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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

How to Create a Sales Job Description that isn’t a Waste of Time

How_to_Create_a_Sales_Job_Description_that_isn’t_a_Waste_of_TimeMost sales managers don’t like to create job descriptions. I have never enjoyed it much myself, but I am starting to think that it’s more important than many of us have thought.

In the last few months, I have been involved in helping several clients refine job descriptions. Someone besides the sales managers usually created the rough drafts that have been sent to me. Sometimes they come from inside the organization and sometimes from outside, but in 100% of the cases I have found myself thinking that what I was reading was not very useful. Sales managers are in a better position to write these than anyone else, but they don’t want to do it.

Creating or refining job descriptions is an important step to success. The outline below is something I have recently created. It may not be definitive for all jobs, but I think it works pretty well for titles within a sales organization. 

If you are a sales manager, use this outline to make the task easier (and more productive).

Here’s the outline I suggest:

1. Job Title
2. Job Purpose
3. Primary Responsibilities
4. Leading Indicators
5. Performance Tracking
6. Initial Measures

1. Job Title

Think about how you want the person to introduce themselves to clients and prospects. You want a title that sounds like the person is working on the behalf of clients, not your organization. For example, instead of calling someone the Business Development Manager, consider calling him or her something like Client Solutions Manager. If good ideas don't come to you on the job title right away, complete the rest of this outline first and then come back and work on this.

2. Job Purpose

Start by asking yourself what is the business need that prompted us to hire this person? Complete these statements:

  • We need this person because…
  • They will increase sales or add to our overall profitability by…

For someone who is hired to set appointments for salespeople, the job purpose might look like this: 

Find new potential advertisers who can spend $10,000 or more a month and set up appointments for salespeople with those prospects. 

3. Primary Responsibilities

Try to limit it to the top 4 to 5 or if you can’t condense that much, at least place in 4 to 5 groups, with bullet points under those main items.

Let’s continue with the person who is being hired to set appointments for salespeople. The primary responsibilities might look like this:

Secure appointments with potential new advertisers who can spend $10,000 or more a month:

  • Make a new list of possible Target accounts to approach each month, cleared with sales management.
  • Create a plan of approach to get their attention and ultimately secure an appointment.
  • Be persistent, making 4 or 5 attempts with each prospect over a 2- to 3-week period of time. If you can’t break through at that point, drop the prospect and move on.
  • Set up appointments for the salespeople with those prospects you connect with.

4. Leading Indicators

What will you measure regularly to provide the best chance for success

For example, the Leading Indicators for a salesperson you hire to focus on business development might look something like this:

  • The number of target accounts they have at any given time
  • Number of first-time face-to-face calls on target accounts
  • Number of presentations made to target accounts
  • Average dollar-amount of each proposal
  • Average time from first call to close on those target accounts

5. Performance Tracking

What will you track regularly to be sure the person in this job is having success? For the same business development job, the performance tracking might look something like this:

  • Monthly billing
  • Performance vs. goal
  • Number of new accounts per month
  • Average billing per account

6. Initial Measures

To get started, complete this statement. I will know they are off to a good start after 30 days if…

You might decide on something like this for that new salesperson focused on business development:

  •  Identify 50 potential prospects in week one and then work to secure an appointment with the 5 best prospects by the end of 30 days. 

Once you build your job description, you may think it’s time to start recruiting.  But there’s one more step: you need to build what we call a Spec Sheet. Click here to learn more.

Download Job Analysis and Spec Sheet