Account executives are also known as account handlers.
Their job is one of the most taxing in sales.
It is one of the most extensive in the industry as they are responsible for sales pitches, PR, advertising, directing workflow, reaching compromises, and much more.
Account executives should possess multiple specialties, so their income is usually higher than other professionals in the industry.
However, the salary is still considered to be at a low level because of the wide range of responsibilities and high levels of stress they experience every day.
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What Does an Account Executive Do
An account executive performs a function of a liaison between the advertising agencies and clients.
They deal with selling the services of the agency to various clients, preparing contracts, researching the products, reaching an agreement with a client, and helping fulfill contracts.
Similar to other jobs in the sales industry, an account executive needs a particular set of skills and qualities without which they wouldn’t be able to do their job.
Of course, the skills required for different jobs vary.
Usually, this is handled by the executives of the companies.
The following list contains the most common responsibilities an account executive is tasked with:
- Meeting with clients and discussing their requirements.
- Cooperating with account planners.
- Developing campaigns that meet clients’ ideas and budgets.
- Presenting the prices of the company to customers.
- Determining the direction in which the project should go.
- Informing the advertising creative team about the picked direction.
- Negotiating with customers and resolving their issues.
- Ensuring the project is meeting a deadline.
- Checking and reporting the progress of the campaign.
- Keeping in touch with customers during all stages and levels of the campaign.
- Invoicing clients.
- Managing the account budget.
- Winning over new clients and businesses.
Account executives need excellent negotiation skills to sell accounts and negotiate contracts.
They should be professional and persuasive.
Account executives need great management and organizational skills.
They should also possess superior leadership and decision-making skills.
Additionally, they should be able to maintain professional relations with clients.
Strong interpersonal and communication skills are essential for the job.
Account executives need strong verbal and writing skills.
Superior customer service skills, charisma, and public speaking abilities are significant as well.
Account executives need a great business sense and knowledge of the latest advertising and marketing trends.
They should also be highly proficient with numbers and budgets.
With a certain measure of tact and confidence, account executives can maintain professional relations with clients.
Besides, these professionals should have advanced problem-solving skills and be able to work long hours under stress.
How to Become an Account Executive
Of course, the aspects of the job vary depending on the position each employee holds.
For instance, an account executive on the radio has different responsibilities from the national account executive.
In a similar way, a person who works for an agency as an accounting junior assistant has different responsibilities and pay from an accountant executive of a radio station, and so on.
Training and Qualifications
First, aspiring account executives need to hold a bachelor’s degree.
The degrees can relate to marketing, advertising, journalism, administration, or other related specialties.
Prospective account executives can take an internship and receive on-the-job training as well.
On-the-job training is a very common thing in the US because the employees need to learn a lot about doing this job before they actually start.
Unless they are properly trained, the company risks losing clients or having awful campaigns and poorly managed accounts.
The bachelor’s degrees that can be helpful for this job include the following:
- Media studies.
- Operational research.
What’s interesting, even though this position deals with a lot of responsibility and money, the experience isn’t that significant for getting the job.
It is relevant for the position, just like with any other sales job.
But prospective account executives can still win a job over more experienced candidates.
The one thing that having experience influences the most is salary.
An employee with more extensive experience will always earn more than an inexperienced one.
Over the years, experienced account executives can get a pay raise to $15,000 or more.
Account executives work standard hours, Monday through Friday, from 9 am to 6 pm.
Sometimes, if they have deadlines approaching, they may have to start the day earlier or stay later in the evening.
This can also include weekends as well as traveling for meetings with clients.
Even though account executives may have to work extra hours, overtime is rarely paid.
Instead, some employees can get time off.
Job-sharing and part-time in this position are also possible.
Additionally, some larger agencies offer paid sabbaticals after a certain time of service.
The salary of an account executive can vary greatly.
Some make pretty decent money while others can barely make the minimum wage.
While the average salary is $50,000, it can range from $30,000 to $90,000, or higher.
Even though the average salary is around $50,000, most people move to other positions after 20 or more years of work.
Some jobs are better paid than others.
For instance, the account executive in the insurance field working for AFLAC can make more money with commissions than a sales account executive.
The employment rate of account executives is expected to grow by 9% until 2024, which is a little faster than for other occupations.
While you need a bachelor’s degree to enter the field, certification, internships, and on-the-job training can also help get the job.
The job of an account executive is one of the most complicated in the sales industry with multiple responsibilities.
However, they can make decent money that makes up for all the stress and work.