Senior sales professionals often assume director-level positions that focus on planning and directing the sales activities in their organization. In addition to overseeing junior-level sales team members, sales directors are responsible for maximizing potential revenue in their assigned product segment, territory or target market. Due to the demanding nature of their jobs, sales directors must travel frequently to meet with potential clients, customers, partners, dealers and distributors.
One of the primary responsibilities of a sales director is to meet her quarterly and annual sales target. As a leader of the sales team, the sales director must establish sales goals and create incentive programs for her region and personnel. She may be asked by the vice president of sales or company management to perform revenue forecasts and win/loss reports that illustrate her team’s overall performance against quota. The sales director also creates sales campaigns focused on communicating and nurturing relationships with customers, and driving repeat sales. Other duties include developing presentations for clients and partners, conducting market analysis and devising strategies for generating new business.
Employers prefer sales professionals with a bachelor’s degree, either in business administration, marketing or a related discipline. Some positions that specialize in software or electronics manufacturing prefer an MBA or master’s degree. College coursework that prepares students for a sales career include math, business law, management accounting, statistics and finance.
Sales director positions usually require at least seven years of sales experience in a specific industry or field. For example, a director of sales position posted on Monster.com for an electronics company states that applicants must have at least 10 years of experience in electronics sales. Sales directors must also have excellent negotiation, presentation, organizational and multi-tasking skills. Strong computer skills and experience working with applications such as Microsoft Excel are usually required.
Sales directors earned a median salary of $150,042 according to a November 2009 Salary.com report. The salary report also states that the median salary range for a sales director fell between $125,722 and $177,676.
The job outlook for sales management professionals is favorable according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For example, the BLS expects the number of sales manager jobs to grow 15 percent during the 2008 to 2018 decade. BLS attributes this growth to companies’ need for professionals who will drive business and enable them to compete effectively in an increasingly competitive marketplace.