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Key steps in drafting the job description of a salesperson

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A formalisation tool, the job description is indispensable in recruitment as it outlines the profile of the best applicant. Also, it forms an essential basis in establishing the training plans and assessing the performance of an employee.

Practical tips for drafting a pertinent job description of a salesperson

Before going deeper into this subject, we must distinguish between the terms profession, position and job. The profession is a set of crafts with a common background: salesperson is a profession. In this profession we find several positions, such as sales manager, sales representative or technical and sales representative. On the other hand, the job is related to organisation and relevant needs. Thus, a job of area sales lead in one company may be a job of area sales manager in another company, with similar responsibilities or even market lead for sector lead in companies specialising in mass distribution.

Required information

The more the job description is more detailed and specific, the better you identify the job, its assignments and your needs. The job description will specify the following:

1. Job title

For instance, it is a job of sales representative. Specify also the status, rank and salary bracket (fixed and variable).

2. Context

Specify the place in the company (organisation chart) and define sector mapping, i.e. in geographical terms or distribution of customer portfolio (institutional, private or SMEs, large accounts).

3. Place in the organisationt

Specify hierarchical position and size, for instance number of salesperson under his/her coordination. Also specify interactions of the job with the internal departments of the company: logistics, marketing, sales administration, customer service, research and development, after-sale services …

4. Purpose

In compliance with company needs: sales, negotiation, new customers, prospecting …

5. Professional objectives or performance indicators

These are the criteria used to concretely assess whether the performance matches the expectations. They can be used in the performance assessment process. Indicators will vary, often including elements resulting from the following:

  • Figures (turnover, referencing gain, gain of market share, budget management, optimisation of means)
  • Workload (number of visits/day for a salesperson on the field)
  • Customer relations
  • Management of employees, involvement, tours/field training
  • Other (competition, transmission of information, management of transverse projects …)

6. Assignments and activities

Once again, the more you are more specific, the better the job description. Feel free to include all activities that the salesperson will have to carry out in order to fulfil his/her assignment.

  1. An action verb: to be actively informed, to prospect, to set estimates, to sell, to negotiate, to gain loyalty.
  2. Content of the role to be taken up: completes the action verb (e.g. ensuring achievement of fixed targets). Specify the scope as well.
  3. Target/customers: identify the persons who expect the services (external and internal customers, e.g. hierarchy, other job-related services).
  4. Quality to be provided: determine how the services will be assessed (according to defined expectations, regulations in force, within allotted budget …).
  5. Method: specify the method of service provision (by communication and sharing, via close collaboration, etc.).

7. Necessary skills

They are divided into knowledge and know-how, including training, sales expertise and theoretical knowledge, and social skills that relate to the intrinsic qualities of an applicant, such as: organisational skills, ability to deal with numbers, rigour or ability to synthesise.

8. Searched profile

Specify required degrees and required level of experience. Such information will be useful in the recruitment phase.

9. Evolution

Take this opportunity to draft the job description in order to plan and anticipate its evolution. Will this job go in a different direction, such as marketing, logistics or a managerial position?

The job description has several functions. When hiring, it allows you to identify the needs of the company and the profile of the ideal applicant. When using it, it formalises the objectives of the employee and allows for assessing his/her performance. It is useful in preparing the training plan. Equally, it forms the basis of a decision or of an approach on provisional management of employment and skills, providing a clear reading of possible developments with the organisation. It is a working document that should be complete in order to become valuable.

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