How to write an effective sales rep job description

It’s an exciting time at your company. Your sales team is growing and you, as the sales manager, have been tasked with finding stellar candidates to fill your new sales positions. Whether you’re hiring a sales representative or an account executive, selecting the right candidate is crucial to succeeding as a sales team and improving revenue for your company.

To find the best applicant, you must write a thoughtful, engaging sales job description. Don’t slap together a description as it sets the tone for the entire process. Furthermore, if the criteria are not clearly spelled out in the job description, you may end up with a hire who hurts your overall customer experience.

The better and more accurate the description, the higher the likelihood you’ll find the right match for the position. And that can determine whether you hit your targets and generate revenue.

Obviously, how you describe an open position will depend on what that role requires. In this article, we’ll start by going over job description basics and then look at descriptions/sales job description templates for two common sales positions:

  • Sales representative (entry-level sales role)
  • Account executive (more tenured sales role)

First, let’s look at common sections that are important to any sales job description and how they need to be written.

Nail your sales job description

Regardless of the role you’re hiring for, job descriptions typically have the same structure:

  • Company info
  • Title info
  • Summary objective
  • Qualifications
  • Job duties and responsibilities

It’s how you approach this structure that makes all the difference. Just as job seekers want to sell their skills and abilities to you, you also must sell your company and department to attract the most talented candidates. When writing each sales rep job description, think about the following:

1. Identify your ideal candidate.

This element is the foundation on which to build your entire sales rep job description. Just as you do when you’re writing buyer personas, create a document (if you don’t already have one) that outlines your target applicant—one who has all of the necessary skills for the role and whose values align with your company culture.

Next, brainstorm and answer these questions to complement your target applicant doc and dig into the main purpose of the new position:

  • Is a similar position already in place?
  • How will this position differ?
  • What value will this position provide the department?
  • What are some example sales goals?
  • What are the minimum skills required?

Interview your top-performing sales reps and account executives to truly understand their daily responsibilities and what skills/tasks are required in their position. Incorporate their feedback into the description as required skills and actual daily responsibilities like the Buffer example below.

Buffer sales position)

Buffer sales rep job description

Hint: Even if a task is more difficult, include it in the description if it’s something that the candidate will be working on. Be transparent.

2. Keep your sales rep job post concise

Wordiness. It has scared away many an applicant. Managers eager to include EVERYTHING a job requires end up going overboard. They bombard candidates with a dense page of responsibilities and information about their company and end up with overwhelmed candidates who opt out of applying.

Notice how Bread expertly handled their company description. Rather than inserting a sentence, such as “Bread makes buying essential items such as furniture, vehicles, etc., cost less for people with an average salary,” the company gets right to the point, “Bread makes essential purchases affordable to regular people.”

Bread sales job description

Bread sales position

To write a succinct sales job description, think of the lessons you learned in your high school English class.

  • Avoid prepositional phrases.
  • Don’t use two words when one will do.
  • Focus on what’s actually needed in the position.
  • Keep it short, sweet, and to the point.

If it helps, write out the sales rep description first (fluff and all). Then go back through and delete words/unnecessary sentences.

Hint: Definitely include information about your company but don’t give them your entire website copy.

3. Avoid vague, generic descriptions

Let’s face it, sales lingo can be dry at times. It’s just easier to jot down general responsibilities, like “responsible for bringing potential customers into the company via lead generation.”

Don’t take the easy way out. Use the information you gathered during meetings with your hiring team and recruiter, and nail down actual tasks. Like this: “You’ll learn everything about our service and be able to pitch the benefits of our offering whether to an executive or junior buyer.”

Auth0 took a similar approach in their description for a Junior Sales Engineer. For example, each bullet point states a responsibility that the candidate will have and how they’ll go about accomplishing each one (e.g., “responding to technical questions”).

Auth0 job description

Auth0 sales rep job description

Hint: Avoid buzzwords like “competitive salary” and “dynamic team player.” Too many companies include phrases like these that add no real value to the description.

4. Ditch the sales jargon

While you want to add relevant role details, you also don’t want to make your position description difficult to understand with too much sales jargon. According to one survey, “57% of respondents said jargon in job ads puts them off applying for a role.” The same survey also found that the sales industry is one of the worst for using jargon!

The best candidates are busy. They don’t have time to decipher confusing position descriptions, so the language needs to be as clear and straightforward as possible.

Avoid technical wording and phrases that cause candidates to scratch their heads and wonder what you’re trying to convey. Don’t use words like “KPIs” or “SQLs,” especially for entry-level sales positions. Put your entire description in layman’s terms — similar to what was done in this Zendesk job posting. Each section gives a quick summary and isn’t weighed down with unnecessary sales words.

Zendesk job description)

Zendesk sales position

Hint: If you must use technical or legal terms, consider doing so toward the end of the description.

5. Be human in your sales job description

Many startups today provide a comfortable work environment—dogs are allowed, the dress code is casual, and employees can take as much time off as needed. As a result, many job applicants expect workplaces to be welcoming and friendly.

Attract these candidates by reflecting the personal side of your company culture in your job description. Do you have an amazing office space? Share about it. Let them know that the company they’re considering has personality. Take GitHub, for example. In their job posting, the developer company summarizes who they are and what they value as a company. They also use engaging words such as “amazing” and “challenging”:

GitHub sales position

GitHub sales position

In addition to listing company culture elements, the right wording is crucial in setting the tone from the start. Don’t be afraid to add some humor or at least warmth. Try to be conversational. One way to do this is to use the second person to address the candidate like, “You are an excellent social seller.” Avoid third-person phrases, such as “The candidate should be skilled at social selling.”

Hint: Specifically identify company values along with a description of your company culture.

6. Communicate the value of the position

You’re vying for the attention of every candidate. The best candidates know what they’re looking for in a job. If you fail to communicate why the position is important and what the candidate will get out of it, you risk losing their application.

Your value proposition goes beyond salary. Entice candidates with your job description by also highlighting these non-monetary factors:

  • Benefits
  • Work-life balance
  • Career growth opportunities
  • Product/service quality

For example, according to Bridge, offering career training and development would keep 86% of millennials from leaving their current position. Clearly communicate what you have to offer, and your job description will inspire job seekers and motivate them to apply.

Amplitude took this approach with their Enterprise Sales Development Representative position. The description states how the candidate will grow over a 90-day timeline and how the company will support this growth:

Amplitude sales job description

Amplitude sales rep job description

Hint: Candidates want to know that their hard work will mean something. Also answer the questions: how does the position contribute to the success of your company? How will this candidate’s contribution impact the bottom line?

Learn from standout sales job description examples

To help you write your own job descriptions, here are two templates, one for an entry-level and one for a tenured sales role. If you’re unsure about the general responsibilities and requirements of either a sales rep or an account executive, use the descriptions below as a jumping-off point to create your own.

Hint: Notice how these descriptions incorporate the elements listed above in our six writing tips.

1) Sales Development Rep Description

Specific job responsibilities will depend on your company, but typically a sales development rep uses their communication and interpersonal skills to generate leads, build customer relationships, convey benefits, and, hopefully, sell new products or services.

Negotiation skills are a must, as well as a strong ability to connect with people. Presentation experience and networking skills are also essential. Common responsibilities include cold calling, emailing, social selling, and acting as the first face for a client.

Here’s a sales representative job description template:

Passionate about a career in sales? Looking for a doorway into one of the fastest-growing industries in the world (SaaS)? We are looking for entry-level Sales Representative professionals to join our growing team.

Our Inside Sales Representative role offers an environment to learn, practice, challenge, and establish a strong foundation that’s invaluable to your career. The focus is on supporting our sales teams with more leads, more closed deals, and more revenue. Your efforts directly give to Zendesk Sell’s top-line growth — providing you with a professional development path into a consultative selling, Account Executive position.

Why Zendesk Sell?

100% year-over-year growth for 6 straight years.
Recognized by Gartner as “Forward-thinking” in the SFA Magic Quadrant.
Disruptive strength in the enormous $36 billion CRM / SFA marketplace.

Responsibilities

Qualifying and disqualifying inbound leads in a high-volume environment using calls, emails, and LinkedIn inmails.
Representing our brand as the first point of contact between Domestic and International C-level executives, decision-makers, and influencers.
Building credibility and value in our solution through strategic research and preparation.
Innovating lead generation processes by taking part in executive leadership meetings.

Requirements

Bachelor’s degree from an accredited 4-year university.
Intelligence, Character, Coachable, Experience.
Focused on a long-term sales career.

Bonus Points

Working knowledge of the CRM industry.
Sandler, Spin, Challenger, Strongman, Force Management training.
Understand and articulate a qualification methodology such as BANT.

[Source]

Why it’s effective:

  • The beginning summary draws the candidate in and gets them excited to work for Zendesk.
  • The description is brief and concise.
  • Rather than titling the last section something generic like “Desired Skills,” the writer of this description chose “Bonus Points” as the header.
  • The responsibilities are specific to the role: “Qualifying and disqualifying inbound leads in a high-volume environment using calls, emails, and LinkedIn inmails.”
  • Language is easy to understand.

2) Account Executive Description

A step up from a sales representative, an account executive uses their expert communication skills to generate sales opportunities and take ownership of their assigned accounts. They nurture relationships with current clients and also build relationships with new ones. They work with both clients and internal teams.

A successful account executive knows how to balance planning and account coordination. They regularly report on the health of their accounts. They are also skilled in identifying growth opportunities with clients, such as upsells.

Here’s an example of a sales job description for an account executive:

About Zendesk Sell

Recently acquired by Zendesk (formerly Base), we’re building a product for Salespeople called Zendesk Sell, part of the wider suite of Zendesk products. We have a big vision for 2020 and a small, highly talented team within Zendesk. Everyone at Zendesk has the opportunity to make a big impact on the productivity of millions. Zendesk is an amazing place to work for self-driven and dynamic people who solve big problems that disrupt a multi-billion dollar industry. Zendesk Sell began when we were frustrated by our own experience with CRM and was founded in 2009 based on a strong internal belief that businesses deserve better, smarter software. The Sell team is a small and dynamic group (150 people) operating inside of the amazing Zendesk team of 2,500 employees.

Why be an Account Executive?

Located in our sunny (sometimes) San Francisco office, our sales team is looking for a bright, motivated and high-performing Account Executive to join our crew. As an Account Executive at Zendesk Sell, you will be responsible for managing and closing opportunities within a territory. This person must demonstrate all the behaviors associated with a high-performance sales culture, specifically prospecting for new business, upsell and cross-sell within our extensive install base and delivering results against a quota. Sound like you? Read on…

Responsibilities:

Exceed activity, pipeline, and revenue goals on a quarterly basis
Continually build pipeline of new business, upsell, and cross-sell opportunities
Become an expert on Zendesk Sell and conduct discovery calls, presentations, and demos with prospects and customers
Develop and manage relationships with prospects and accounts within your assigned territory
Demonstrate and sell value to key stakeholders within the accounts during fast-moving as well as complex sales cycles
Work in a team-selling environment specifically building relationships with Zendesk Support counterparts.
Track all opportunity and customer details including use case, purchase time frames, next steps, and forecasting in Zendesk Sell

Requirements:

Bachelor’s degree
Experience selling to Director/VP level leaders
2+ years of software selling experience; SaaS experience preferred
Track record of success selling into mid-market companies
Technically savvy; thorough understanding of a related technology (CRM, SFA, Support Software, SaaS)
Proficiency using CRM; (Base CRM, Pipedrive, Copper, Salesforce, etc.)
Skilled in virtual presentations, online web demos, remote sales processes
Exceptional verbal and written communication skills

[Source]

Why it’s effective:

  • Clearly outlines why you should be an AE with Zendesk Sell.
  • Injects personality into the role: “Located in our sunny (sometimes) San Francisco office, our sales team is looking for a bright, motivated and high-performing Account Executive to join our crew.”
  • Defines how the company will bring value to the candidate’s career.
  • Goes more in-depth as it’s for a tenured role; however, it’s still concise.

Set yourself up for success with your sales rep job description

Your sales rep job description is your first opportunity to leave a positive impression on job seekers. Wow applicants by taking the time to write a balanced job description. Use tried-and-true formulas, as seen in our templates, while also customizing the description language to fit your company’s needs. This thoughtful approach to job postings will increase your chances of finding the best-fit candidate, whether you’re hiring a sales rep or an account executive.

Need more hiring process tips? Check out our other posts to help you find, interview, and hire the perfect sales candidates:

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