A sales cover letter is a chance to sell yourself. It’s an opportunity to personalize your job application and explain why you’re the best person for the sales job you want.
Moreover, it gives you a chance to prove that you have the selling skills necessary to succeed in a role. While it’s true that only 26% of recruiters consider cover letters essential in decision making, hiring managers are a different story.
In fact, 83% of hiring managers and HR professionals say that cover letters can boost your chances of getting an interview.
That’s because recruiters are the first line of defense. At this stage, your sales resume matters the most. But once the talent pool is whittled down, hiring managers are looking to better understand who you are, what makes you stand out from the crowd and why you’re the best fit for the job.
In this article, we’re going to explain why sales cover letters matter, what sales managers look for in an ideal candidate and how to make your sales cover letter stand out, as well as sharing some example cover letters.
What’s in this article:
Why do sales cover letters matter?
As a sales professional, your role is to position a company’s products or services as the solution to their target audience’s problems.
Similarly, in a professional cover letter, you must position yourself as the answer to their hiring needs.
A great cover letter can help you stand out from the crowd. You’re competing in a saturated market during your job search and many applicants have similar skills to your own. Your cover letter can give you the edge over the competition and complement your resume.
Use the cover letter to not only showcase your skills but to sell yourself, explaining exactly why and how your past work experience will help you deliver results.
Take this time to show that you care not only about landing the sales position but also the company you’re applying to. Conduct thorough research and tie your own personal experiences to the company’s values.
For example, if you’re applying for a job at an email marketing SaaS company and have used their platform before, mention it. Talk about how their software helped you in a previous job or endeavor and relay your passion for the tools and their features.
A touch of personalization like this can go a long way. Personalization is key in sales because it humanizes the customer journey and selling process. Using it in your cover letter has the same outcome. It gives you the chance to expand beyond simply a name on a piece of paper and helps to bring your application to life.
It also proves that you’ve done your due diligence with their products and have found a way to tie that into your unique narrative and background. This shows that you can replicate this process with your future leads, prospect’s and customers if hired.
What do sales managers look for in an ideal sales candidate?
There are many types of sales methodologies and each one requires varying degrees of skill.
However, sales superstars share basic strengths and qualities that help them go above and beyond.
- Responsibility: Elite sales performers take ownership and accountability for their performance. They don’t blame anybody else for their shortcomings and set high goals for themselves.
- Coachability: They pick up processes and operations quickly and easily in order to perform at a high standard. As sales associates must continually learn about new products, features, tools, trends and techniques, they need to be adept at understanding and showcasing this knowledge on a regular basis.
- Goal orientation: Successful reps constantly set and surpass their targets and objectives. They go beyond what is expected and are eager to learn in order to level-up their skillset and performance.
- High motivation, willpower or grit: Reps need to be motivated and ready to convert prospects into customers, every single day. Furthermore, they need to handle rejection well and press on. Seasoned reps understand that rejection is part of the game, push through rejection and persevere.
- Product knowledge: Superstar reps have a deep understanding of the products they are selling. This allows them to portray tremendous confidence and enables them to have more meaningful conversations with their leads and prospects. They don’t stop at simply understanding a product; they become experts on the solutions they’re selling.
- Customer connection: They take the time to understand their customer’s pain points and needs in order to help solve their problems. They go beyond simply trying to sell a product or service and are genuinely interested in improving their prospects’ day-to-day. By perfecting listening skills, they can ask pointed questions to allow the prospect to come to their own conclusions about why they need their products.
- Sales process conformity or adaptability: They adhere to the sales process that their company and managers have set forth. Simultaneously, they creatively adapt their approach based on any changes or setbacks they encounter (both environmental and customer-based). They are consistently prospecting, following up and closing deals.
- Time management: The best reps are exceptionally talented at managing their time. They are able to categorize prospects and capitalize on the opportunities that generate high-value for the business. When they aren’t selling, they’re upskilling and prospecting.
Highlighting superstar traits in a sales cover letter
Knowing what sales managers look for in an ideal sales candidate equips you to position your own strengths in a way that makes them stand out in your cover letter.
Therefore, highlight your achievements in a way that aligns with one of these ideal rep qualities.
For example, say that in a previous role you alone increased company-wide customer referrals by 30%. While very impressive, rather than simply listing this as a standalone statistic, tie it into the customer connection quality from the sales superstar list.
The end product may look like this:
- Through excellent listening and conversational skills, I built meaningful customer relationships that stimulated a 30% increase in customer referrals
Here’s a sales cover letter example from an account executive applicant:
- Awarded Top Sales Consultant in the territory for two straight quarters and numerous other recognition for helping drive the business, with over $70,000 worth of merchandise sold in the top-performing quarter at Best Buy.
- Exceptional academic qualifications, including a forthcoming Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from The George Washington University School of Business.
- Successfully automated and maintained an innovative metrics reporting process for the team's monthly capitalization rates, dramatically increasing capitalization opportunities on a per-project basis at Royal Bank of Canada.
- Effectively prepared a variety of business and personal tax returns for clients using Syntax, filing more than 84 tax returns a day resulting in an additional 34 new clients during the taxation season at MA Consulting.
- Provided expert assistance in auditing and organizing information regarding tax returns.
- Assisted specialists in verifying data and communicating with customers to maintain documentation, running and preparing support documents at Mariner Finance.
He seamlessly intertwines his own achievements with the attributes that make up a top sales performer.
If we take a closer look at the first bullet point, which contains his achievements:
“Awarded Top Sales Consultant in the territory for two straight quarters and numerous other recognition for helping drive the business.”
Sales superstar strengths:
- Driving business growth through high motivation, willpower and grit: To win Top Sales Consultant two quarters in a row takes serious determination and a will to succeed
- Goal-orientedness: In order to drive sales to such a high level, he must have set exceedingly high goals for himself and made a valiant effort to achieve them
Keeping what hiring managers are looking for front-of-mind can help you tailor your cover letter in a way that lands you an interview.
Pro-tip: Ensure that your cover letter is congruent with your profile on LinkedIn in case the hiring manager examines your credentials further. As LinkedIn’s platform is designed to blend the traditional resume and cover letter via bios and job experience, it should synchronize with your application.
Sales cover letter examples: How to stand out
A great sales cover letter is outstanding both in terms of quality and format.
There are three essential tactics to follow when creating a sales cover letter:
- Top: Explain why you’re the best candidate for the job (as discussed in the first section)
- Middle: Format your achievements with bullet points to make them pop
- Bottom: Finish strong with a CTA (your contact details with a few words encouraging them to get in touch)
Let’s run through each section in detail with some sales cover letter examples to boot.
Top of the cover letter
Start with a targeted message. Explain why you are the best candidate for this specific position. The more details the better. Avoid sounding overly broad.
If you can find the hiring manager’s name via research, include it. Addressing your cover letter to a specific person adds a personal touch that can pique interest.
The goal is to capture the hiring manager’s attention and convey that you are astutely familiar with the company and brand that you’re applying to work for.
Here’s a template for the start of your cover letter:
I’m so excited to apply for this job because I’ve followed your company for years. I am very familiar with the mindset required to excel as a sales representative for your brand. I respect your values, mission and goals when it comes to making a global social impact through a meaningful, value-driven platform. I’m incredibly excited about the work that your company does and I believe my previous experience gives me the competitive edge you’re looking for in a rep.
As a rep for [PREVIOUS COMPANY], I acquired a dynamic skill set that aligns with your company’s needs. I’m ready to pursue my ultimate dream career and blend my unique skills and accomplishments with something that aligns with my preeminent personal passions.
In this example, the applicant begins with a personalized opener and highlights a specific interest in the company they’re applying to work for.
By showing a specific interest in the company and role, you significantly boost your chances of landing an interview. That’s because personalization helps to bridge the gap between anonymous applicant and cultural fit.
Middle of the cover letter
Transition into your specific achievements and accomplishments in previous positions. As discussed above, align your skills with the strengths and qualities that hiring managers are looking for.
Quantify your achievements and detail specific examples of what you’ve done. Use bullet points to make them pop. Go beyond what’s listed in your resume and add value bombs where applicable.
Here’s a template for the middle of your cover letter:
Closed deals at a rate 2x higher than company set targets by asking pointed questions based on actively listening to prospects’ needs
- Grew customer base by 15% through driven and motivated networking, outreach and follow-ups
- Awarded Top Sales Representative for 5 out of the 8 quarters I was employed
- Designed a first-rate internal communications strategy that directly boosted pipeline growth by 10% in one year
- Consistently drove aggressive YOY sales by 20% over the last 2 years
Bolding your numeric achievements is an effective visual strategy. The hiring manager will most likely scan your cover letter and, if impressed by your achievements, will re-read in full.
Bottom of the sales cover letter
Finish with a short paragraph that indicates how you will offer an advantage if hired.
Now is the time to dictate specifically how you will use your aforementioned passion, excitement and achievements to better the company you’re applying to. Again, do your research before applying so that you can align this section with the company’s needs.
The best place to learn about what the company wants from you is the job description itself. The job description should set clear expectations of what the role entails, the daily activities and required experience. It will also tell you a bit about the company.
Allude to the themes in the job description in your final paragraph. This shows that you:
- Read the job description in full
- Conducted follow up research
- Are capable of selling yourself based on the criteria you’ve been given
Here’s a template for the end of your cover letter:
Through working on projects in local communities, I’ve developed a keen interest in connecting with the front-line workers who utilized my [PREVIOUS COMPANY’S] products and services. I’m eager to transfer the critical knowledge I’ve retained from these meaningful experiences to a more global level. Your company has grown at an impressive rate and your business strategy keeps community health and effective global leadership front of mind—two things I respect at the highest of levels.
As part of the Sales Team at [YOUR COMPANY], I look forward to learning more about your product, joining a highly motivated and talented team and contributing to your overall growth.
Here, the applicant uses personalization to highlight their company-knowledge, work experience and future goals. They clearly state how they’ll contribute to the company’s growth and help them scale meaningfully. It’s obvious that they’re passionate about what the company does and is ready to take the next step in their career.
Here’s a template for the CTA, which will make it easy for the hiring manager to reach out immediately without wasting valuable time:
Please feel free to contact me if you have any additional questions at 555-856-2875 or [email protected] Thank you for your time and consideration.
Make sure to end your cover letter with a professional signoff. Match your voice and tone with the company’s style, which you can find in the job description and throughout your research.
For example, if the tone is highly professional use any of the following signatures in your cover letter:
- Best regards
- Kind regards
- Yours sincerely (if you know the name of the recipient and you open with their name)
- Yours faithfully (if you don’t know their name and you open with “dear sir/madam”)
If the company’s tone is more laid back, you can use:
- Thank you
- Thank you for your consideration
Avoid using casual phrasing. As a cover letter is a formal correspondence and an opportunity to make a great first impression, casual phrasing can come across as overly friendly and unprofessional.
Do NOT use any of the following signatures in your cover letter:
- Warm regards
- Take it easy
- Have a great day
A sales cover letter offers an opportunity to connect with the hiring manager at the company you’re applying to. It’s a chance to stand out from the crowd, showcase your talents and your selling skills.
Use it as a sales platform to sell yourself. Format it in a way that helps the reader easily find your accomplishments and wow them by aligning past achievements with ideal candidate qualities.
Personalize it by researching the company and showcasing excitement for the specific role. Avoid generalizations and discuss details. Read the job description in full, reference its themes throughout and explain exactly why and how you are the right candidate for the job.
While not every hiring manager reads cover letters, you should always put your best effort into writing them. You never know when it will be the breakthrough you need to land an interview and eventually get the job.