How to Be a Good Account Executive

If you found yourself with a job as an account executive, then you may be wondering what it takes to become a top performer. In this article, we’re going to go over five keys to success, to being a top performing sales rep. By the end of this article, you’re going to have a better understanding of what these keys are and how to improve in each one to become a better performer yourself.

Key #1: Get organized

The first biggest piece of advice that I can offer for an account executive to be a top performer is to get organized. Ultimately, if you’re not organized, it’ll become really difficult for you to hit your quota. The reason being is simple. If you don’t know what’s on your calendar or in your emails, then you’re not going to be able to be effective and account executive relies on their meetings in order to actually sell their product.

So in order to be a top performing AE you need to be on top of every single conversation that you’re having. Whether that’s actually on the phone at that exact moment that you’re talking to your prospect or just in every single email exchange that you’re having with your prospects. Conversations lead to sales opportunities.

You also have to know which meetings need to be scheduled this week, as opposed to next week because of the prospect’s buying timeline. Bad organization can ruin an AE’s performance simply because they’re not booking enough meetings to hit their quota.

To help you out here, my biggest piece of advice that I used to tell my AEs was to always finish each day, listing out the three things that you had to do the next day before leaving for the day. By doing this you’re planning ahead so that when you start your next workday, you already can hit the ground running as opposed to wasting some time trying to get situated.

Key #2: Know your key sales metrics.

The difference between the reps that I’ve coached that have only had a couple hundred thousand dollar years versus the ones that brought in over a million in sales came down to the fact that they knew how many meetings they had to take to hit their number.

If you don’t know how many meetings you have to take in order to close a deal, then you need to get on that today. This means understanding everything from the top to the bottom of the funnel. You need to understand how many emails you’re getting on average to get opened, how many clicks or replies you’re getting from each of your campaigns and how many books meetings you’re getting from every single hundred contacts that you reach out to.

The reason is simple. If your open rates are really good, but you’re simply not reaching out to enough people every week to hit your booked meetings number, then there’s no possible way that you would ever hit your quota. This is something that I’ve always worked my AEs with.

Let’s say for example, we had an annual quota of 500K to bring in new business and we had a 10 month sales process. In other words, two months for the summer. Because our quota 500K, that means every single month we need to bring in 50K and that’s because 500 divided by 10 is 50. So from the 50K, we need to then understand what our average deal size is.

If for example, we had an average deal size of five grand. That would mean that we need to close 10 deals every single month. That also means that if we break it down by week, which is four weeks that we need to close on average two and a half deals every single week.

If we know we close about one in three deals, that would mean that we would need at least seven and a half opportunities every single week to have a chance at hitting our annual quota. Seven and a half qualified opportunities means that we would need to have 30 opportunities every single month.

What you can gather from this example is that once you understand your metrics, you can work backwards on your quota. In other words, understand your open, your reply rates, how many prospects you need to email in order to create a new opportunity, how many opportunities you need, what your average deal size is and how many meetings you have to book in order to hit your overall quota.

Key #3: Always put your needs and goals second.

This means that you are always putting your prospect’s needs and goals above yours. The reason why is simple. You should be so focused in providing so much value to your prospect that naturally they’re going to want to do business with you. In coaching my team, the top performers always outperformed others because they were willing to put their needs second to their prospects.

They understood that by giving so much value upfront and aligning the needs of the customer to that of the company led to good results in the long-term. The way I taught this to my team is you have to be a fiduciary to your prospect. Fiduciary is our managers of people’s money and they have the legal responsibility to do what’s in the best interest of their client.

In that same way you need to make sure that you’re always acting in the best interest of your prospects. This means you should not try to slide in an invoice just because you are getting into crunch time and you need to hit your quota, or just trying to sneak in something into a deal that isn’t actually kosher.

It is always better to sell with high integrity and to align the business needs of the prospect with the business value that your service or product can provide. Then from there, it’s just a matter of making it as easy as possible for the transaction to occur.

Key #4: Ask for feedback regularly.

One of the best ways to grow in sales is simply through practice. Getting more reps in will improve your ability to deliver your pitch, make transitions and rapport built with your prospects. This means that you have to build feedback loops for yourself. The lowest hanging fruit approach to this is to simply ask your manager or your coworkers for feedback on your sales process.

In some cases you might even find it helpful to ask former prospects or prospects you’ve already closed for feedback about how the sales conversations went. For example, if your company doesn’t have a success team, you might add a check-in activity a month after the sale has been completed.

That way you can follow up with the prospect that just became a client of yours and check in to see how they’re doing to make sure that they’re seeing the business value from the transaction while also taking the time to get some feedback about the overall process that they took when they were buying from you.

This action alone might also give you some more sales opportunities because in your conversations, after they’ve been onboarded, you might realize that there was some sort of need that wasn’t initially brought up until they became a client of yours.

The reason why it’s so important to do this is because it makes it easier for you to better understand the needs of the types of people you’re selling to so that you can improve the sales process for new prospects. And also it builds in natural sales opportunities in the future when that client is renewing with you, if they have an annual contract. In the case where you’re a one man sales team and you don’t have anyone else to turn to for feedback, you might find it helpful to record your sales conversations.

Depending on the state that you live in, you’re going to want to double check if it’s a one-way or two-way consent state, when it comes to recordings. Recording your conversations though, can be one of the best ways for you to learn about the different kinks that you’re having in your sales conversations and work through those to become smoother as a salesperson.

By doing this, you’ll be able to pick up on filler words, such as like, or ums or awkward transitions that could be tightened up in future conversations. You can apply this sort of feedback loop with your emails as well. At the end of every single week, block, 30 minutes of your workday to look at five to 10 emails that you sent over the course of the week.

Then ask yourself what you might’ve done differently if anything, at all, and then make a mental note or record that in some sort of tracker for yourself so that you don’t make that same mistake the next week. Sales again is all about getting better day by day and over time you’ll build up your confidence and as a result become a much more effective salesperson.

Key #5: Harness your Mamba Mentality.

For those of you that aren’t big basketball fans, this was Koby Bryant’s mindset when it came to how you approach the game and every facet of the game. Throughout his career, Kobe was a tireless worker on and off the court. In many cases, willing himself and his team to victory.

Focus on improving just 1% every single day, because if you do so, you’re going to grow more than three times within a single year. Now this is a lot easier than set and it will reflect in your actions more so than your words.

To bring in an example, one of my top performing sales reps had a great first year, but I knew that she had the Mamba mentality when she approached me two months prior to the end of her first year to ask for more feedback and to begin game planning for how she was going to crush her quota again in year number two. Simply by adopting the Mamba mentality and being relentless and how you improve in sales can lead to huge dividends for your sales career.

A lot of sales reps struggle to follow a good year with a great year. And the reason simply is because they rest on their laurels. They no longer pay as close attention to the small details like when they need to send certain emails to follow up or just listening to the needs of a prospect in a discovery conversation. Try to improve day in and day out because if you’re not learning, you’re not growing.

Big takeaways

There are two things I want you to remember from this article:

  1. The first one is to work on your self awareness. The top performing sales reps are hyper aware of everything that’s going on in sales conversations. They know what they’re doing well and what they’re not doing well. And also when they’re building rapport with their prospect and when they’re hurting their rapport with their prospect. They adapt to their audience and strive to ensure that the needs of their prospects are always being met.
  2. The second big takeaway is to stay on top of your systems. You are only as good as your systems. So if you’re not organized, find a way for yourself to get organized, try different organization systems, whatever works for you. But the important thing is that you always need to be on top of your calendar, your emails and your calls.

If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out my YouTube channel to get new videos every single week I’ll help take you from zero to self-starter as you grow your business, get more customers, and hone your business acumen. Also, feel free to share this with anybody that you know that might from hearing this sales advice.