At the account executive level, one is responsible for the servicing of existing clients as well as pursuing and securing new sponsors. Like an account coordinator, an AE wears many hats and must be able to multi-task efficiently. The principal difference, however, is that proven results and experience grant the AE a great amount of responsibility and accountability for proper execution.
An AE serves as the principal liaison between the sponsor (client) and the organization. As such, this person must have superior communication skills and a history of success in servicing clients. Sponsors will want to see examples of past successful programs, making presentation development a critical part of the AE’s job. PowerPoint is the principal communication tool used to visually and verbally demonstrate the organization’s goals in pursuing a particular sponsor and the means through which the sponsorship is intended to work. The ‘deck’ as it is referred to, must accurately and thoroughly outline the assets the property is prepared to offer. An AE, therefore, must have excellent skills in PowerPoint generation – balancing visual creativity with sharp professionalism.
An ability to manage people and projects is critical to an AE’s job. While an AE has principal responsibility for a given number of client accounts, he or she must ensure that the relationship is fulfilled by fully utilizing the department’s available personnel. This person will typically have an account coordinator and a small handful of interns to delegate tasks among. The AE reports directly to the director and/or vice president.
A critical skill an account executive should possess is the ability to present and negotiate with confidence and professionalism. During the negotiation process, a potential or current client will ask pointed questions, requiring an AE to think on their feet. An outgoing, warm personality is a strong advantage. In business, likeability is equally, if not more influential than actual acumen.
Day-to-day tasks include coordinating and attending internal meetings to establish strategy and revenue goals. External meetings are frequent as well, as the AE and their colleagues attempt to lay the foundation for future relationships. An AE also spends significant amounts of time on the phone and the Internet. Organization and time management are critical in order to balance the variety of tasks. AE’s can expect to work long hours, particularly during a negotiation period and during the organization’s season of competition.
Other job responsibilities will likely include:
Account executives should have a bachelor’s degree, preferably in business, communications, media, or advertising. A master’s degree is not required, although helpful. Previous work experience is 2-5 years. The most relevant previous jobs are those related to sales, brand strategy, and promotions. An internship with a well-respected sports organization is immensely helpful. Salaries are commensurate with experience and to a degree, performance. Variance is primarily due to the size and profitability of the organization. A typical account executive will make between $25,000 and $55,000. Don’t be surprised if your sports career includes this type of position at one time or another.