Finding a suitable candidate for a sales position is a tough job! Ask any hiring manager and you will get the same feedback. “We get a lot of applications but taking a decision on a candidate’s potential for revenue generation is very difficult.”
Here is a list of essentials that every sales professional must show on their resume. The following is a perspective from a hiring and employer’s point of view.
1) Consistency In Revenue Generation.
Consistency in revenue generation is very important for all companies.The common mistake that most job seekers make is that they think that highlighting their key achievements or brilliant breakthroughs only is good enough. It is not enough.
Your CV must also communicate your ability to consistently bring in revenue for the company and contribute towards the growth of the company.
Let’s say you signed a million dollar contract or got a high value sale. That shows that you are competent and successful. But the question that arises is whether that is a fluke or can you do it again and again and again?
# The most effective way to show consistency in revenue generation is through your achievements in all the companies you have worked for. Your current job is important but to show consistency you need to show your achievements and contributions in all the posts you held from the beginning of your career till now.
2) Specialization Of Product Or Services
Sales and marketing is a highly specialized function. Whether you are a junior person or at a senior management level, your knowledge of the market and the product is important to a company. This helps in reducing the training period and also ensures that you have the potential to reduce the gestation period to produce results that everyone has when they join a new company.
The truth is that most companies are usually very clear about what they want – They want to know what your expertise and contacts are.
Most job seekers presume that the ability to successfully sell a product is all that’s important and if they manage to show that then a company will believe you have the ability to sell anything. This is not true. Success in sales has a basis in your experience in handling a product, territory or clientele. This is your background and specialization and this is what one looks for while screening a CV.
# Make sure you are very clear about showing your specialization.
You can show it in the following ways:
The products that you have managed are very important. Most job seekers make the mistake of generalizing too much. For example, saying you sell generators is not enough, they come with various capacities which also determines the end user- Eg. household, cement plant or airfield.
Or for example only mentioning that you sell insurance is vague because insurance is also of various types. Do not make the person who is reading your CV have to guess the nature of the job you were performing. Spell it out and clearly explain what products you have handled.
I have also noticed that often very senior professionals make the mistake of presuming that because they are so senior and have good experience, that they need not spell out the product – since they only need to handle a managerial function of directing a sales team, and that their job is directing and not frontline selling. This is counterproductive as hiring managers will most definitely want senior managers with relevant work experience.
Look at it like this. If I am a hiring manager then I will be looking for specific experience with a specific product. So if my company is selling paints to builders and construction companies then I would prefer someone who has done this job over someone who is selling telecom services to builders and construction companies. I would also reject the CV if it just says I sell paints because I cannot figure out if you are doing direct sales to builders or just to your dealer network and stockists.
And never presume that just because the company you are working for is famous that everyone can guess the product you handle. ITC is into FMCG, hotels, paperboards,packaging, agro-business & information technology. So if your CV says I am working for ITC, I still don’t know what you are selling. If your CV says I am working for Rolls Royce without mentioning that you sell Aero Engines, I might think that you are selling motor cars because that is what I know. Be clear and specific about information. Nobody will do an internet search or call you to ask.
II) Sales Channels.
If you are selling a product then a company wants to know to whom you sell it to? Most job seekers never bother to explain this.
For example FMCG, automobiles, paint, financial services, IT products, security equipment, all have specific channels of sale either through dealer networks, retail outlets, direct sales, networking…
If you say you are the General Manager Sales or a Sales Executive then I would like to know what channel of sales you can develop for my company. This is your real expertise and it also reflects your contacts. If you have experience in selling property, thermal power plants, insurance or toothpaste then how you developed, managed and generated revenue out of the sales channel is extremely important.
Also show what you have developed. For example- I developed a network of stockists in Europe to sell Herbal shampoos. Or I developed contacts in the Ministry of Power / Energy to sell high voltage power transmission products. Or I sold health insurance to the existing account holders of our bank.
What must show clearly in your CV is your knowledge, experience and success in the relevant sales and marketing channel.
What you sell and where you sell it is the core of any sales and marketing resume, however junior or senior you are in your job.
Did you manage sales in a particular city, region, country, and continent? Be specific about showing this. It is highly important.
If I am looking for a Territory Manager for a particular region and you have handled that region only then you may be suitable. If I want a Country Head in Europe and you have only worked in African markets then you are definitely not suitable.
But if you do not mention anything in the hope that the company will be confused enough to call you for an interview, it will not work. They will just move on to the next CV.
Many job-seekers tend to isolate their achievements and put them in a list on top of the resume. You must ensure your achievements are listed along side your experience as well, so that it gives hiring managers a complete picture.
When you show achievements on your CV, you have to be specific to the role that you handled for that particular job to which the achievement belongs.
For example: You say you successfully sold – 2 million dollars of soap in Japan or India through distributors, That’s good – but if you add the fact that you did this for a new brand of luxury soap that the company launched, it improves the perspective and adds to the achievement. Or if you are selling services for bridge construction specify the kind of bridge- over swimming pools, lakes or seas? And tell them where you sold it and what revenue generation was achieved. Achievements are about the real work that you have done.
Achievements have to presented in a factual manner. For example: By how much did you increase revenue? How did your marketing strategy make an impact on the company you worked for? Quantify your achievements, include detailed facts and figures.
And remember that self praise is your opinion about yourself. It does not impress any one. Your CV clearly needs to prove how and why your are the best choice for the company.
Please remember that Sales positions have a lot competition. This is also a function that is quantifiable, so it has to be performance driven. Delivery, performance and revenue generation is very crucial to an organization. Your CV must be able to show these aspects.
Is your resume showing your expertise as a sales professional? Send your resume for a FREE professional evaluation and feedback now to firstname.lastname@example.org and get tips on how to improve your CV.
Also feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/limasehgal?trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile for regular CV tips, vacancies, interview tips and advice on how to conduct a successful job search.
Lima Sehgal is a Publisher, Author, Career and Resume Development Specialist.
Other Contact details include: skype: lima.sehgal Or WhatsApp: 0091- 8130680957