Creating a Sales Portfolio: 5 Tips

A good sales portfolio can be a good tool to help you land the sales job or internship you are looking for. You will be able to use it to brag about your achievements and successful projects. It can help you get a new job, justify a raise or boost your chances for a promotion. If you are currently employed, it can help you sell new clients on choosing your company. Use the 5 tips below to help you maximize the potential of your sales career portfolio.

Tip #1: Pack your Portfolio with the Essentials

All portfolios should contain a few key elements that include:

  • a resume,
  • letters of recommendation,
  • a list of professional references,
  • a copy of any professional certifications,
  • a list of professional organization memberships,
  • A few key samples of your best nonproprietary work.

In addition, perspective clients, employers or current managers want to see documentation of your actual sales performance. Items you can include that visually demonstrate sales performance include:

  • rankings of your performance within your peer group,
  • awards or special recognition,
  • special industry-related skills,
  • performance reviews and evaluations,
  • sales training courses, classes or workshops you've attended and 
  • Incidents of performance above quota.

Tip #2: Arranging your Portfolio

Your portfolio is a unique sales tool that markets and sells your special set of talents and skills. Arranging your portfolio in a presentation form will give you a tool to show visual evidence of your qualifications. In addition, leaving your portfolio behind for review or sending a digital version of your portfolio is a great way to sell yourself even when you're not present. A presentation format should make it easy for the reviewer to flip through your credentials and see how great you are at selling.

Tip #3: Keep your Portfolio Updated

Potential employers, clients and supervisors are not as impressed with awards, performance evaluations and high quota achievements that are many years old. So review your portfolio routinely and remove the oldest samples and replace them with the newest ones. Keep your professional memberships and contacts current and don't always stay up to date by attending periodic workshops or classes.

Tip #4: Prepare Different Formats

Portfolios can be:

  • hard copy
  • online
  • digital

Ultimately, it's great to have your career portfolio in all three forms. The hard copies can be reviewed easily in interviews and left behind. Digital copies can be emailed to potential employers and left behind on a disc. Online portfolios can be quickly accessed by any person you give access, from any internet connected computer.

Tip #5: "Leave Behind" Copies

Whenever you are meeting with a client, perspective employer or reviewing with your boss, you should have a few extra copies to leave behind. You may have limited interview time or spend more of the session answering questions and not have an opportunity to utilize your portfolio. 

Also, leaving a copy behind reminds them of your candidacy and your qualifications, long after you've left the interview. Having extra copies means your portfolio can sell your skills in as many places as you can distribute them.