An Effective Format for Developing a Salesperson’s Job Description

If you’ve been in sales management for any length of time, you’ve probably hired a salesperson who didn’t work out as well as you wanted. Sometimes it’s because the wrong person was hired. Sometimes the right salesperson was hired but was given the wrong instructions or, even worse, no instructions or direction at all.

Getting Started on the Right Foot

A good and thorough job description is one of the major keys to making sure the right person is hired and gets started off properly. If you don’t know what you want someone to do, then anyone can do it! A good job description is not only a primary hiring tool, but it can become the performance standard by which your salespeople are evaluated.

Unfortunately, many companies don’t have formal, written job description, and those that do have a description that looks more like a shopping list than a position description.

One of the reasons companies don’t have good job descriptions is because they’re not sure what should be included or how to go about making a good one. If you’re one of those people, listen up. I’m going to give you an effective format/template along with an example of a simple, yet effective sales position job description.

Sales Position Template

A written sales position job description should include the following.

Position/Job Title: (Use an appropriate title such as Sales Representative, Account Executive, Area Manager, etc.)

Reporting To: (Use the title, not the name, of the individual that the salesperson reports to.)

Primary Goal: (Briefly outline the salesperson’s prime function/responsibility within the company. Note: there is usually only one Primary Goal.)

Secondary Goals: (Briefly outline any secondary goals that are to be done after the primary goal is looked after or under control. There may be several Secondary Goals.)

Performance Target #1: (Name of performance target.)
(Note: Performance Targets are what you want the salesperson to do or accomplish. In order for both the employee and the company to know whether or not the targets have been reached, you need to establish quantifiable performance standards. The actual number of Performance Targets will vary with the position.)

This performance target will have been satisfactorily met when you have:
(Note: The number of standards will vary with the Performance Target.)
1.
2.
3.

Performance Target #2: (Name of performance target.)
This performance target will have been satisfactorily met when you have:
1.
2.
3.

Performance Target #3: (Name of performance target.)
This performance target will have been satisfactorily met when you have:
1.
2.
3.

Performance Target #4: (Name of performance target.)
This performance target will have been satisfactorily met when you have:
1.
2.
3.

Territory/Account Responsibilities: (Briefly define the sales territory and/or accounts the salesperson is expected to handle.)

Working Conditions: (What special conditions will the salesperson be working under such as required travel, overnights away, heavy lifting, vehicle requirements, etc.)

Other: (Any items or conditions that do not fall into one of the above categories.)

So there you have it, a simple template that will help you develop a more effective job description of your salespeople. Let’s see what a typical one might look like.

Sample Sales Position Job Description

Here’s a sample job description for a sales position.

Job Description ““ Sales Position

Position/Job Title: Account Representative

Reporting To: Sales Manager

Primary Goal: To continue to sell the company’s services into existing  accounts and   to develop a new base of clients.

Secondary Goal: Develop, build, and maintain ongoing relationships with major accounts and key decision makers.

Performance Target #1:   Sales Objectives
This performance target will have been satisfactorily met when you have:
1.  Made total sales of $2,500,000 by December 30, 2011.
2.  Minimum monthly sales to existing accounts of $150,000 between January 1, 2011 and December 30, 2011.
3.  Minimum monthly sales to new accounts of $50,000 between January 1, 2011 and December 30, 2011.

Performance Target #2:   Account Development
This performance target will have been satisfactorily met when you have:
1.  Contacted at least 15 existing accounts each month.
2.  Contacted a minimum of 5 new accounts each month.
3.  Found at least 3 new sales opportunities each month.
4.  Maintained detailed account records.

Performance Target #3:   Sales Activity
This performance target will have been satisfactorily met when you have:
1.  Completed a minimum of 12 cold calls a week.
2.  Prepared customer presentations, estimates, and quotations within 24 hours of a client visit or request.
3.  Assisted in the development of sales and marketing plans.

Performance Target #4:   Sales Administration
This performance target will have been satisfactorily met when you have:
1.  Prepared monthly, quarterly and annual sales forecasts.
2.  Attended weekly sales meeting.
3.  Maintained an updated Sales Opportunity Report (SOR).
4.  Submitted your Monthly SOR within 2 days of month end.
5.  Completed call reports on a daily basis.
6.  Submitted monthly expenses within 10 days of month end.

Performance Target #5:   Sales Tools/Promotion
This performance target will have been satisfactorily met when you have:
1.  Maintained a professional sales binder.
2.  Maintained information on direct competitors, their services, and pricing.

Performance Target #6:   Self-Development
This performance target will have been satisfactorily met when you have:
1.  Successfully completed the company sales training program.
2.  Read one sales and/or motivational book each quarter.
3.  Attended sales, product/services information and other training sessions as    required.

Sales Territory:
South Eastern Ontario and other accounts as assigned by the company (see Appendix A).

Working Conditions:
Up to 5 days of overnight travel are required each month.

Other:
You are required to have a late model automobile, no more than 5 years old.

As you can see, this format leaves little ambiguity about what is expected from the salesperson.

The Bottom Line

A good job description will get your new salesperson off to a good start by having your performance expectations set out in advance. It also provides a standard against which you can gauge the person’s performance. No performance, no job.

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