On paper, pretty much any sales job can sound interesting — including the Account Executive (AE) role. But reading a job description doesn’t typically give you a very good sense of what is actually done during a day in the life of an AE.
And those day-to-day tasks can be the deciding factor in whether you choose to pursue the role.
That said, here’s a quick rundown of what an AE’s responsibilities tend to be (at least on paper). There are 4 primary areas that an AE covers:
- Closing accounts
AEs receive leads from SDRs, then meet with and demo their organization’s products. They tailor the offering to the customer and strive to close the deal.
- Growing accounts
After that, it’s not enough to simply navigate existing customer accounts and provide for their needs when they express interest — an AE actively looks for and creates opportunities to increase business from existing clients that wouldn’t have been possible without the AE doing so.
- Eliminating competitive threats
AEs also ensure that competitors can’t “poach” customers from their company. That means proactively thinking about what a competitor’s shortest path to success would be if they wanted to steal an account — then opening a dialogue with out-of-reach teams, and working with product to build offerings into their roadmap.
- Maintaining + improving customer satisfaction
AEs seek out regular customer feedback from customers about how the company is doing as their vendor. Not only do these questions cover the good and bad things, but they should also actively probe deeper to see how the customer feels about the vendor on a more emotional level. This also forms the basis of a strategy to improve the customer’s satisfaction.
That’s a very general overview of what an AE does; and again, it doesn’t really give you a close look at specific daily and weekly tasks. Here’s what they actually do, day-in and day-out.
Morning, Noon, and Afternoon
We provided some specific times for clarity’s sake, but those can vary, depending on the organization and industry. Most AEs work full time from about 8 — 5 but may have to stay late to meet strict deadlines, or come in early to overlap with different customer time zones.
7:30: Email + Coffee.
While in line at your favorite cafe, checking some inbound emails. Giving some quick responses to anything urgent, or those that can be responded to quickly. Making a note of any questions that need a researched answer or other insight.
8:00: Team or SDR/AE meeting.
Deciding what needs to happen today and establishing 2-3 priorities between the two of you. For example:
- 3 demo calls with follow-up for the AE.
- Identify 50 new prospects and create a sequence with valuable insights for the SDR.
8:30: Email + research.
Dig in and makes notes on the people you’re going to talk to today. This includes being prepared with the right questions to ask and relevant use-cases for each customer.
9:45: First call or customizing proposal
Starting at about 9:45-10am, start with your first call for the day. During the call, you’re not selling, you’re discussing the prospect’s problems, listening, and helping them make an educated decision.
Or, customize a product proposal for a customer.
11:30: Follow up.
Following up on your earlier call so it doesn’t go to waste.
Leave the office, go for a walk, get something to eat. It’s healthy to leave the office for a lunch hour, but busy workloads can lead to that not always being possible. In that case, it’s a quick lunch or lunch at your desk.
1:00: Checking LinkedIn and email.
Same as earlier, dealing with the urgent and quick first; marking anything else that requires further research first. This also includes returning any missed calls, particularly with clients.
2:00: Calls, meetings, and closing deals.
Time for discovery calls with the prospects you researched and prepped for this morning, as well as closing deals. Shooting for 4-5 calls, but probably reach 3-4 with the need to customize quotes and proposals, then follow up.
4:00: Calling/emailing past and current customers/partners, and prospects.
This includes customers you closed a month ago to see if they’re happy — and when they say they are, ask “Do you know anyone else that can benefit from [your solution]”?
This likely means leaving voicemails — rarely, you’ll actually get your customer or prospect on the line. Leaving a brief, energetic voicemail is the next best thing.
5:00: Go home.
Tips to “kill” your day+week
Consider skipping any social activities or check-in calls and emails. For many, Monday is all-business, all-day. But, that can also make it the perfect day for you to book or have your own internal meetings.
On Friday afternoons
Don’t bother following up. Any action taken or requested will wither and die over the weekend. Unless it’s an urgent matter, just wait till Sunday evening. Speaking of which…
On Sunday evenings
An hour or so on Sunday evening is an excellent productivity window to take advantage of. This is a good time to reach out and get through to executive-level prospects. It’s also a good time to do some prep work for the week.
Pitfalls to avoid
8pm — another window of opportunity
After you’ve gotten home, keep your phone near at hand. At around 8pm, the executives you’re working with are finally reaching their own email window for the day. If you don’t have your phone nearby, you may miss out on the conversation — and tomorrow morning is too late to catch up.
End of day
Skip the check-in email, no matter how tempting it is. And if you do decide to send one, most definitely skip the “mass personalized” email.
Skipping colleague meetings
Internal meetings are often a headache, but they’re necessary. AE’s spend a lot of time communicating with customers and prospects, but your colleagues — SDRs, Customer Service reps, managers — are on the front lines. That means you can leverage their insights about current clients and prospects that you might not receive otherwise.
The Account Executive role can be an exciting position to move into, but if you start training to become one, then find out that the day-to-day tasks just aren’t interesting to you — what do you do then?
Hopefully, in this post, we cleared up any questions or doubts you had. AE’s typically spend their days communicating with customers and prospects to determine their needs, developing proposals, then demoing, pitching, and closing deals. Finally, they follow up with both existing and prospective customers, and actively work to improve customer satisfaction and account growth.