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What Is the Average Account Executive Salary in the US?

career growth Jul 05, 2024

Read Time: 8 Minutes

If you work as an account executive (AE) or are considering a career in this field, you've probably wondered, "How much could I be making?" 

It doesn't matter if you're just starting or have years of experience. Knowing your worth is important for your career growth and financial planning.

On average, an account executive earns between $76,000 and $275,000 per year. The actual number may vary depending on several aspects.

In this guide, we'll break down the average total compensation of an account executive. We'll also discuss the factors that affect account executive salaries and share some tips to negotiate better pay.

Account Executive Salary Structure

The salary structure for an account executive typically includes a combination of base salary and variable pay, which together form the total on-target earnings (OTE). Here’s a breakdown of the common structure:

  • Base salary: This is the fixed annual income that provides financial stability. Typically, the base salary constitutes around 50% of the total OTE. It offers a predictable income regardless of performance metrics.
  • Variable pay: The remaining 50% of the total OTE comes from variable pay, which includes performance-based components such as commissions, bonuses, and incentives. This portion of the salary is designed to reward AEs for meeting or exceeding sales targets and other performance goals.

A Detailed Breakdown of Account Executive Salaries

Curious to learn how much an account executive makes in the United States? Let's take a closer look at the stats on recent account executive salaries below:

Average Account Executive Salary

The average salary for an account executive in the US ranges from $76,000 to $275,000 per year.

You're probably wondering why this range is so wide. Well, that's because various factors affect the total compensation. For one, account executives in enterprises earn much more money than AEs in small and medium-sized businesses.

The median rate for an account executive also varies. According to Glassdoor, the median total compensation is $151,000 per year. Meanwhile, Built In, which gathers information from anonymous account executive employees, reports a median annual salary of $85,000. 

Salary.com finds that an account executive typically makes $105,673 every year.

Account Executive Salary Ranges by Experience Level

Experience significantly impacts how much account executives make in a year.

Entry-level account executives with less than one year of experience typically earn between $50,000 and $83,000 annually.

Meanwhile, AEs with one to three years of experience have average sales salaries ranging from $56,000 to $94,000 per year.

Those working for more than five but less than ten years earn $65,000 to $114,000 every year.

Lastly, an account executive with more than ten years of experience enjoys a yearly salary of $77,000 to $137,000. However, there’s a potential to earn up to $275,000 depending on the industry, as we’ll explore in the next section.

Comparison of Account Executive Salaries by Industry

Different industries offer varying salaries for account executives.

AEs in the information technology sector earn the highest pay among other industries. They have a yearly salary of $150,000 to $275,000, which already includes bonuses and commissions.

On the other hand, account executives working in biotechnology have a total pay of $146,000 to $256,000.

In government and public administration, an account executive can earn around $96,000 to $174,000.

An account executive in telecommunications has an annual salary ranging from $88,000 to $155,000.

Regional Variations in Account Executive Salaries

The location where an account executive works can also affect their salary.

According to Built In, an account executive in Colorado typically earns more than the average sales development professional. They have an average salary of $147,500.

Account executives working in cities in California state also have higher salaries than the national average. They earn between $100,000 and $115,000 per year.

New York AEs closely follow behind. They enjoy an average yearly salary of $105,000.

An account executive living in Washington, DC is compensated a yearly average of $95,000.

Additional Cash Compensation and Benefits

On top of their base salary, account executives also receive bonuses and other benefits.

The average additional cash compensation varies widely. Glassdoor reports that AEs earn an extra $53,000 to $99,000 every year.

6 Factors That Affect the Average Salary of Account Executives

After learning the average salaries of account executives, you might be curious to know what factors influence these numbers. Here's a breakdown:

1. Experience Level

Experience level is perhaps the biggest factor affecting the account executive salary.

Entry-level account executives typically earn less because they only have a few years of working experience. As stated before, they have annual wages starting around $50,000.

As an account executive gains more experience, their earning potential also increases. For example, a senior sales account executive salary can go up to $137,000 per year.

2. Industry and Sector

The industry where an account executive salary works also plays a crucial role in determining the appropriate yearly wage.

For instance, the tech job market often pays more compared to other sectors like retail or non-profits. Account executives in the tech industry can earn around $150,000 to $275,000. 

In contrast, those working in other sectors often have a lower salary range.

3. Location

Location is another key factor that impacts the yearly wage of an account executive.

States like California and New York offer higher salaries to AEs to compensate for living expenses. For example, an account executive in New York City might earn $105,000, while the same role in a smaller city could earn less.

4. Company Size and Revenue

Larger companies with higher revenue often have better compensation packages for an account executive.

A corporation like Google or Microsoft will likely pay more than a startup. Larger companies also tend to offer better benefits and bonuses, which add to the total compensation.

5. Education and Certifications

Educational background and certifications can also influence the salary of an account executive.

Most companies prefer a candidate with a bachelor's degree in business administration or marketing. Employers are also likely to pay more if an account executive has specific certifications related to sales and account management. 

For example, certifications from the Strategic Account Management Association or the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals can boost a candidate's salary potential.

6. Report Person

The person to whom an account executive reports also affects salary rates.

AEs who report directly to the chief revenue officer often enjoy higher wages because of the level of responsibility they carry. They're also likely to find more opportunities for advancement and salary growth.

Meanwhile, account executives reporting to a sales manager typically have a lower salary than those working directly with C-level executives.

How to Negotiate Account Executive Salary?

Now that you understand the factors that affect your average salary, you may have realized that you're underpaid or deserve a better wage. Here are some practical tips to help you negotiate your account executive salary.

Research Industry Standards

Before entering any negotiation with the human resources (HR) department, you should do your homework.

You can conduct thorough research on the average salaries for AEs. Consider factors like your industry, level of experience, location, and any certifications you may have.

Use online resources, such as Glassdoor, Salary.com, and Built In, to gather data. Knowing the industry standards gives you confidence when discussing your salary.

Build a Strong Case

After your research, you must present a compelling case for why you deserve to get the best possible salary.

You can highlight your achievements, such as exceeding sales targets, securing major clients, or improving customer satisfaction. It's also best if you quantify these accomplishments with specific numbers and examples.

For instance, if you increased sales by 20% over the past year, you can mention it to HR. Doing so shows your value to the company, which helps you negotiate for a better salary.

Communicate Effectively

Effective communication is the key during salary negotiations.

You must be clear and concise about your salary expectations. It's recommended to practice your negotiation pitch to ensure you can articulate your value confidently.

You can use "I" statements to assert your position without appearing confrontational. For example, "I believe my contributions to customer success justify a higher salary."

Time Your Negotiation

It's also important to choose the right time to negotiate. You can schedule salary negotiations around performance reviews, the completion of a successful project, or after receiving a job offer. These are the perfect opportunities to discuss compensation.

Avoid negotiating during times of company financial uncertainty or personal job performance issues.

Negotiate Beyond Base Salary as an Account Executive

Remember, salary isn't just about the base pay. You must consider negotiating for additional benefits such as performance bonuses, flexible working hours, or additional vacation days. These perks can add significant value to your compensation package.

For example, if your employer can't meet your salary request, negotiating for a performance-based bonus could be a win-win solution.

Let Better Career Help You Highlight Your Value

Need further help in negotiating your account executive salary and securing your dream job? Here's how Better Career can assist you:

  • Job Accelerator Program: Follow our step-by-step guide to land a tech job quickly and efficiently. This includes tips on how to negotiate your salary once you get the job offer. Say goodbye to the frustration and guesswork of a typical job search.
  • 1-on-1 Career Coaching: Work closely with experienced career coaches to start or advance your career in the B2B tech industry. We'll customize the program to meet your unique goals and needs.
  • B2B Tech Job Board: Connect directly with key people at hiring companies through our curated job board for B2B tech positions. This includes direct LinkedIn profiles and posts for each listing.

 

Haven't found what you're looking for? Fill out our contact form, and we'll get in touch with you soon!

FAQs About Account Executive Salary

What does the job title account executive entail?

As an account executive, you manage client relationships, develop sales strategies, and meet sales targets. You're the liaison between the company and clients, ensuring their needs are met. If you want to apply as an AE, you can often find a "view job account executive" link on company career pages.

What is the common account executive salary?

The average or common salary for an account executive varies from $76,000 to $275,000 per year. The salary range is wide because of factors like experience, industry, location, and company size.

How much is the salary of a strategic account executive?

Strategic account executives who manage high-value accounts typically earn higher salaries than standard account executives. Their compensation can range from $90,000 to $150,000 annually.

What are the highest-paying companies for account executives?

Tech companies often pay the highest salaries for account executives. Companies like Google, Workday, and Salesforce are known for offering competitive compensation packages.

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