Steve Jobs hit the nail on the head when he said, “You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.”
While you may not be looking for the next Steve Jobs, you want someone with the right job skills who can predict your customers’ needs, pitch your product, and cultivate strong customer relationships—usually with other businesses, from the initial lead to the final deal’s closing.
Everyone knows what sales are, so there’s no need to waste words explaining the basics. Instead, our three sales representative job description examples and tips will help you write an effective job description that’ll return some high-quality sales representative resumes your way.
Sales Representative Job Description Example
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Direct Sales Representative Job Description Example
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Digital Sales Representative Job Description Example
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Write a Sales Representative Job Description that Sells
Remember that your job description needs to sell the job. Since you’re looking for a great sales representative for your company, it’s doubly important to snag the candidate’s attention and convince them that your job is the best one for them.
The right approach to your sales job description
Don’t bore them with bland and generic responsibilities or overly-detailed technical requirements:
- The sales representative is responsible for selling products and meeting customer needs while obtaining orders
It’s way too general and tells the reader nothing useful. Applicants know what a sales representative does at a high level. You don’t need to include anything that would be part of basic and standard definitions.
We do, however, encourage you to include interesting and unique things about the company and/or role.
- What’s cool about your company and/or the product or services you sell?
- Do you sell a technology-leading product?
- Does your company have a great work-from-home program?
Give the reader a strong, positive sense of what your company is about. This is especially useful if you’re struggling to make your sales representative role stand out.
Another strong approach is to focus on why you’re hiring a sales representative in the first place. This is also a good way to discuss the challenges that the position will need to address.
- If your company is losing sales, can you speak to that discreetly?
- What market, competitive, or economic obstacles will your sales rep need to overcome?
- Or perhaps your company is doing very well and needs to scale up for growth. Talk about the need for leadership, organizational, and financial management abilities.
Highlight the best attributes of great sales professionals
Outstanding sales professionals have many characteristics that you obviously want to consider when recruiting and hiring; however, you’ll more easily find the right fit if your job description reflects the characteristics you most want to see in your candidates:
- Positive attitude. A somewhat obvious trait, but an essential one for anyone in the sales game. No one wants to buy anything from a “Debbie downer;” likewise, don’t expect a sales rep to want to work at your company without some pep and energy behind your job ad.
- Active Listening. Another soft skill that is difficult to assess from a resume. Any successful sales professional must have this to continue to be successful. Similarly, you should make it clear that you value your employees and are willing to listen to and support them.
- Time Management. Not necessarily exclusive to sales, but it’s important to not only be able to manage your own time, but also manage time for your clients. This is what makes an exceptional sales pro. So, in your job ad, cut to the chase and be mindful of what you choose to include.
- Storytelling. To sell something, you need a good story. Why does your product exist? What problem does it solve? A great sales pro can spin a captivating tale about what they are selling. And, if you want to secure that great sales pro, then think of your job description as the story of the company and role.
Here’s what to avoid with your sales job description
We’ve covered some things that you should do; now let’s talk about some things you should not do. These may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many of these common errors slip by and get into published documents.
- Spelling and grammatical errors. While almost everyone uses automated spelling and grammar checking tools, these don’t catch it all nor always understand the nuances of language. Always carefully check your writing and then check it again. Look for common errors like incorrect tense, overuse of adverbs, and construction misuse. Have others take a look, too.
- Brevity. Regarding the actual content, keep it short and to the point. No one wants to read an overly long and detailed job description. Save the nitty-gritty for interviews. Having a long list of job qualifications is also a common mistake. List essentials for the job and avoid listing what any sales rep job will require like basic communication and teamwork skills.
We’ve said it before, but it’s worth stating again—proofread your work. Revise, edit, and check it again. Anything less than your best will get you less than the best candidates.
Outline Your Sales Representative Job Description
Creating a great job description for your sales representative role can be a challenge. Don’t get overwhelmed by a blank screen. On the other side of the equation, your candidates are getting their thoughts down with a resume outline. The same can be true for you: The first and best way to get started with any writing task is by building a solid outline.
In the first section of your sales rep job description, quickly introduce your company and the position you want to fill. This is your chance to get the reader’s attention. Make a lackluster impression, and potential candidates will probably move to the next post. Share exactly what makes being a sales rep at your company exceptional.
About the company
Next, this section should contain additional information about your company. Sales professionals are interested in company product and service innovations and future business strategy development. Use some of these things to make a great impression on your potential candidates.
What you’ll be doing
Make a bulleted list of the most important tasks that you need a sales rep to perform for your organization. Remember to keep it short, but don’t leave out anything crucial. You can put anything that makes the job attractive at the top of the list. As with any good business document, use active verbs, don’t use jargon or filler, and be clear and concise.
Another bonus to doing this section up right is the fact that you’ll give applicants a strong foundation for writing their sales cover letters. They’ll be able to speak directly to your needs and goals.
- Present, promote, and sell with skilled and sincere rhetoric to existing and prospective customers
- Perform cost-benefit and needs analysis to meet existing and potential clients’ needs
- Resolve customer problems and complaints proactively
This section will make or break your job description because this is the point where candidates will decide whether their background and career skills are a fit. It’s customary to include any education and experience levels first. If you require any sales-specific certifications or training, include that, too.
Your qualification list should be comprehensive, but an overly long list of qualifications for a sales representative position will discourage job seekers. Focus on the key and unique requirements for your company, and avoid generic, vague statements. If your position is a mid- or higher-level position, there’s no need to include lower-level requirements. It’s assumed candidates will already have acquired entry-level skills in a previous position.
- Bachelor’s in a business-related field or equivalent experience
- 5+ years of progressively more responsible sales experience (experience with cardiovascular medical devices is a bonus!)
- Familiarity with BRM and CRM along with the ability to build productive business relationships
- CCSP certification a plus
Benefits are often overlooked and/or not given enough attention. Where you place them in the overall format is not so important as this section is something all candidates are eager to find.
So many companies fail to include things like salary and insurance, but this is really frustrating to job seekers. They’ll appreciate your transparency. Beyond that, include anything your company provides that’s exceptional or unusual, like wellness programs, family leave, or educational reimbursement. Out-of-the-ordinary benefits may warrant moving this section closer to the top of your job description to grab their attention.
A Sales Representative’s Roles and Responsibilities
A sales representative can perform many roles within a company. This is a typical statement for many jobs, but it’s especially true in sales because, when it gets down to it, every company is selling something. So, sales reps must become well-versed in the industry as well as the product.
Below are some examples—which you can use for inspiration when crafting your job description—a sales representative in your company may face, what is required to accomplish success, and the associated skills:
It’s key that your sales rep drive primary sales strategy through the creation and delivery of sales presentations to a range of (existing and prospective) clients. This takes basic communication skills to the next level.
- Create and give exceptional sales presentations, and portray products in a way that connects with the customer.
- Skill: communication
- Skill: storytelling
New sales development
Slumping sales are always a challenge that organizations battle. A sales representative counters this by leveraging their superior skills in seeking, identifying, and working leads to generate new revenues.
- Turn around sales revenues by X percent or more through outstanding sales development and product expertise.
- Skill: product and market knowledge
- Skill: prospecting
Boosting revenues and profits by effectively negotiating contracts is also a major part of the equation. These skills are crucial for ensuring that the company gets the best deal and most profits from every contract.
- Successfully close X contracts to improve revenues by X percent and profits by over $X.
- Skill: negotiation
- Skill: objection handling
Don’t overlook the need to maintain and grow business by determining pricing schedules for quotes, promotions, and negotiations. These are general management skills, but a sales rep must hone and tailor these for making the most of sales operations for the business.
- Create effective pricing schedules that boost sales by X percent and increase customer retention by X percent.
- Skill: financial management
- Skill: time management
The other end of the scale for sales representatives is to increase and sustain sales, usually achieved by meeting or exceeding sales goals. Directly related to communication, this is on the receiving side. It’s key for a sales rep to understand clients’ needs and build a partnership with them to create success for both sides.
- Successfully manage a portfolio of X clients with a total annual revenue of over $X.
- Skill: active listening
- Skill: relationship building
- Skill: conflict resolution