A good sales job description can be the difference between a sub-par sales candidate and a brilliant one. This is especially true in sales, an industry where the job description is often overlooked or drawn up as a last-minute offering. The right description provides clarity for your business and the candidates you’re trying to attract. You need to know exactly who you’re looking for and what they can offer your organisation, and in turn applicants want to know the roles required of them and how they can add value to your company. In essence, you need a clearly defined statement that explains not only what you want a person to do, but why you want them to do it, how they can do it effectively and the conditions under which you want them to do it. But how you can write a good sales job description that rises above those of your competitors?
Know what you want
Before you put pen to paper, sit down and think about the key sales skills you’re trying to attract to your team. Research your competitors to see what they’re looking for and analyse your existing sales staff to see which skills are essential in a new salesperson. Read through previous sales job descriptions you’ve used and match these up with the performance of your current salespeople – if they are consistently falling short in particular areas, you may want to focus on these in your new description. Ask your sales staff what they perceive their main responsibilities to be and how well they think these were outlined in the initial application process. They might believe some skills are more important than others on your sales job description, so listen closely and prioritise these when you’re writing your new summary.
If you want to attract the best talent, you’ll need to be comprehensive in your coverage of what the advertised role entails. Top salespeople will typically steer clear of job descriptions that are too basic or generic, and instead seek out those that provide details on your organisation, industry, the role and its expectations, goals and benefits they can expect if they are successful in the position. You also need to be very clear about the products and services your team sells, and what it looks like to be successful at this. If the position has direct reports, clearly state this while also outlining who the role will report into.
You also need to outline exactly what you want from a new team member. This means what experience people need to have (although it’s in your best interests to keep this as broad as possible), specific skillsets and any other requirements essential to the role – for instance, the requirement to travel or work remotely. Territory can be a motivating factor for many salespeople, so outline the regions they are expected to cover.
It’s natural for salespeople to want to be sold their potential new role. While you want to know what they can offer you, candidates are seeking information on what your organisation can bring to the table. For top salespeople, your organisation’s benefits may be the most influential factor in whether or not they want to join you.
Sell your employer brand and highlight perks that your team are offered. Social days, charity work and holidays can all make an organisation more appealing to a candidate, particularly in sales where there can be a ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality. If you’re looking for someone to work in field sales, be clear about your car allowance policy. If you’re known for your brilliant training and progression opportunities, highlight these and anything else that might help you to stand out in the sales market.
Set competitive salaries
You can have the best brand reputation in the world but if your salaries aren’t competitive, you’ll struggle to attract the best salespeople. If people elsewhere in the market are paying $5k more than you for a comparative role, why would a savvy salesperson choose you over the more lucrative option? It’s always a good idea to keep tabs on what the market rate is for salespeople in particular territories, roles and industries, and this is increasingly important when you’re recruiting.