Have you always been smooth when talking to people? If you have always wanted to get involved in the corporate sector, you have the upper hand in attaining that goal. This hidden talent can get you a great job as an account executive.
Account executives closely work with the company’s clients and pave the way for the company’s growth. That sounds like a great job, right? However, there is a but; even if you have a great resume, you must show up for an interview.
Interviews can make anyone nervous and blabber because most people do not attend the interview prepared. Sometimes, your brain will shut down during the interview because it is not ready for a specific question.
We don’t want you to have the same experience. That is why we researched and narrowed down some account executive interview questions that will help you prepare for the big day.
What Does an Account Executive Do?
An account executive is also known as a key account executive or account handler. They specialize in handling clients, finding leads, providing client support, handling complaints, closing client deals, generating sales approaches, and meeting the company’s daily quota or goal.
Usually, IT firms, advertising, fashion, marketing industries, and other corporate organizations employ account executives to enhance the company’s client relationships and take them to great heights of success.
Responsibilities and Duties
Account executives work in leadership positions where they have to deal with clients and fulfil their work based on their suggestions. So, before we move on to the account executive interview questions, you should know about the position’s duties and responsibilities, such as
- Meeting clients and understanding their project requirements
- Supporting clients with their queries
- Collecting information on the project’s funding, capacity, and deadlines
- Creating updated sales approaches and distributing work
- Dealing with the clients about the company’s terms and conditions
- Discussing project goals, deadlines, results, and progress with other team members
- Maintaining and updating clientele databases
- Getting in touch with clients to get feedback on the ongoing work
- Researching and analyzing trending data for developing project structure
- Negotiating budgets and deadlines with clients
- Forming new teams to assist with new projects, buyers, and clients
- Supervising teams to get the work completed on time
- Presenting a draft and demonstrating it to the possible clients
- Cold calling organizations for future new sales
- Organizing online meetings with prospective clients to fill up the remaining quota
- Updating sales records in the company’s online CRM system
- Staying up-to-date on company policies, offerings, and trends
- Giving support to clients for their complaints
- Contacting external businesses and internal organizational departments and maintaining a mutually profitable relationship
- Cooperating with the primary decision makers to find developmental systems and create a better sales record
- Observing trade events and organizing service presentation programs
Basic Skills Needed for an Account Executive Job
Employers hire account executives primarily for their people skills and ability to communicate with potential and current clients. Although a degree in business is a vital requirement, there are many other skills an account executive must have to be considered for the job.
If you have the below-mentioned skills, you are in luck and are likely to get appointed. But, if you don’t, we advise you to get working on them. It never hurts to learn something new, right?
1. Educational Qualifications
Most well-paying jobs require a person to have a degree in a specific field. To apply for an account executive position, you must have a Bachelor’s Degree in Business, Accounting, or any other related field. Having a Master’s Degree in the areas mentioned earlier is a bonus.
2. Account Executive Skills (Must Haves)
Other than a degree, one must have the following essential skills.
- Sales and account administration skills
- Leadership skills
- Good communication skills—oral and written
- Thorough knowledge of the applied company’s trends and offerings
- Great motivation and high energy to handle multiple client accounts
- Organizational skills
- Ability to handle multiple tasks
- Able to allocate efficient budget plans
- Ability to work in teams
- Ability to plan project strategies according to a client’s requirements
- Great time management
- Able to operate or use a CRM software system and MS Office.
- Ability to make on-the-point decisions and negotiations with clients
3. Bonus Skills
If you already have experience working as an account executive, you will likely land a job at your selected organization. Some account executive jobs require additional skills depending on the work field or environment. On the other hand, some companies require additional licenses and certifications from your passing institution or previous company. So, before applying for a position, be sure to check what the company is looking for.
Common Questions Asked in the Interview for an Account Executive Job
The interview is your time to convince potential employers that you are qualified for the position and have the values to work in their company. Usually, employers prepare interview questions for account executives based on how they want them to work for the company.
Moreover, not all the interview questions are by the book. Some are more strategically questioned, which requires preparation. Even if you have a good understanding of the position and an excellent resume, a minor hindrance in your interview can ruin it all. So, we are here to help you and let you know how to ace an account executive interview.
Question#1: How will you define the role of an account executive?
(Employers ask this question to know if you have knowledge about the job responsibilities. You should be able to answer the duties of the account executive properly.)
Sample Answer: An account executive is required to support clients, create sales strategies, complete daily goals and quotas, manage and distribute work between team members, find good leads, close sales deals, handle client queries, and manage the company’s sales records. But primarily, an account executive must focus on working to bring in more clients to help the company develop without hampering the quality of the services they are providing.
Question#2: Which skill do you think is the most important for this position/the account executive position?
(The employer asks this question to get a clear idea of your skills and if you will be suitable for the position. They also want to determine if you have what it takes to succeed in this job. Your answer should be straightforward and focused on the skill sets mentioned in your CV.)
Sample Answer: I don’t think only one skill is important for an account executive. One should have organizational, interpersonal, and leadership skills interlinked to perform the best at their job. Organizational skills will help me handle and maintain multiple clients.
My interpersonal skills will help me effectively communicate with prospective clients. Lastly, my leadership skills will make me a better decision-maker and an excellent leader. I am confident that all my skills will help me achieve great heights as an account executive.
Question#3: Tell me about a situation you faced that showed determination as an account executive.
(The employer asks this question to determine the applicant’s problem-solving skills. They look for qualities that can help them solve problems and handle complicated situations. The best way to answer this question is to briefly explain a work experience that shows your determination for the job.)
Sample Answer: When I first joined my previous job as an account executive, I noticed that many clients had left the company for better services provided by other companies.
We were losing clients fast, so we needed an immediate strategy. I looked through our clientele database, found the flaws, and immediately formed a team to handle the issues.
I changed our marketing strategy and made an improved sales plan for clients. We slowly got new clients and even many of our old clients returned for our services. Overall, I believe my quick thinking and strategy plan worked for the best of the company.
Question#4: What makes you a good account executive?
(The employer wants to get your views on your own work and determine how they can train you to be better. It is best if you can describe some of your best accomplishments. You should never be too overconfident with the response and should answer modestly.)
Sample Answer: I know I am an excellent account executive because I carry all the necessary skills to perform well in the job. I believe I am good at communicating with clients and pitching sales strategies. Usually, it makes my job easier for further negotiations and building better client relationships.
I also research the market for trends and changes before approaching a prospective buyer, which makes the process of communication easier. It also helps develop a project based on the client’s requirements.
Question#5: How can you build a successful and reliable relationship with the client?
(Through this question, the employer wants to know how you approach a client. They want to see if you are capable of handling demanding clients. You should answer the question by describing your client approach strategy and then mention how you will handle difficult clients.)
Sample Answer: Building a trustable relationship with the client is very important. I always prepare early by reviewing the client’s file and preparing a small presentation. Later in the meeting, I listen to the client’s needs and then advise them on how they can make their project more efficient. This allows them to know that I am experienced in handling such projects.
I show them my presentation and briefly explain my draft project strategy to give them an idea of how I will progress through their work. 85 percent of the time, the client signs the deal with my company.
My patience and communication skills have helped me deal with many clients. Some clients are hard to convince and challenging. I patiently listen to them and try to find out what they want. Then, I create a draft plan in front of them and assure them that our program will aid them more than any other company.
Additional Interview Questions for the account executive position:
Employers also ask many by-the-book questions to test your field knowledge. These questions are not that hard if you have paid attention to your courses during your Bachelor’s Degree. Still, we will help you with some of the most common by-the-book account executive interview questions.
Question#6: Can you explain the financial accounting for VC money?
Answer: If it is for financial aspects, the flow of money depends solely on the form it comes in the company. The VC money would come back as equity and show up on the credit sheet as “Paid in Capital” if the company invested in stocks. On the other hand, it will show “Unpaid Debt” if any loans had been sanctioned using VC money.
Question#7: Can you let me know about the basic accounting equation?
Answer: The basic accounting equation is formed by three terms: Liabilities, Capital, and Assets. These terms are interlinked and create the basic accounting equation, that is, Liabilities+Capital=Assets.
Question#8: Do you have any ideas about creative accounting? Have you used it in your work?
Answer: Well, I have always used creative accounting in my work. I believe that just noting down numbers that won’t even work for the company’s development is not helpful. One has to determine numbers in a way that will show positive and realistic results.
I was never afraid to be a bit creative at work. I researched the market and found possible working numbers that helped my company in the long run. Moreover, I also developed some innovative plans to make the best out of the numbers.
Question#9: How will you effectively analyze the market?
Answer: You can’t adequately analyze the market if you don’t do it on a regular basis. The market changes now and then, and I believe it is important to perform market research every day to cater to any client.
Sufficient and regular research will help the company tackle any obstacles in prospective projects and bring in more clients. Daily research will also give a clear idea about the competitors, and we can bring changes keeping that in mind.
Question#10: Do you have experience in using CRM? How will you use it as an account executive?
Answer: CRM is a crucial management tool for an account executive. CRM can give a holistic view of all the prospective and current projects, which one can share with other team members.
Moreover, it is user-friendly and efficient to update new client details. I prefer using CRM in my work because it helps me keep track of all the clients in just a few clicks and a single view.
Career Path of an Account Executive
You are not forever tied down to a job position when starting as an account executive. There is plenty of room to grow, and you can later join the sector you like the best. A wide variety of career paths will open once you get more experience and acquire the required skills in the field.
Companies promote account executives based on their performance and ability to meet the daily quota. The promotion usually takes place internally, but sometimes when they cannot find a suitable employee, they look for external applicants who would be a good fit for the job.
So, if you have just joined or are going to join a company, here are the career paths you can take when having the opportunity to do so.
1. Sales Representative
In the beginning, you may start as a sales representative, a junior-level position. But, with a little effort, gained experience, and a proven capability of meeting quotas, you will soon climb the stairs to higher positions.
Company managers hire sales representatives to reach potential clients and present and sell the organization's services and products. Having great interpersonal skills is the key to acing this position.
2. Account Manager
Account managers distribute sales work to sales representatives, manage the sales record, and maintain a good relationship with the clients. They develop strategies to maintain productive relationships with current business clients and focus on attracting new customers. The company benefits from them when their work helps increase the profit margin.
3. Sales Director
A sales director manages and leads the sales approaches in a company. They develop techniques and strategies to meet deadlines, grow client-company relationships and estimate the sale price of the company’s services based on the market.
4. Marketing Director
You can say that marketing directors are the face of the organization’s brand. They create and help grow a company’s image and brand value to ensure competitiveness among other similar companies. They mainly handle the advertisement part of sales in the company, which is actually a vital selling strategy.
5. Chief Operations Officer (COO)
COOs are corporate leaders who usually work with high-profile, long-term clients on a “case-by-case” system. They oversee ongoing projects and businesses in the organization and report to the CEO. Improving and maintaining the workflow of the organization is their primary duty.
In many companies, this position is also known as “Vice President of Business Development and Operations Director,” which is second-in-authority right after the company’s CEO.
Current and Future Market Demand for an Account Executive Job
An account executive is a pretty demanding job position in the job market. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, account executives’ jobs are likely to grow by 5% from 2014 to 2024. However, recent calculations say that the US will notice about 5% average growth for all job sectors in the job market between 2021 and 2031.
The growing demand percentage of the job will account for the requirement of 19,000 individuals each year. In the coming years, 41,900 vacancies may be available for the Sales Manager position to replace employees who will retire and transfer to other career paths.
Is it a good career choice?
We believe the job market is pretty great for account executives as the world is advancing into new developments and companies now require more account executives to handle such a vast number of clients.
Salary Range of an Account Executive
An account executive’s salary depends on their work experience, work demand, and performance. In the United States, $86,588 is the annual estimation of the total compensation for an account executive with a $59,574 average salary per year. Not bad at all! Aside from the salary, they can also get additional pay of $27,014 annually as dividends, commission, bonuses, or profit distribution.
As of today, the Information Technology (Median Total Pay of $172,447), Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology (Median Total Pay of $ 170,423), Aerospace and Defense (Median Total Pay of $159,554), Energy, Mining and Utilities (Median Total Pay of $154,918), and Construction, Repair and Maintenance Services (Median Total Pay of $128,821) sectors of the United States have the highest pays for account executives.