One of the ways a business can improve its financial performance is to sell as many products and services as possible. Sales directors work to ensure businesses meet their sales goals. If you are a competent strategist with the drive to achieve, this could be the job for you.
1. What Do Sales Directors Do?
Their duties include:
- Designing and implementing sales strategies
- Hiring, training, and supervising the sales staff
- Working with general managers or business owners to set achievable sales targets
- Working with marketing specialists to develop effective promotional strategies
- Attending sales events and industry conferences
- Identifying sales opportunities
- Maintaining positive business relationships with clients
- Forecasting the demand for products and services
- Compiling and presenting sales reports to senior executives.
2. Work Environment
Sales directors work fulltime, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Although they are mainly office-based, they often hit the road to visit clients or attend industry events.
According to PayScale, sales directors earn an average annual salary of $92,709.
4. Education and Training
Sales director is an executive-level position, so you need the right education and vast sales experience to reach it.
Begin by earning a bachelor’s degree in sales and marketing. You will learn about consumer behavior, professional selling strategies, business sales, sales management, and marketing.
Some of the colleges offering the program include:
A degree in sales and marketing may, however, not be suitable in some cases. If you want to work in an engineering field, for instance, then a degree with coursework in engineering sales will give you the best preparation.
Upon graduation, you will certainly start out as a sales coordinator or specialist. As you gain more experience, you can be promoted to a middle-level position such as sales supervisor and later on, sales manager.
5. Career Development
Once you are in a sales management position, engage in the following professional development activities to enhance your chances of getting hired as the director of sales:
- Pursue a master’s degree in sales management, like the one offered at Chancellor University in Ohio.
- Get certified as a Sales Executive by Sales and Marketing Executives International (SMEI).
- Secure professional membership in SMEI or any other professional sales organization.
At this point, you have the expertise to be a sales director.
6. Important Qualities
To be a competent sales director, you need:
- Excellent planning skills
- Strong analytical skills
- Strong sales skills
- A knowledge of how buyer-seller relationships are maintained
- Leadership skills
- Skills in personnel management
- Teamwork skills
- An understanding of how cultural forces affect sales
- Skills in product or service management
- Superior communication skills
- Presentation skills
- An awareness of the issues faced by today’s sale leaders.
7. Job Opportunities
The top employers of sales directors include:
- National retail chains
- Telecommunication companies
- Manufacturing companies
- Insurance companies
- Automobile dealers
As an experienced sales director with a reputation for driving sales, you can be hired for the same position in large multinational firms. You could also move into self-employment and become a sales consultant.
Finally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an 11 percent job growth rate (just as fast as the national average) for all top company executives, including sales directors.
So, if you are the selling type personality with the ability to lead, then you could become a sales director.