Insights from Industry Professionals
Senior account executives are experienced professionals working directly with customers. They handle accounts on behalf of the business they represent. So they meet sales targets for the company while meeting the customer’s needs.
Senior account executives excel in customer service, meeting sales targets, and developing a winning sales process. They know how to focus on the most important accounts, managing their own time. But, like other professions, they also need solid written and verbal communication skills.
To learn more about the expectations of being a senior account executive, the impact of education on salary, and how much that varies between regions.
Including education, it can take up to 10 years to become a senior account executive. This includes the four years needed to get a Bachelor’s Degree and the six years required to get senior-level experience.
Ignoring the need for education, senior executives are expected to have (at least) five years of experience. Some companies might shaft this expectation by a year in either direction.
Not all pathways to becoming a senior account executive follow the same route. For example, talented account executives who adeptly meet sales goals and have exceptional customer service skills might claim the “senior” part of their title sooner.
Here are some skills senior account executives should focus on:
- Written communication
- Oral communication
- Customer relationship management (CRM)
- Sales and sales strategy
Beyond account management and sales process skills, account executives also benefit from educational backgrounds.
Senior account executives usually have a Bachelor’s Degree in Business or a related field. But, like most professions, it isn’t solely occupied by degree holders. Others might have certifications, while some work on the merits of their experience.
Employers rely on educational background to determine salary. For example, the average associate’s degree holder makes in the mid $40 thousand while bachelor’s degree holders earn an average of $60 thousand. As a senior account executive, education might be the difference between someone who makes $60 and $80 thousand.
Certifications, however, are situational and don’t hold the same weight as an education.
Still, those who earn certification can bolster their knowledge while increasing their value.
For example, the National Association of Sales Professionals (NASP) has a Certified Professional Sales Person Course for nearly $700. Maintaining this certification can show a continued passion for pursuing industry knowledge.
In the United States, senior account executives can expect to make just over $100 thousand on average annually. But this can range from $50 thousand to about $150 thousand. Industry professionals can expect this range to vary based on education, experience, and related skills.
Senior account executives don’t just limit themselves to a base salary. Some make bonuses, profit sharing, and commission rates. Here’s a breakdown:
- Bonuses typically are an average of $25 thousand (can be as low as $0 and as high as $55 thousand)
- Profit sharing averages at $18.5 thousand (can be as low as $0 and as high as $40)
- Commission rates for senior account executives average at $40 thousand (usually between $10 and $80 thousand per year)
Not all senior account executives are built similarly, so the industry varies widely. Each company might share differing opinions on motivation or pay. This is why some companies offer profit sharing while others rely on flat salaries.
Account executives can help boost their pay by making themselves valuable. Before hiring, they can do this with experience and education. After hiring, they can display their expertise through results.
According to our article on tech sales job salaries, the region with the highest pay for senior account executives is the San Francisco Bay Area. Senior executives (with six to seven years of experience) can earn a base salary of $92 thousand.
Using the same data, the region with the lowest-pad account executives is a tie between Austin, TX, and Boston, MA. The base salary in both locations is about $76 thousand, losing about $15 thousand yearly.
Here’s a look at a few more regions:
- Atlanta, GA – $80 thousand per year
- Chicago, IL – $88 thousand per year
- Denver, CO – $89 thousand per year
- Los Angeles, CA – $89 thousand per year
- New York, NY – $89 thousand per year
- San Diego, CA – $82 thousand per year
- Seattle, WA – $84 thousand per year
- Other locations – $79 thousand per year
All figures focus on base pay, meaning they don’t account for profit sharing, commission, and other bonuses. It’s also important to account for cost of living factors, which change depending on location.
Salaries might also normalize between these locations as the trend of remote hiring continues. So, places typically paying their account executives low begin to catch up with other cities.
Now that you know more about salaries, you are better equipped to post your listing on a job board. But before you do that, consider a recruiting agency instead.
Recruiting agencies have these distinct advantages:
- Agencies are staffed by experienced individuals trained to find the right fit for your organization.
- You can save time and money by not wasting time with many hires that don’t meet your needs.
- Once you get through the hiring process, you can interview applicants who are actually interested in contributing to your business.
- Recruiting agencies are built to quickly fill in crucial slots with employees who hit the ground running, keeping your organization moving forward.
- Recruiting agencies can keep your listing confidential (for example, in the case where current staff members are not performing)
Senior executive positions require incredibly skilled individuals to fill the gap. Therefore, a recruiting agency is built to fill those positions with an experienced list of individuals.
Recruiting agencies can be your list makers when hiring a new senior account executive. This way, you can get a list of qualified applicants saving yourself some time.