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What does a Sales Director do?

By Kerrie Main
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Most companies rely on sales personnel to help them grow. Sales departments are typically led by sales directors who are usually responsible for managing and leading entire sales teams. This job is comprised of a wide variety of duties. Specific job requirements may vary from industry to industry, but most sales directors are in charge of strategic planning, personnel management and account management.

Strategic planning encompasses a broad spectrum of activities and skill sets. No matter the industry, a successful sales director is usually responsible for analyzing market trends and identifying new opportunities. Someone in this position must work closely with other departments, such as operations and product development as well. Many people in this position must understand or grasp the concept of how technology affects new business and sales.

Sales directors typically determine market segments and business growth potential. Using this information, they create both short and long-term sales plans with set activities and goal benchmarks. They also identify the most effective methods to reach these goals. This usually includes creating both online and offline sales strategies. For example, the director might decide to overhaul the company website so that customers can place orders online.

The integral sales director role typically identifies, hires and manages the sales department staff. This responsibility includes building relationships with universities and associations in order to attract the best caliber of sales candidates. It might also involve creating hiring processes, such as implementing personality or behavioral assessments, as well as setting up job shadow interviews. After the candidates are chosen, the director must set up effective training modules to ensure that they are prepared and educated on the company’s products or services.

After the new sales personnel are acclimated to the company culture, it is the sales director’s responsibility to motivate them and retain top talent. This might include creating sales contests or bonus incentive programs. People in this position typically assign sales territories and monitor the salespersons' activities and results. The sales director also might coach salespersons when needed. Many directors set up standard sales processes and measurement systems to better manage sales personnel.

The sales director typically is responsible for his or her own pipeline of new sales and accounts as well. This means that he or she must bring in clients and meet sales goals. Most target large companies and high-level contacts, such as vice presidents or chairpersons. They seek to close deals and create new prospect lead lists for both themselves and their sales teams.

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Discussion Comments
By JaneAir — On Jul 11, 2012

I've never actually been a sales director, but I would imagine that creating hiring processes is probably one of the most important parts of a director of sales job description. As someone else pointed out, not everyone is cut out for sales.

So I think a good sales director would be able to create hiring processes that would weed out people who just aren't going to be good in a sales position, and maybe place those people elsewhere at the company. After all, you can't make many sales if you don't have a good sales team.

By betterment — On Jul 10, 2012

@indemnifyme - Yeah, I think it usually helps if you're working for someone who had some experience doing what you're doing! I'm surprised that someone who didn't have any prior sales experience was even able to open up an insurance agency, actually.

That being said, I imagine you have to have a lot of experience in sales to qualify for sales manager jobs. And not even just have experience, but be successful. After all, how are you supposed to lead and coach a team of sales people if you don't know how to do the job yourself?

By indemnifyme — On Jul 09, 2012

I used to do sales for a small insurance agency, and I think I could have really benefited from the guidance of a sales manager. I'm just not a natural salesperson! Unfortunately, the office consisted of me, a few other sales people, and the agent who owned the agency.

The agent didn't actually have any prior sales experience, so he wasn't really able to offer any guidance on sales. I think I probably would have done a lot better at that job and maybe kept it for awhile longer if I'd had someone around to coach me when I needed help.

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