How do other salespeople work their magic? In this series, you get an inside look at the typical day, the productivity hacks, and even some of the success secrets of today’s best sales professionals.
Today, we’re pulling back the curtain on the Sr. Account Executive role in an enterprise technology company — and for that, we talked to Ruthie Nissim.
About Ruthie Nissim
Title: Senior Account Executive
City/Country: Chicago, IL
Quick Pitch: Intrado Digital Media advances the way companies communicate with their employees, customers, investors, and the public with the world’s only secure, scalable, reliable and end-to-end workflow solution which allows you to Listen, Create, Connect, Deliver, Amplify, and Measure your mission-critical communications (Internal, Marketing, IR & PR communications).
Sales Cycle Timeline: 1 day – 1 year
Number of people reporting to you: 0
A Day in the Life of the Sr. Account Executive
6:00 am: Wake up.
First thing I do: Check my email (unfortunately, still can’t kick this back habit). As I’m well aware, this is not a best practice in the modern era and can shift your pre-planned priorities.
I’ve figured out a way to do so without screwing up my rigid daily routine:
My primary reason for checking email first thing in the morning is to ensure nothing urgent has transpired relating to a sale since going to bed the night prior (and to check if any deals came in while I was getting some shut-eye: The BEST way to start your day :)).
That said, I don’t read through every email. I flag some messages to read in my post-work hours, delete unimportant emails (like reply-alls which should be outlawed), and just focus on those that are vital to selling.
6:15 am: I recite a few minutes of personalized prayers.
6:30 am: Get dressed, then do my morning mobile Starbucks order, which I pick up on my way to the office: grande iced caramel macchiato, light ice, light caramel drizzle, triple shot. I drink this throughout the day. Every. Single. Day. All 365 days of the year.
7:15 – 7:30 am: Drive to work and pick up my coffee on the way.
Monday through Friday generally look similar, give or take.
8 – 8:15 am: Get to office and get my desk / to-do items reviewed and ready to go. My calendar has daily time blocks to ensure I focus on those priorities that will help me do one thing and one thing only: SELL.
*It’s worth noting that, with my role being that of a HUNTER, my calendar is very strategically structured to align my priorities to be successful at securing new business.
While prospecting is a time block that I strictly adhere to every single day, a decade in sales has taught me how to create a seamless cadence for this very critical task.
Before any prospecting is done, a strategically curated target account list is in place. I spend a lot of time and effort (outside of normal business hours) creating a very specific list of typically ~60 accounts, and the research to arrive at those targets take a tremendous amount of strategy and thought.
There are particular criteria that I set for these accounts, and the rules of engagement that we have in place, of course, impact the final list.
I then add ~8–10 contacts per account (based on who will benefit from the solutions I sell) and their contact info. It’s a tall order, but once completed, my actual outreach is truly something I look forward to, because I know my list is top-notch.
Note: This target list will undoubtedly vary based on how your sales organization is structured. But you just can’t prospect without one, at least not if you want your efforts to pay off.
My second tall-order before prospecting these accounts is to create an Excel sheet with detailed notes, because once the prospecting begins, there is no way to do so properly without being highly organized.
- How many touches (calls, emails, voicemails, etc.)
- The date of those touches
- The personalized templates based on the buyer persona of the contact I’m reaching out to
- Talking points for each touch
- As well as backup plans
For instance, if on my fourth touch, I have not made contact, I continue forward (typically 15), but the frequency lowers the closer I get to 15. Now, if I have any form of contact with the prospect on that 4th touch, my course of action after this contact is of course different.
8:30 – 10:00 am: 90-minute prospecting block #1
I use email, Skype, Microsoft Teams, notifications, any form of distractions MUTED and DND enabled so others know not to bother me. I also ensure my phone is inaccessible.
Note: We’ve all heard it a million times — do the most important / highest priority work first thing in the morning. It really does set your day up for success and maximizes your productivity. Before I walk into the office in the morning, I know exactly who I am reaching out to, and with what content depending on what number touch I am on. This is, again, because I’ve already put together a flow, a game plan, a cadence, without which I’d be a very poor hunter.
10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Every Monday 10:00 – 11:00 am: Weekly Team Sales Call
Monday-Friday between 10:00 am – 12:30 pm: A mix of discovery calls, demos, internal prep calls for external-facing calls, proposals, strategy playbooks, sending contracts, you name it.
On average, I have ~7–8 demonstrations, ~12–13 discovery / exploration calls, a few dozen short convos with prospects I get on the phone, ~4–5 proposals to draft, and HOPEFULLY, ~2–3 contracts to send out.
12:00 pm – 12:30 pm: Email (now unmuted) catch-up
This is a newer routine that I’m still working on adhering to, but the idea here is to mute and forbid myself from checking email between 8:30 and 12. If I do it in between my most important activities, I am less likely to complete those activities. So I catch up on the numerous emails I received within those 3.5 hours.
12:30 pm – 1:00 pm: Lunch (95% of the time at my desk). I’ll usually grab a salad from Farmers Fresh or order something
1:00 pm – 2:30 pm: 90-minute prospecting block #2 (DND enabled)
2:30 pm – 3:30 pm: A mix of replying to customer / prospect emails, meetings with prospects, amending / sending contracts, demos, and anything else noted in my 10 – 12:30 block above.
3:30 pm – 5:00 pm: SOMETIMES, 60-90-min prospecting block #3
While the first two calendar blocks are non-negotiables, depending on the circumstances of the day, I do not always achieve three 90-minute prospecting blocks. In fact, it’s not too often — maybe once a week.
Usually, I have meetings that I secured via prospecting efforts that realistically allow me to complete two 90-minute outbound outreach within a day. If I know I have an external call that’s on the books, I’ll move my prospecting time block (the ONLY time I ever touch these blocks is for external-facing meetings).
Every Tuesday 4:00 – 4:30 pm: Weekly 1-on-1 With My Manager
5:00 pm – 5:15 pm: Leave work and head home. I might be at the office late, depending on whether I have a call, but generally, I leave at 5. By that point, I need a change of atmosphere and some time to detach from staring at a screen.
Note: Occasionally, I have post-5pm demos / calls (sometimes in the evening, sometimes late at night or in the middle of the night, depending on the location of prospects).
5:30 pm: Stretch, go for a 45-minute run (at least 4 times a week, including weekends).
6:30 pm: Shower
7:00 pm: Grub and catch up on one of my shows (Bravo fanatic… It’s my guilty pleasure).
8:00 – 9:00 pm: Admin, Salesforce logging, reading through emails from earlier in the morning and throughout the rest of the day.
Note: In a perfect world, I’d do this between 8am and 5pm, but it’s way too manual and time-consuming to waste those precious hours doing something that I have to do but doesn’t really help me win opportunities.
9:00 – 9:30 pm: Prep for tomorrow (meeting / demo prep, prospecting prep, additional research, etc.).
9:30 – 10:15/10:30 pm: Read whatever book I’m on (I recently finished #SalesTruth by Mike Weinberg, and now am reading Insight Selling by Mike Schultz and John Doerr.)
10:30 – 10:45 pm (sometimes earlier in the evening): Peruse LinkedIn & MAYBE Instagram
10:45 – 11:00 pm: Daily Journal log (what I accomplished — a mix of personal and professional goals I’ve set for myself via the Goals Wizard app created by Brian Tracy)
11:00 pm: Get ready for bed
11:15 – 11:30 pm: Bedtime!
Unique Details About My Routine
There are a handful of sales teams within our division that were created based, for the most part, on our unique strengths, with the goal of maximizing sales performance.
These teams essentially fall into two categories: Hunters and Cross-Sellers / Up-Sellers. I am on one of the two Hunter teams, which requires a specific and regimented routine in order to be successful.
My primary job is to acquire new customers and new logos. We do not have any book of business, so in order to secure net new business, the majority of my time and focus needs to be on prospecting. Prospecting is an art that one must continuously refine.
Inside My Head
What’s the one app you can’t live without and why?
AHHHH, hardest question I’ve been asked in a long time! Toss up between Tiny Calendar or Calculator (to track my daily water intake).
Name one unsung hero to your day-to-day and why.
My go-to Solutions Consultant / Engineer: Ben Warner. He’s on a good amount of my external-facing meetings, and his calmness and ability to handle me when I’m in crazy/stressed mode is praiseworthy.
There’s something he helps me with every day, and he is the one person I trust most to handle any technical expertise on a call that’s above my head. Can’t do a live/hands-on demo of our STUDIO webcasting platform without him!
What is the one thing you can’t do your day without?
Starbucks, a plan, and a good night’s sleep.
What’s the one piece of advice you wish you had when you were 22?
Can’t work if you’re dead. (Years of pushing my body beyond its limits came close to killing me.) You can be successful AND healthy. While it’s crucial to be passionate about and love what you do, you have to be the best version of you to attain true success.
You have one communication channel to sell through that you can use for the rest of your life, and nothing else. What do you pick?
Face-to-face trumps every form of communication, but since it’s not feasible for all interactions for obvious reasons, video conferencing tools for conversations, and the… wait for it… PHONE.
Yup. Cold calling is far from dead, and my success is living proof of that FACT.
If you were starting your career over right now, what would you do to kickstart success?
Nothing different than I’ve done: hustle and fail. Fail frequently. It’s the quickest way to grow and and the only way to realize your potential.
I hope to continue to fail, because, particularly in sales, the minute you think you can’t do more / be more / achieve more, you may have caused your demise.