6 tips for writing a great sales job description [Examples of good and bad]

 

Every day that a sales spot is left vacant in your company means revenue is being lost. In addition to losing money, an unfilled sales role can wreak havoc on customer relationships, day-to-day operation, and overall productivity in the workplace. The goal is always to fill the position as quickly as possible, which might tempt you to cut corners when you are writing your sales job description.

Posting a less-than-stellar job description won’t help you in the long run since it will likely attract the wrong individuals. Applicants may not be qualified for the position, or they may not fully understand what the job entails. Writing a top-notch posting will attract job candidates who want to work for your organization and who have all of the qualifications and skills that you seek. In fact, a compelling sales job description may even attract the attention of top talent from other organizations. So how do you post a great sales job description that will attract the right candidates?

Related: Recruiting salespeople who are adaptable, not just competent

Examine your company profile

Writing a company profile might seem like an afterthought for a job post, but it should be the first thing to show candidates. Describing your company brand is critical to attract the right candidates for your role. In addition to describing what your company does, describe your core values and company philosophy. Also make sure to describe the work environment in as much detail as possible. For example, if the role is in a corporate environment where employees suits and ties every day, a millennial who is used to wearing jeans and hoodies to work might not be a good fit. Adding details about your company culture, such as a casual dress code, free lunches, and other company perks will help you attract candidates with a similar work style.

Talk it through with people who have done the job

Discuss with the salespeople what their daily jobs entailFiguring out what to include in your job description is the most challenging part of the process. Start by having conversations with your best sales reps about the day-to-day activities of the position. Ask them about the day-to-day specifics, and longer term expectations. Having this conversation with someone who is performing well in the role will give you valuable insight into the qualifications you should be seeking, and what it takes to succeed. The goal is to write a job description that incorporates phrases and words that elicit an emotional response, rather than using a boring corporate tone or loads of buzzwords.

Think like a job seeker to perfect your job title and summary

Your job title and summary might be all a candidate sees when they are scrolling through a job board, so make these elements of the job description count. Include the level of the position, such as assistant or lead, to let potential applicants know right away whether they fit the bill. DON’T use jargon or numbers that are symbols to HR.

The key to a good title is to think like a job seeker. Don’t post a job with a title that you think is catchy or funny. It’s unlikely that candidates will search for jobs using those terms.

Next, write a short descriptive summary that gives an overview of the purpose of the job and the primary responsibilities.

Your summary should be concise, using no more than three or four sentences, and should briefly outline the role and appeal to a job seeker’s needs. For example, “Grow your career in sales with the Bay Area’s hottest new startup” will attract more attention than a title that just reads, “Junior Sales Rep Wanted.” In the summary, don’t just list what you need a new sales rep to do for your company; offer value to the job seeker and share the perks and potential for growth the position offers. Appealing to the needs of the job seeker will set your business apart from your competition.

Outline job responsibilities and duties

Make an outline to develop a good job summaryList five to ten key responsibilities that the applicant would perform if he or she is hired. These functions should be very specific and provide a snapshot of what the new employee will be doing on a day-to-day basis. Use the information you gleaned from your conversations with your top sales people to perfect this section. Don’t be vague – spell out the role and make it clear where your company stands in the industry. List duties and responsibilities using bullet points to make them easy to scan. Don’t include minor details or trivial tasks; instead, focus on what is important in the role. If travel or work events are a big part of the role, be sure to emphasize that in your description.

Recognize that every word counts. The language you use truly has an impact on not only how many people apply to your opening, but also who applies. If the person writing the job descriptions doesn’t have good written communication, find someone else to create them because the writing must be good. You’d be surprised by how you can change your candidate pool just by changing the tone of your job descriptions. If you write them with aggressive sounding words (“rock star” or “killer”), your candidate pool will end up being male dominated. If you balance your word choices with more neutral or feminine-leaning words, not only will you increase the number of female candidates, but it has no negative effect on your male candidate pool.


PONDER THIS: If you’re like most employers, you need about 10 candidates visiting your career site to receive just one application, and you receive about 5-50 applications per hire. That means you need 50-500 apply clicks per hire. Would it make sense to learn how College Recruiter guarantees the quantity and quality you need?


Make your wish list

Sit with your sales team and make two lists. The first list should be of the qualifications that are absolutely critical to succeed in sales. The second list should be those skills that you would love for candidates to possess but that aren’t entirely necessary, or that can be learned on the job. Some examples to consider for your must-have list include years of experience, education level, specific technical proficiencies, excellent verbal and written communications and the ability to handle the physical demands of the job. Preferred skills could include a proficiency with specific programs or software or specialized training in a particular subject matter.

If you are hiring a field sales rep for your beer company, for example, your lists might look like this:

Required Qualifications:

  • 2-3 years of work experience in sales, management or customer relations
  • Must be a self-starter, a people person and have a valid California driver’s license
  • Must love good beer
  • Basic computer competence in Word, Excel, and Outlook
  • Must be eager to learn, to grow, to manage chaos and to create fun

Desired qualifications:

  • Experience using Salesforce
  • Knowledge of the San Francisco Bay Area territory
  • Experience setting up and breaking down events
  • Possessing key account contacts is a plus

Add a call to action

You need a clear call to action in the job descriptionEven the best job description will fail to attract job candidates without a call to action. Encourage candidates to apply for the actual job. At the end of your job post, include a statement such as “apply now,” and add a link or button to make it simple for applicants to take the next steps. If there are any special instructions for applying – for example, if you require a cover letter to be submitted with a resume – be sure to make that clear.

Don’t distract the candidate with tons of clicks away from your career site. If you want to drive the candidate from the job board to your career site, you should focus on that action, instead of distracting them with too many external videos or other clicks to see additional information. Your career site, however, should certainly have all the additional information a job seeker might want to explore.

Examples of real sales job descriptions. Which one would you apply for?

(All organization identifiers have been removed).

Bad sales job description

 

Good sales job description

 

Heather O'NeillAbout Heather O’Neill: Heather is the Senior Content Writer at MightyRecruiter, an end-to-end recruiting solution that makes previously manual, time-consuming tasks easy, quick, and effective. With a background in journalism and marketing, Heather has written for a variety of clients, including Parenting, Workforce, the Connecticut Post, Marin Magazine, the Stamford Advocate, Greenwich Magazine, the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, Amazon, Nerve.com, and SPLIT Quarterly. Heather lives in San Francisco where she received her M.F.A in Creative Writing from California College of the Arts.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Posted in Advice for Employers and Recruiters | Tagged