Career Development, Certified Sales Expert, Winning By Design 2 Comments

A Day in the Life of an Account Executive

Jacco Van der Kooij

September 26th, 2016

Account Executive Daily Routine

What does an account executive do? What does the day of an AE actually look like? I frequently hear this question and took pen to paper to share an outline of what we have seen.

Early Morning

7:30am Email over coffee. While in line for your favorite morning fix, you can do some quick responses on inbound emails. Don’t delay those you can answer right away. Prioritize questions that need a researched answer and/or some form of insight you got to review first.

8:00am Standup call with the team – A joint SDR/AE stand-up call to go over what needs to happen that day. Between the two/three of you establish your top three priorities.

1. Three demo calls with follow-up (AE)

2. Identify 50 new prospects, create a sequence with valuable insights (SDR)

3. Get invites out to Webinar next week (both)

It is also important to agree what can wait. For example, follow-up to yesterday’s proposal that you send at the end of the day.  I realize you are eager, but let your customer digest it for a day. Schedule it for tomorrow.

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8:30am Social Selling BEFORE email:  Open your LinkedIn (LI), check views on your profile, quick research + respond to comments on your posts, and send out thank you’s + personalized LinkedIn requests.

9.00am Email + Research the people you are going to work with today. Make notes. As an AE you are expected to have lots of conversations. You need to prepare what questions to ask them and pick relevant use-cases per customer you are talking to today.  

9.30am Take a frigging break!!!! Seriously, take a walk grab a drink with a colleague, chat about things: Fun/Work/Scores etc. But enjoy a few minutes and relax.

Free Account Executive Course SHU

After a Break

9.45am Hit it HARD. At 10am you are going to work hard on your first call or maybe customize a proposal for a customer. Remember: you are NOT selling. You are helping them make an educated decision! Be their “doctor” do the research for them. Do not prescribe before you diagnose.  A few simple tips:

Emails: Half as long twice as powerful! Provide value, but also communicate with them through short bursts no monologue emails.

Phone call: Pleasant/Short and to the point, use tone of voice, and provoke an action in a kind way.

Social media: Share customized/relevant insights.

11:30am Follow-up. Don’t let it linger. This will stack-up and cause backlog. If you do not do this right now, it might well have been a wasted morning.

Afternoon

12 Noon Refuel! Do something fun with the team, perhaps a quick 4-5k run. On the way back, enjoy a post workout burrito. You earned it.

1:00pm: Stop by your manager to check-in with her to see if there are any pressing issues that need to be dealt with and if there is anything you can do. Not every day, but doing this every now and then makes a huge difference.

1:15pm: Check Check – Scan LI and email. Same as before: deal with urgent issues right away, delete spam and mark what needs to be done later based on research. If you are like me you pop a Red Bull in preparation of the 2pm AWESOMENESS you are about to unleash onto the world.

2:00pm: AWESOME hours. Next batch of discovery calls is happening, you are fueled, ready, and excited. Target each call to be 15mins prep/30min call/15min follow-up. This gives you 4-5 discovery calls a day at most, but more likely 3-4 as you also have to customize quotes/proposals. Anything beyond 5 and you are churning opportunity due to lack of follow-up and preparation.  

Keep going! Don’t look back… you are in the zone!

Late in the Day

4:00pm: Call past customers/prospect/partners. This may include customers you signed from a month ago, not to “check in” but to ask if they are happy. When they are ask “Do you know anyone else that can benefit from this solution?”

No need for a 30min convo (rare you get them on the line), but ideal to leave an energetic voicemail (most likely). Imagine if you do this for 5 people every day, you will cover 25 per week. This will create incredible word of mouth!

What NOT to do: Do not write emails to check-in, I know it is tempting but it is pretty idiotic to get a “check-in” — worse a “mass personalized check-in” email. Are you freaking kidding me?

4:30pm: Text your partner/loved one and let them know you are on your way home and that you killed it today. Play with the kids, do an exercise, have a social life.

Wait … your day is NOT done yet… as an AE you have another important window…

8pm: Executive Comms Window is opening up.  While on the couch binging through your favorite TV series, keep that phone handy. If you have earned it, several of the executives you are working with, are getting into their email window and responding. Now is the time to have the conversation, don’t want till the next morning as you’d be out of their window.

Special consideration:

Monday: Skip all social activities on Monday afternoon, check-in calls etc. Just don’t bother. For many Monday is a 100% business meeting day. This may also be the best day for you to book your own internal meetings.

Friday afternoon: No follow-up, any action snowballs over the weekend. Unless urgent you better off waiting till the Sunday night window.

Sunday evening: Great email productivity window on Sunday eve to get through to executives. You may want to do some prep work for the week. One hour should do it.

Note: There is an incredible amount of nuance pending who you sell to. There will be a number of AEs who recognize the above pattern as having elements of a typical SaaS Sales day.

About the author

Jacco Van der Kooij

Following a 15-year career as a head of sales for Silicon Valley startups, Jacco van der Kooij launched a sales consulting practice in 2012. Winning By Design helps B2B companies with a blue print design that is based on best practices of what works today, oversees implementation including recruitment & training, and with a hands on involvement throughout the launch. Check out the Winning By Design playbook series for more from Jacco.

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