The Top 8 Ways To Become a Successful Account Executive
In 2022, only 23 percent of account executives hit their number. Given that, it has never been more crucial that AEs set themselves up for success.
Here are 8 tips from the Conquer Team:
1. Leverage All Your Communication Channels
Phone and email have been the two most predominant channels for sellers in the past, but it is important to leverage all communication paths available. Of course, buyers will still prefer a phone call or email when communicating with sales reps, but others might like a text or a message on LinkedIn. If email is still preferred, embedding a personalized video is an excellent way to spruce up your message; according to Vidyard, including videos in sales outreach has increased response rates for 60% of sales reps.
To be successful, sellers must understand the preferred methods of communication for each buyer they contact. This understanding will not only help reach the buyer faster but also will likely end up in a deal closing quicker because the buyer is much more likely to respond in a timely manner when being contacted on their preferred channel.
2. Stay Close to Your SDR
SDRs are successful account executives’ best friends. They are on the front lines, getting rejected 9 out of 10 times, attempting to set up discovery calls. Sellers must stay close to their SDR and coach them, as most AEs were once in their shoes, and understand the best practices needed to navigate the murky waters of cold calling. Additionally, staying closely aligned with the SDRs booking the discovery calls means that successful account executives will be armed with all the relevant information and context needed to progress and close that crucial opportunity.
3. Track Your Activity in the CRM
Bad data hygiene can sink even the most successful sellers, which is why it is critical that activity is logged in the CRM. This includes touchpoints, meetings, dispositions, etc., that ensure the most up-to-date information is available to the business. It is vitally important that sellers and other members of the organization know the context of past customer interactions to make informed decisions.
Manually tracking this data comes at a cost, however: Salesforce reports that sales reps spend 72% of their week managing data, tools, and other admin work instead of selling. Sales engagement platforms, such as Conquer, take this manual task off the shoulders of sellers. Fully native to Salesforce, all seller activity is automatically logged into the CRM so AEs can focus their time on what they do best – selling.
4. Personalize Your Outreach
Buyers get phone calls and emails from sellers every single day. For this reason, successful AEs often take the extra step to do some research on the person prior to outreach so they can add some level of personalization. According to Crunchbase, top sellers spend an average of 6 hours a week researching prospects. This could be as simple as searching the person’s LinkedIn profile to see if they have posted or commented anything about a particular pain point or as in-depth as reviewing a company’s quarterly earnings call to find valuable nuggets of information to utilize when connecting with executives.
5. Take Advantage of Internal Resources
Selling is a team sport. If an AE doesn’t go outside the sales department for help, it will be hard to be successful. There are many different people and roles who can be of assistance on deals. Product experts, executives, engineers, marketers, etc. All of these people can help close a deal, whether by providing useful intel on a customer or product, streamlining a sales process with behind-the-scenes work, or even simply helping to refine a sales pitch. It would be a disservice to the company for AEs not to leverage these valued internal resources.
6. Understand the Competition
Inevitably, all account executives will encounter an opportunity when they are up against a competitor. As such, all successful AEs should generally have a good understanding of how their product stacks up against others in the space. Failure to understand and clearly communicate these differentiators will make it difficult to close new business and may instead drive prospects toward competitors.
ConquerAI Battle Cards can help eliminate the learning curve for AEs when it comes to competitive differentiators. This product automatically serves sellers battle cards when a competitor’s name or product is mentioned on a phone call, instantly arming the seller with the relevant info they need and making it much easier to take down the competition.
7. Use Technology to Make Your Life Easier
Technology certainly can’t replace a salesperson, but most successful reps leverage the available technology to their advantage. For example, sales engagement platforms can help save AEs a significant amount of time and make them more productive. Sales reps only spend 36% of their time actively selling, so by automating specific manual tasks, such as emails and activity logging, sales reps can spend more time selling and less time on busy work.
At most companies, adopting such technologies can be challenging, which is why Conquer built its SEP directly inside of Salesforce, so AEs can work entirely within a single pane of glass in the familiar CRM user interface.
8. Align with Marketing & Other Departments
Selling is hard when there isn’t cross-departmental alignment, which is why most successful AEs have strong alignment with other departments in the company. One key example is marketing. Nearly 90 percent of sales and marketing leaders say collaboration enables critical growth.
Poor alignment can cause numerous issues. If the sales team is saying one thing and the marketing team is saying another, it can create buyer confusion. For this reason, it is critical that AEs stay in lock step with marketing to fully understand the messaging that is going out into the market and align their outreach.
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