Did you know professionals in sales departments tend to experience more burnout and are likely to quit within a year?
As an account executive, your job might not be as strenuous as that of a sales representative, but the pressure to meet targets is always there. Whether you’ve just started in this role or you’ve been at it for some time, one thing is certain: you want to succeed.
Of course, success as an account executive comes primarily in the form of meeting sales targets. But there’s a lot more.
In this article, we’re sharing helpful tips and expert advice on how to excel in account management and have a fruitful career.
1. Set Personal Targets
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In a nutshell, an account executive is in charge of an existing client account. You are responsible for meeting the needs of the client and ensuring all their orders are processed in good time.
When you first start in this position, you’ll find that your employer has already set targets for that account. This is usually in terms of sales volume, but there can be other targets, such as client engagement and sales volume.
At a minimum, your employer or sales manager requires you to meet those targets. But, depending on the nature of the industry, most people in the same role can easily meet those targets. After all, it’s the sales reps doing the heavy lifting most of the time.
The difference between a good account executive and a great one is the ability to surpass the set targets. There are many strategies you can deploy to help you surpass those targets, but one of the most effective is setting personal goals or targets.
If you’re in charge of an account that is expected to do $20,000 in sales every month, for example, set a personal target of $25,000. This way, you’ll have the natural drive to push for more sales and surpass the company’s target for the account. Even if you fall short of your personal targets for the account, it’ll be easier to meet the company target.
That being said, don’t be overambitious when setting your own targets. They should be realistic and achievable.
2. Understand Your Client
When you’re handling a corporate client account, it’s easy to put emotions aside. Your focus is just to help the company you’re working for deliver what the client needs.
A pragmatic approach gets the job done, but when you’re looking to stand out as an account executive, don’t ignore the emotional factor. You see, behind that corporate account is a real human being, someone with emotions.
Understanding your corporate client is all about understanding the person behind the account. When you know what their preferences are as a corporate buyer, you’ll be better positioned to customize your service to meet their needs.
For example, let’s say the person behind that corporate account is a millennial. With this information, you can pick a communication channel that the person prefers.
Since it’s an established fact that millennials hate phone calls, you wouldn’t want to make calls the primary method of communication with them. If they’re a boomer, though, you can dial that phone whenever you want to communicate!
3. Nurture Your Interpersonal Skills
A day in the life of an account executive typically involves interacting with other people. It’s not likely that you would be in this role if you didn’t possess good interpersonal skills. And to be successful, you’re going to need them.
Some account executives forget that they need to keep improving their people skills after they’ve settled into the job. It’s understandable that in a high-pressure sales environment the last thing on your mind is improving your ability to communicate with others. But, it should be one of your top priorities.
Always find opportunities beyond work to interact and communicate with people from diverse backgrounds. The more you do this, it’ll be easier for you to strike a rapport with anyone and communicate effectively in verbal and non-verbal ways.
There are also other account executive skills you need to be a competent, well-rounded professional. For instance, you need strong organizational and analytical skills because you’ll be dealing with vast amounts of data and documentation. Focus on nurturing these skills as well.
4. Enhance Your Professional Knowledge
To be hired as an account executive, one needs at least a bachelor’s degree in sales and marketing, business administration, economics, or another closely-related field. Plenty of sales experience is also required.
Don’t put an end to your learning once you’ve gotten into account management. It’s important to keep enhancing your professional knowledge if you want to be successful. The sales industry is getting more competitive, meaning employers want the cream of the crop.
Going in for a master’s degree in sales management or leadership is a smart move, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t have the time or money at the moment. There are short executive sales courses you can pursue and earn certifications.
5. Embrace Technology
Maybe you’re an old-school sales pro; the kind that puts all their trust in traditional selling techniques. Or perhaps you’re warming up to newer technologies but aren’t fully sold.
Here’s the thing: technology is indispensable in sales.
Your clients have evolved and they’re using sophisticated devices to do their jobs. If you’re stuck in the old times, you aren’t going to be successful as an account executive.
There’s technology that will make every aspect of your job easier. If you’re on the hunt for new prospects, for example, use prospecting methods that rely on technology, such as email marketing. If you need software for appointment scheduling, sales intelligence, task management, or note-taking, you’ll find a host of options.
Be A Trailblazing Account Executive
You’ve made remarkable progress to become a sales account executive. Like most sales jobs, success doesn’t come on a silver platter.
To be a successful executive, you need more than personal drive and determination. You must be willing to improve your occupational skills and knowledge, and technology has to be at the heart of what you do.
All the best and keep tabs on our blog for more career tips and advice.