Outbound Sales roles – Account Executive

In this series of articles, we describe the roles in Outbound Sales: Sales Development Representative (SDR), Account Executive (AE), and Inside Sales.

What is an Account Executive?

Account Executives, or AEs, have the responsibility of closing sales. They turn the SDR’s qualified leads into clients – this is why many SDRs progress to AE roles.

What are their responsibilities?

A day in the life of an AE:

  • Understanding the prospects’ pain points and presenting the product (demo) so the prospect understands how our product can solve those pains.
  • Negotiating and closing the sale.
  • Although the primary objective of the AE is to close the sale, they should also continue prospecting to fill the pipeline by generating their own leads.

What skills should an AE have?

As previously mentioned, most AEs have been SDRs in the past. For this reason, both roles have a few skills in common.


Most startups prioritise candidates with previous experience in SaaS (SDRs or AEs), as they are familiar with the Outbound Sales methodology.

However, this is not always the case. It is then when experience with the startup’s interlocutor or market that will specially leverage their candidacy.


Just like an SDR must empathise with the lead, the AE should also do so with the prospect. We look for an intelligent candidate who can understand what the prospect really needs.


Curious to research, ask and listen. In order to build rapport, the AE must show their knowledge of their prospect.


Specially when working with higher sales ticket values the sales process may last months. The AE should not feel despaired but stay patient and help the prospect see that their software will help them solve their problem.

Good communication

Communicating clearly, being concise and covering all the key points. An Account Executive should also be able to adapt to the prospect’s communication (check out how on this article about the DISC Model). Obviously, active listening also plays a major role.


Ambition and humility should go hand in hand. The AE is a hunter role. As such, they should aim to overachieve objectives, although they should also remain humble and never stop learning.

Learn more about Outbound Sales roles: Sales Development Representative and Inside Sales

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