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Become An Account Executive

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Working As An Account Executive

  • Selling or Influencing Others
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $57,690

    Average Salary

What Does An Account Executive Do

Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives sell goods for wholesalers or manufacturers to businesses, government agencies, and other organizations. They contact customers, explain product features, answer any questions that their customers may have, and negotiate prices.

Duties

Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives typically do the following:

  • Identify prospective customers by using business directories, following leads from existing clients, and attending trade shows and conferences
  • Contact new and existing customers to discuss their needs and explain how specific products and services can meet these needs
  • Help customers select products to meet customers' needs, product specifications, and regulations
  • Emphasize product features that will meet customers' needs and exhibit product capabilities and limitations
  • Answer customers' questions about prices, availability, and product uses
  • Negotiate prices and terms of sale and service agreements
  • Prepare sales contracts and submit orders for processing
  • Collaborate with colleagues to exchange information, such as selling strategies and marketing information
  • Follow up with customers to make sure they are satisfied with their purchases and to answer any questions or concerns

Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives—sometimes called manufacturers’ representatives or manufacturers’ agents—generally work for manufacturers or wholesalers. Some work for a single organization, while others represent several companies and sell a range of products.

Rather than selling goods directly to consumers, wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives deal with businesses, government agencies, and other organizations. For more information about people who sell directly to consumers, see the profile on retail sales workers.

Some wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives deal with nonscientific products such as food, office supplies, and clothing. Other representatives specialize in technical and scientific products, ranging from agricultural and mechanical equipment to computer and pharmaceutical goods. For more information about people who specialize in sales of technical products and services, see the profile on sales engineers.

Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives who lack expertise about a given product frequently team with a technical expert. In this arrangement, the technical expert—sometimes a sales engineer—attends the sales presentation to explain the product and answer questions or concerns. The sales representative makes the initial contact with customers, introduces the company's product, and obtains final agreement from the potential buyer.

By working with a technical expert, the representative is able to spend more time maintaining and soliciting accounts and less time needing to gain technical knowledge.

After the sale, representatives may make follow-up visits to ensure that equipment is functioning properly and may even help train customers' employees to operate and maintain new equipment.

Those selling consumer goods often suggest how and where merchandise should be displayed. When working with retailers, they may help arrange promotional programs, store displays, and advertising.

In addition to selling products, wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives analyze sales statistics, prepare reports, and handle administrative duties such as filing expense accounts, scheduling appointments, and making travel plans.

Staying up-to-date on new products and the changing needs of customers is important. Sales representatives accomplish this in a variety of ways, including attending trade shows at which new products and technologies are showcased. They attend conferences and conventions to meet other sales representatives and clients and to discuss new product developments. They also read about new and existing products and monitor the sales, prices, and products of their competitors.

The following are examples of types of wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives:

Inside sales representatives work mostly in offices while making sales. Frequently, they are responsible for getting new clients by “cold calling” various organizations, which means they call potential customers who are not expecting to be contacted in order to establish an initial contact. They also take incoming calls from customers who are interested in their product, and process paperwork to complete the sale.

Outside sales representatives spend much of their time traveling to and visiting with current clients and prospective buyers. During a sales call, they discuss the client's needs and suggest how they can meet those needs with merchandise or services. They may show samples or catalogs that describe items their company provides, and they may inform customers about prices, availability, and ways in which their products can save money and boost productivity. Because many sales representatives sell several complementary products made by different manufacturers, they may take a broad approach to their customers' businesses. For example, sales representatives may help install new equipment and train employees in its use.

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How To Become An Account Executive

Educational requirements vary, depending on the type of product sold. If the products are not scientific or technical, a high school diploma is generally enough for entry into the occupation. If the products are scientific or technical, sales representatives typically need at least a bachelor's degree.

Education

A high school diploma is sufficient for many positions, primarily for selling nontechnical or scientific products. However, those selling scientific and technical products typically must have a bachelor's degree. Scientific and technical products include pharmaceuticals, medical instruments, and industrial equipment. A degree in a field related to the product sold, such as chemistry, biology, or engineering, is often required.

Many sales representatives attend seminars in sales techniques or take courses in marketing, economics, communication, or even a foreign language to improve their ability to make sales.

Training

Many companies have formal training programs for beginning wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives that last up to 1 year. In some programs, trainees rotate among jobs in plants and offices to learn all phases of producing, installing, and distributing the product. In others, trainees receive formal technical instruction at the plant, followed by on-the-job training under the supervision of a field sales manager.

New employees may be trained by going along with experienced workers on their sales calls. As they gain familiarity with the firm's products and clients, the new workers gain more responsibility until they eventually get their own territory.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Many in this occupation have either the Certified Professional Manufacturers' Representative (CPMR) certification or the Certified Sales Professional (CSP) certification, both offered by the Manufacturers' Representatives Educational Research Foundation (MRERF). Certification typically involves completing formal technical training and passing an exam. In addition, the CPMR requires 10 hours of continuing education every year in order to maintain certification.

Other Experience

Although not required, sales experience can be helpful, particularly for nontechnical positions.

Advancement

Frequently, promotion takes the form of an assignment to a larger account or territory, where commissions are likely to be greater. Those who have good sales records and leadership ability may advance to higher level positions, such as sales supervisor, district manager, or vice president of sales. For more information on these positions, see the profile on sales managers.

Important Qualities

Customer-service skills. Sales representatives must be able to listen to the customer’s needs and concerns before and after the sale.

Interpersonal skills. Sales representatives must be able to work well with many types of people. They must be able to build good relationships with clients and with other members of the sales team.

Self-confidence. Sales representatives must be confident and persuasive when making sales presentations. In addition, making a call to a potential customer who is not expecting to be contacted, or “cold calling,” requires confidence and composure.

Stamina. Sales representatives are often on their feet for long periods of time and may carry heavy sample products.

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Account Executive jobs

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Account Executive Career Paths

Account Executive
Sales Manager General Manager
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Regional Sales Manager National Sales Manager Director Of Sales
Director Of Sales & Business Development
13 Yearsyrs
Regional Manager Regional Sales Manager National Account Manager
Enterprise Account Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Territory Manager Sales Specialist Account Manager
Major Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Sales Manager Office Manager Account Manager
National Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
District Manager Regional Manager Regional Sales Manager
National Accounts Sales Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Regional Manager Operations Manager Outside Sales Representative
Outside Sales Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Office Manager General Manager Account Manager
Regional Accounts Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Territory Sales Manager District Sales Manager
Regional Business Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Sales Consultant Sales Manager
Regional Sales Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Sales Consultant Senior Sales Representative Account Manager
Sales Account Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Account Manager
Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Territory Manager Account Manager
Senior Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Sales Executive
9 Yearsyrs
District Sales Manager Sales Manager
Senior Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Regional Sales Manager Director Of Sales
Senior Vice President, Sales
14 Yearsyrs
Specialist Security Officer Account Manager
Strategic Accounts Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Territory Manager Account Manager
Territory Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
District Sales Manager Regional Sales Manager General Manager
Territory Manager
7 Yearsyrs
District Manager District Sales Manager Sales Manager
Territory Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Outside Sales 3.7 years
Account Leader 3.4 years
Account Director 3.1 years
Advertising Sales 3.1 years
Account Executive 3.0 years
Account Supervisor 3.0 years
Account Manager 2.9 years
Account Associate 2.8 years
Sales Producer 2.8 years
Sales Contractor 2.8 years
Sales Specialist 2.5 years
Client Advisor 2.2 years
Sales Consultant 2.2 years
Account Planner 2.0 years
Sales Trainee 1.0 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 5.3%
Manager 3.8%
Top Employers After
Owner 3.8%
Consultant 3.1%

Account Executive Demographics

Gender

Male

55.3%

Female

42.8%

Unknown

1.9%
Ethnicity

White

79.9%

Hispanic or Latino

10.5%

Asian

7.2%

Unknown

1.7%

Black or African American

0.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

52.4%

French

10.1%

Chinese

4.4%

Portuguese

4.4%

Mandarin

4.3%

Italian

4.3%

German

3.7%

Japanese

2.6%

Arabic

2.0%

Russian

1.9%

Korean

1.8%

Cantonese

1.5%

Carrier

1.4%

Hindi

1.4%

Urdu

0.8%

Hebrew

0.8%

Greek

0.6%

Vietnamese

0.6%

Polish

0.5%

Dutch

0.5%
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Account Executive Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

17.0%

Michigan State University

7.7%

Arizona State University

5.1%

West Virginia University

4.9%

Florida State University

4.9%

Temple University

4.6%

University of Alabama

4.3%

Pennsylvania State University

4.3%

University of Texas at Austin

4.2%

New York University

4.2%

University of Georgia

4.2%

University of Kansas

4.1%

Western Michigan University

4.1%

Northeastern University

4.1%

University of Arizona

3.9%

Syracuse University

3.8%

University of Iowa

3.7%

University of Florida

3.7%

Ball State University

3.6%

San Diego State University

3.6%
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Majors

Business

32.3%

Marketing

13.9%

Communication

10.5%

Management

5.2%

Finance

4.1%

Psychology

4.0%

Public Relations

3.5%

Political Science

3.1%

Journalism

2.6%

English

2.3%

Accounting

2.3%

Economics

2.2%

Education

2.0%

Advertising

2.0%

Kinesiology

2.0%

General Sales

1.7%

Liberal Arts

1.7%

Criminal Justice

1.7%

Sociology

1.5%

History

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

57.2%

Other

18.3%

Masters

14.7%

Associate

5.4%

Certificate

2.5%

Doctorate

0.9%

Diploma

0.5%

License

0.4%
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Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Account Executive Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Account Executive SG Americas Securities, LLC New York, NY Jan 26, 2015 $250,000
Account Executive SG Americas Securities, LLC New York, NY Mar 29, 2016 $250,000
Account Executive-Reinsurance, Latin America & Caribbean JLT Re (North America), Inc. Miami, FL Oct 01, 2015 $237,000
Account Executive (General Business-Strategic Accounts) Salesforce.Com San Francisco, CA Feb 13, 2015 $225,000
Account Executive (General Business-Strategic Accounts) Salesforce.Com San Francisco, CA Sep 11, 2015 $225,000
Account Executive (General Business-Strategic Accounts) Salesforce.Com, Inc. Wake Forest, NC Aug 15, 2015 $225,000
Application Services Sales Executive Accenture LLP San Jose, CA Jun 03, 2015 $215,000
Sales Director & Account Executive-BW and Standard Products Comau LLC Southfield, MI Jun 16, 2016 $200,000 -
$250,000
Account Executive Accenture LLP Boston, MA Dec 29, 2015 $175,000
Account Executive Accenture LLP Pittsburgh, PA Dec 29, 2015 $175,000
Account Executive Microsoft Corporation San Francisco, CA Apr 15, 2015 $170,200
Account Executive Microsoft Corporation San Francisco, CA Apr 21, 2015 $170,200
Application Services Account Executive Accenture LLP Florham Park, NJ Jan 12, 2015 $170,000
Account Executive ESPN Sales & Marketing, Inc. New York, NY Sep 22, 2016 $168,100
Account Executive Microsoft Corporation Tampa, FL Dec 29, 2015 $83,500
Account Executive (Operational Risk Analyst) Atlas Insurance Management, LLC Charlotte, NC Sep 28, 2016 $83,200
Sales-Account Executive Salesforce.Com, Inc. Chicago, IL Aug 15, 2015 $83,000
Account Executive Ermenegildo Zegna Corporation New York, NY Nov 28, 2016 $82,000
Account Executive Kargo Global, Inc. New York, NY Apr 01, 2016 $81,000
Account Executive-Sales Persistent Systems, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Sep 07, 2016 $80,475 -
$105,000
Account Executive, Peer Monitor West Publishing Corporation Eagan, MN Sep 15, 2016 $80,156
Account Executive Aptean, Inc. Santa Monica, CA Jan 10, 2016 $54,974 -
$72,779
Account Executive Alison Mazzola Communications Inc. New York, NY Jan 05, 2016 $54,954
Bilingual Account Executive Beauty Plus Trading Co., Inc. Moonachie, NJ May 13, 2016 $54,954
Financial Account Executive New York Water Management Inc. New York, NY Sep 01, 2015 $54,763
Sales Executive Hypertech Computers Overland Park, KS Sep 18, 2015 $54,683
Bilingual Account Executive Beshe LLC. Moonachie, NJ Sep 24, 2015 $54,642
Account Executive Oxeon LLC New York, NY Aug 23, 2015 $54,000

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Top Skills for An Account Executive

ProductKnowledgeSalesTerritoryCustomerServiceMonthlyQuotaFinancialMonthlySalesGoalsInternetBusinessDevelopmentColdCallsNewClientsCustomerBaseSalesQuotaAccountManagementClientBaseWebKeyDecisionMakersTradeShowsNewSalesCustomerSatisfactionBusinessOwners

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Top Account Executive Skills

  1. Product Knowledge
  2. Sales Territory
  3. Customer Service
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Maintained a high level of technical product knowledge to work closely with the cardiology community.
  • Managed Midwest Sales Territory with primary focus on new business development.
  • Ranked in the 90th percentile in all categories for customer service in a survey of clients and agencies
  • Received Consistency Award for repeatedly exceeding monthly quota for both voice and wireless data sales.
  • Provided borrowers with sound financial and mortgage advice based on complete knowledge and understanding of client needs and mortgage loan products.

Top Account Executive Employers

Account Executive Videos

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