An Account Executive plays a pivotal role in the successful operation of your business. Not only are they responsible for overseeing deliverables from junior staff, but they also serve as the main point of contact for your most valuable clients.
With such a critical role, it’s imperative that you recruit the best of the best. You want individuals who are skilled and competent, but also people who will complement the culture of your company. It’s a delicate balancing act.
To make the hiring process a little easier and improve your results, here are a few exert tips to consider.
What to Look for in an AE
First and foremost, knowing what key qualities and characteristics to look for in an AE can help weed out weaker candidates and hone in on the ones worth pursuing. So, what makes a great account executive? Here are a few essentials to look for:
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) – Of course you want an AE that has certain professional qualifications, but beyond this, the best in the business possess the innate ability to relate to, connect with and be empathetic about their peers, their direct reports and, most importantly, their clients.
Results-Driven – It doesn’t matter how many hours you put in or how much busy work you do, if the desired results aren’t ultimately achieved, it was all for naught. You want account executives that value execution rather than just effort. These will be your top performers.
Communication Skills – Being able to articulate thoughts well is a key characteristic of a successful account executive. Not only should your AEs be well-spoken, but they should also possess excellent written communication skills as well.
Charisma – Another important soft skill to look for when evaluating AE candidates is their personal charm. Remember – your account executives will serve as the main link to your clientele. Having someone in this position that is socially awkward can significantly damage your brand’s reputation. To the contrary, AEs with charisma create memorable experiences that lead to loyalty.
Adaptability – While the main function of AEs may be similar company to company, every business is different. In order for your account executives to build trust with your clients, they must be able to quickly and cohesively adapt to your business. They need to understand what your company is trying to accomplish and be capable of adopting your values and integrating with your culture.
Loyalty/Longevity – Hiring AEs is no easy task. The last thing you want is to have to start the whole process over again six months or a year down the road. To avoid this, you should be evaluating candidates based on their loyalty and longevity. If their resume indicates that they bounce from agency to agency, they’re probably not worth pursuing.
More Tips for Identifying the Best AE Candidates
In addition to the characteristics above, there are a few other key things to consider when evaluating candidates for your AE positions. Here are some important questions to ask:
- Did the candidate do his or her homework? Did they take the time to learn about your company and the nuances of your particular business?
- Did they follow the directions for applying? (This may seem silly, but attention to detail is important.)
- Do they present themselves well? Do they seem comfortable speaking over the phone, sending a well-composed email or leaving a professional voicemail?
- Did they actively listen and respond thoughtfully during the interview process?
- Did they put their best foot forward? (Remember – you only have one chance to make a first impression, and that impression will also be made on your clientele.)
Follow all of these tips and you’ll be well on your way to assembling a team of A-players in the account executive department.
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