Read on to get an introduction to OKRs as a method, what the heck an Account Executive does and OKRs examples for Account Executives that can be applied to your own company.
What is OKR?
OKR stands for Objectives & Key Results and is a goal-setting method with a set of best practices. It’s famous for being the method of choice of tech companies like Google and Twitter but its use has nowadays spread to a vast variety of industries, even non-profits like Bono’s ONE Campaign and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
How do you set an OKR?
The OKR consists of one Objective and a set of Key Results. The Objective can be seen as the small mission statement / the expectation of where you want to go, expressed in soft terms, whereas the Key Results are the factual results that needs to be accomplished to deem the Objective successful. In short, OKRs are a great way to clearly state “what success looks like“. Progress is then measured on each Key Result and is rolled up to an average profit of the Objective. It is recommended that you set between 2-4 key results per Objective.
In Node’s setup, OKRs are set everywhere in the organization where you want to drive and measure meaningful change and then aligned cross-functionally between roles, teams and departments using Focus Areas.
Who is the Account Executive
An Account Executive is a sales role with a set of own accounts of customers, often larger accounts within a certain vertical and segment. They are often a later step in a sales process, eg. taking over a pre-sales or initial-sales activity from a more junior sales role, like a Sales Representative or similar. Typical reporting lines consist of reports to the senior Sales Leadership of the company, such as the Head of Sales, VP of Sales or the Chief Revenue Officer. An Account Executive is often times not a managerial role, but if they are, their title can be Account Executive Director.
Main responsibilities of the Account Executive
As the title suggests, the Account Executive operates with a given set of customer Accounts, with the main responsibility of closing the sale for new customers or driving revenue in existing accounts.
Aside from the business-as-usual responsibilities the Account Executive tries to drive Meaningful change mainly within:
- Implementing & accelerating the Go To Market strategy (GTMs)
- Segmentation and clustering of potential customers in line with the GTMs.
- Improve existing and develop new revenue streams
- Sales partner relationships
- Monitor and act on market & competitor development
Overall, the end metric for Sales is Revenue and Commitment /Bookings / Order value. But if we are looking for more leading indicators of what drives Revenue and Commitment, common metrics include:
- Pipeline Coverage (%)
- New Logos (#)
- Sales Ramp-Up (days)
- Revenue / FTE ($)
- Revenue of focus revenue stream / Total Revenue
- Profitable # customers / Total # customers (%)
- Customer acquisition cost
- Total revenue / Total market turnover
Of course, there are many other metrics for this role, but the above are some good examples of metrics that signal meaningful change and hence make out a good starting point for developing good OKRs from.
How to think when developing OKRs for Account Executives.
In one way, setting goals for Sales Roles is not a complex task. Always strive to keep it simple and measure fewer than more parameters. A good point of departure is to look at what happens from first contact with a potential customer until a deal is signed. What are the milestones in between there? Often you will see pipeline coverage and new logos coming up as examples.
When you set out to create a role-specific OKR, knowing what the role is responsible for driving for the company and how that meaningful change is important. And next after that – ask – what is the current state?
Thinking about the current state of things, from the perspective of your role + the company, lets you list the impact that you see you can achieve during the coming period, but also the blockers that are plausible and that you need to address. Sometimes, the impact is to remove a blocker. Check out our OKR Canvas to learn more.
Here follows a set of OKRs that we hope will give you some inspiration.
OKR Examples for Account Executives
As stated above, OKRs should be used to drive meaningful change. Here comes a set of examples, with a corresponding background:
The sales team in the company has for some time worked with the hypothesis that increased knowledge about their products on the customer side would shorten the time it takes for clients to reach the target level of a medium sized customer ($25k). A new certification program, called 1st level certification, has therefore been developed together with people from Product and Marketing and has shown great initial merit. The following OKR is crafted:
Bringing more value to our customers has been communicated as a strategic Focus Area for the quarter. As part of the quarterly OKR Retro Reset the Account Director has specifically raised concerns around the upsell of current corporate accounts. Blockers include single-points-of-contacts at customer and simply not spending enough time researching new services to existing accounts. The Account Executive decides that she will do something about this and creates the following OKR:
The company has a strategy to attach 100% of their business to Partners, meaning that in the long-run, they want all sales to be done via their partners. Our Account Executive has been one of the leading sales people in her team, closing most new business of them all. She now realizes a common trait with all her business, which she realizes can be tough and communicated to the company’s partner network. After some discussion with her boss she is assigned the following OKR: