focused solutions based on customer needs
  • Proven ability to manage multiple projects at a time while paying strict attention to detail
  • Advanced MS Excel skills, along with CRM software like Salesforce or HubSpot
  • Ability to build rapport and collaborate with others within the company and externally
  • Understanding of product/service offered by the company
Soft Skills
  • Excellent verbal and written communications skills
  • Critical thinking and problem solving skills
  • Excellent listening, negotiation and presentation abilities
  • Performs a variety of task
  • Possess good leadership skills
  • A wide degree of creativity and latitude is desired
Nice to Have
  • Relevant industry experience preferred
  • Expertise in Microsoft Office Suite, Google Apps, Salesforce and help desk support software


Step 3: Source Candidates

Once you have the tailored job description in hand, it’s now time to do the ground work and source candidates. Create an attractive job post to promote your job across job boards and social channels.

  • Begin with what to expect from the role at your company?
  • Why should candidates apply for the position?
  • Highlight the growth opportunities 
  • State the company vision and mission
  • Briefly describe the recruitment process

Prepare an impactful job post and also execute paid job ad campaigns if required. The next step would be promoting your jobs on various job boards and hiring platforms. You can leverage the following platforms for hiring Account Executives:

  • LinkedIn
  • Indeed
  • Instahyre
  • ZipRecruiter
  • Monster
  • GlassDoor
  • CareerBuilder

Not to forget - almost 3/4th of the workforce includes passive candidates, so you cannot miss out on passive talent sourcing as well. Reach out to qualified candidates on LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Facebook and offer them suitable opportunities. 

Step 4: Evaluate Candidates 

Interview the candidates whose profiles got shortlisted. Keep in mind the parameters covering skills, relevant experience, and personality traits of candidates.

Here are the top factors you should consider while assessing candidates for Account Executive roles:

  • Proactive communication skills
  • Leadership capabilities
  • Intensive management skills
  • Relationship building  
  • Adaptability
  • Pressure handling

Step 5: Make the Hire

Reach out to selected Account Executives and communicate about the compensation. 

Further, extend your offer letter to all the candidates who have been selected. In the case of passive sourcing, extend to only those who were aligned with you on the compensation and are willing to move forward. 

Ensure having a deadline for the joining date and mention the necessary documents required by your recruiting team. 

  • Get the required documents and set up the offer agreements with candidates
  • Organize an orientation session for the onboarded candidates 
  • Introduce them to the entire team and the account management teams they will be working with
  • Guide the new candidates about your company management tools and communication channels
  • Provide candidates with forms for benefits and perks like Health Insurance.

Supercharge Your Hiring for Account Executive with Nurturebox 

Inbound candidate sourcing doesn’t work effectively anymore. Do you also find challenges in closing quality candidates through job posts even after spending on ads?

Don’t worry, passive candidate sourcing can be an optimal solution for hiring top Account Executive candidates.

Nurturebox is a one-stop talent sourcing and engagement platform which is powered by automation. Here’s how you can source product managers from LinkedIn using Nurturebox:

  • Install the Nurturebox Chrome plugin and sign up.
  • On your LinkedIn profile, start sourcing Account Executives with boolean searches stating the required experience from targeted locations and including other criteria
  • Add the qualified candidates to your sourcing campaign pipeline with just a click
  • Automate the candidate engagement through email, Whatsapp and LinkedIn direct messages for reaching out and nurturing candidates at scale.  

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