How to hire an Account Executive?
There are numerous things to consider before hiring an Account Executive.
1. Territory: If you want the AE to sell in the west coast, then you might want to hire an AE that is physically located in cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland etc.
2. Type of Customer: This goes back to your ideal customer profile. What is the title of the buyer, what size of companies, how many decision makers are part of the buying decision.
3. Sales cycle and Average Deal Size: How long does it take to get a deal signed and how large is the deal. How many buyers and influencers are part of the purchasing decision?
4. Prior experience: Does the salesperson need to have prior experience selling to the kind of buyer you are selling to, should they have run a similar sales cycle and should they have prior experience selling a similar deal size?
Once you have a general idea of what you are looking for is when you should start. Some ways to find your AE include:
1. Your network: This is the best place to start looking for an AE. Your network will recommend potential candidates based on what you are looking for.
2. Job Posts: There are numerous websites where you can post a job such as LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor etc. The biggest risk is only getting a pool of candidates that are actively looking for their next job.
3. Recruiters: There are some great recruiters and mostly very average sales recruiters. You must work with a recruiter that has prior proven experience working on sales roles with companies that are at your size and stage.
4. Activated Scale: We only focus on sales roles and have a large pre-vetted sales talent pool that we connect based on their prior experience selling to the buyers our customers are selling to. You can hire them hourly, part-time or full-time!
Questions to ask in an AE Interview
There are numerous questions you can ask your potential AE candidates.
Here is a list of a few questions that highlight if a potential candidate will be worth hiring:
1. How does the work you are currently doing affect your organization's ability to meet it's mission and goals?
2. Describe a situation in which you had a huge hurdle to overcome to make a sale and in which you were successful. How did you overcome the challenge? How would you attempt to overcome the challenge in the situations mentioned that you didn’t describe?
3. Give an example of how you have improved the experience of one of your customers. How did you determine improvement was needed and how have you determined the effectiveness of improvement?
4. We often have to push ourselves harder to reach a target. Give a specific example of when you had to give yourself that extra push.
5. Describe a situation where you were successful in getting people to work together effectively.
6. What kinds of measures have you taken to make sure all of the small details of a project or assignment were done? Please give a specific example.
7. Describe a particularly trying customer complaint or resistance you had to handle. How did you react and what was the outcome?
How to Compensate an Account Executive
Most Account Executives have a base pay with a commission component on a fifty-fifty split.
National averages for base pay can range between $70,000 and $150,000. With a fifty-fifty split, their commissions will also range between $70,000 and $150,000.
The base pay can range depending on various factors that include:
1. The types of customers they are focused on winning such as Enterprise, Mid-Market and Small Business.
2. The sales cycle which means how long it takes to win a new customer
3. The average deal size which means the revenue amount of a deal
4. The hiring location of the AE
5. The number of years of experience needed from the AE
This compensation does not include other benefits such as bonuses, equity or benefits.
How to measure success of your AE
You can measure the success of your AE hire by focusing on their Output and their Input:
Output: The output of an Account Executive is the revenue brought in by new customers they have won. Some organizations also measure the number of new customers the AE has won along with the revenue brought in by these new deals.
But, in order to ensure that the Account Executive is doing the right things that will get them to their goals, you must also measure their Inputs.
Input: The input from an Account Executive includes the number of qualified demos they have set up, the number of deals in the pipeline, their outreach that includes outreach via phone, email and social channels. This will vary depending on your sales process and your sales cycle.