3 years ago
January 6, 2015

How to Write a Great Sales Job Description

Writing a great sales job description can be a challenge. Make writing a great sales job description easier by following these strategies.

Rhys Metler

how to write a great job descriptionWriting a great sales job description can be a challenge. For some sales managers it comes naturally, but for many more it requires an effort. However, writing a great sales job description and updating it as needs change is well worth the application, considering that the job description is the starting point for finding top sales talent and the standard by which sales talent is measured after hire. Make writing a great sales job description easier by following these strategies.

Capture the Key Elements of the Position

It is critical for sales managers to include the key elements of the open position. The tasks, responsibilities, deliverables, and qualifications outlined in a great sales job description provide a basis for performance evaluation and for salary comparisons within and outside of your organization. Order the tasks that you consider key elements by importance or time spent performing, with the most central tasks listed first. For a great sales job description, it is best to distill the explanation for each element into as few words as possible; you always have the option of providing a more in-depth description to the successful candidate. Make sure all key elements are captured by:

  • Having front-line sales staff provide input on the existing sales job description
  • Comparing it to great sales job descriptions written by the competition
  • Soliciting feedback on a final version from other managers and executives

Separate Must-Haves from Want-to-Haves

A common problem with sales job descriptions is that they ask too much from potential candidates. Especially in specialized industries, the likelihood of one person possessing every possible attribute your organization would like to have may be slim; listing all of these can be intimidating, causing candidates who might have all of these attributes save one or two to turn away.

Make a list of the skills and responsibilities that you want in a sales person and review it carefully. Which of these are critical for the successful candidate to possess, and which might be negotiable? If you are able to sort the characteristics you want in a sales person into two separate headings such as “Required” and “Desirable” and incorporate that into your published description, you stand a much better chance of attracting the ideal candidate.

Keep the Focus on the Positive

When writing a great sales job description, remember that the best sales people are unerringly positive, and will respond to job descriptions that match their attitude. Yet often unintentionally, job descriptions present a negative perspective or attitude through casual word choices. Consider the difference between the following negative and positive perspectives when crafting a great sales job description.

  • “High stress environment” vs. “Fast paced setting”
  • “Overcome objections” vs. “Partner with customers to find solutions”
  • “Applicants without X certification need not apply” vs. “X certification is a must”

Match the Description with Your Brand

Thoroughly outlining the tasks, responsibilities, and qualifications for a position capture the notice of desirable sales candidates, but a great sales job description also needs to talk about your organization. Aside from a career filled with engaging challenges and opportunities, what does your organization offer? Differentiate your job description by looking to your organization’s core branding efforts and employ the key words and attitudes you are using to make sales to sell your brand to prospective employees. Those who respond will be the best match for your sales team.

Following these practices captures the attention of candidates, enlarging your candidate pool while assuring quality applicants. You can further develop a great sales job description by collaborating with an expert sales recruiting firm. Professional sales recruiters can review and provide suggestions for your sales job description, while helping you release the description through the channels best positioned to reach your ideal applicant. Consider the elements that go into a great sales job description and take action to make your sales recruiting efforts more successful today.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.