When hiring an Account Executive, look for a candidate who has drive, and is committed to hitting sales goals. The ideal candidate will bring extensive industry contacts along with a deep understanding of sales strategies.
A qualified Account Executive will have an established process for pursuing new business clients. They should outline a clear plan for understanding your products and services, share techniques for networking and cold calling, demonstrate the skill to structure, negotiate and close profitable deals, and possess the interpersonal skills to maintain post-transaction client relations. A keen sense of market trends combined with an outgoing personality and strong presentation style are keys to success in the role..
Here are some great Account Executive interview questions:
What was the most difficult deal you closed. What made it so challenging?
Good Answer: An experienced Account rep will easily have several stories about difficult deals. The candidate should describe the product being sold, the type of buyer, and the transaction amount. Next, they should talk about what made the deal difficult.
Red flag: A candidate who appears to have been overwhelmed by issues that are likely to happen with your customers may not have the experience or skill set needed to succeed in your role.
How do you stay motivated while conducting cold calls?
Good Answer: Getting into contact with new leads in your audience may be difficult without cold calling. When cold calling, they will constantly face rejection. Experienced candidates should have experience with cold calling, and be able to share techniques that they use to fight rejection. Some example responses are that they limit the amount of calls per week, or that the few successes make up for the failed efforts.
Red flag: A candidate who has a low tolerance for rejection, or seems like they try and avoid using cold calling has higher chance of missing valuable sales oportunities.
How do you find new sales opportunities?
Good Answer: The Account Executive’s job is all about making sales. Listen for a candidate who has a clear plan for how they go about finding sales opportunities. Your candidate should discuss professional networking activities such as attending trade shows and conventions; social networking such as local community events; outreach through LinkedIn or email campaigns; conducting events for new products or promotions; and cold walk-ins or cold calling.
Red flag: A candidate who is not prepared to use a variety of approaches will have trouble meeting sales quotas and revenue goals.