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What Does a Sales Account Executive Do?

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  • Written By: Kenneth W. Michael Wills
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2016
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Although job descriptions for a sales account executive can vary among organizations, the primary responsibilities inherent to the position are similar. Soliciting for new business is the primary focus in the role; however, how this is accomplished will depend on the company hiring. Some positions will require a focus on bringing in new customers, while others will focus on nurturing relationships with current customers to encourage additional business. Most often though, the role will involve a combination of the two with the objective of increasing new sales and growing profitability from existing accounts. The account executive accomplishes this following an established marketing plan and using his sales, prospecting and customer relationship abilities to earn new business, while following up with customers after the sale in regular intervals to ascertain progress.

Prospecting for new business is central to the sales account executive role. Whether through phones calls or in-person visits, individuals filling this role will approach potential customers to introduce his or her company and its products or services. As well, he or she will approach existing customers or establish new contacts within an existing account, to introduce additional products and services from which the customer may benefit. Keeping a pipeline full of new prospects from both approaches is essential to achieving sales goals.

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Understanding the needs of customers and tailoring his or her sales approach to address those needs are crucial aspects of presenting products and services. This process involves speaking with new prospects or existing customers, asking relevant questions related to their business, and outlining potential solutions where there is a fit. A good sales account executive spends a great deal of his or her time listening to existing customers and potential customers, in order to understand what is important to them. Doing so is part of establishing a working relationship and tailoring responses that address concerns, demonstrating empathy for the customer’s situation.

Qualifying customer concerns is also part of what a sales account executive does. While listening is important, affirming what is communicated ensures that he or she has all the information needed and that the information is understood correctly. Showing potential customers how his or her products and services can help the customer address those concerns is accomplished through a tailored sales presentation that is most often interactive, rather than rehearsed.

After the sale, a sales account executive does not walk away and leave the customer to deal with other representatives in his or her organization. Instead, he or she will engage that customer on a regular basis to ensure his or her solution is meeting the customer’s needs, while also addressing issues the customer might have in using the new product or service. Additionally, he or she will use this interaction to identify other opportunities to offer other products and services that might be of benefit to the customer might.

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