The Best Practices that Make Account Executives Great

This is some text inside of a div block.
This is some text inside of a div block.
This is some text inside of a div block.
min read

This article is the third in a three-part series. The first two articles unpacked the topics of Account Segmentation and Sales Coverage Strategies, respectively. This article is a blueprint for defining what makes account executives (AEs) great.

In the field of B2B sales, the best AEs outperform their peers consistently by following a set of proven practices. Mastering these ten elements of the sales process enables smoother client interactions and more efficient winning of deals. These practices turn AEs from order takers into order makers.

1. Preparation for Calls

Effective AEs thoroughly prepare for their calls. They gather extensive information about the person and the company, leveraging current technology to complete this research in under ten minutes. Being over-prepared for a call, even a challenging one, is preferable to being under-prepared for a potentially successful engagement.

2. Excellence in Discovery

Successful AEs demonstrate genuine curiosity during the discovery phase. They often use phrases like, “Tell me more about that,” to deepen their understanding. A well-conducted discovery session not only qualifies the lead but also uncovers what is necessary to close the deal. The objective is to understand the prospect's personal motivations and transform them into advocates for the product or service.

3. Adaptability

While having a plan is crucial, the best AEs are also flexible. If a prospect wishes to discuss something different, they effortlessly adjust their approach. The focus should be on what the prospect finds most valuable, rather than strictly adhering to the initial sales plan.

4. Process Control

AEs do not merely demonstrate value; they also educate prospects on the buying process. This involves guiding them through each step and consistently scheduling follow-ups. Losing control of the process often results in losing the deal.

5. Proactive Approach

Top AEs tend to be more aggressive rather than overly patient. They prioritize taking action, often choosing to send communications immediately rather than delaying. This proactive approach is key to their success.

6. Balanced Exchange

When a prospect requests something, skilled AEs identify what they can obtain in return. This could be a scheduled follow-up, a meeting with a decision-maker, or a clear timeline for a decision.

7. Consistent Prospecting

High-performing AEs continually seek new business opportunities. They maintain a hunter mentality, ensuring they always have control over their sales pipeline. This involves networking and leveraging various channels, not just cold emails.

8. Efficient Use of Time

Time management is critical. AEs recognize when a prospect's unique demands are unlikely to lead to a sale. Engagement alone does not guarantee a purchase, and they avoid spending excessive time on unlikely leads.

9. Continuous engagement

Maintaining top-of-mind awareness is essential. AEs ensure consistent follow-up, understanding that a single good meeting does not guarantee future recall. Regular contact, at least once a week, keeps the deal active.

10. Direct Communications

AEs favor direct communication, often opting to call prospects rather than respond to lengthy emails. This approach accelerates the process, strengthens relationships, and provides clearer insights into the prospect's position.

Wrap up

By implementing these ten key elements, account executives can significantly enhance their sales performance and build stronger relationships with clients. These practices not only streamline the sales process but also foster a proactive and adaptable approach to client engagement. Ultimately, mastering these strategies will enable AEs to consistently achieve and exceed their sales targets.

Want Help?

We help clients improve revenue performance. We do this by bringing a fresh perspective to sales, sales enablement, and marketing. We pack our weekly newsletter series with relevant, practical nuggets. Does a particular topic interest you? Explore the archive.

Want to apply AI in your business?

Share this post