How To Become a Sales Director

If you are a natural salesperson and you imagine yourself in a managerial role, you may wonder how to become a sales director. Sales directors, sometimes called sales managers, devise and implement strategies and promotions to boost a company’s sales. Sales directors work in retail companies, wholesale companies and marketing agencies. The goal of a sales director is to help the company grow.

A sales director leads both sales initiatives and sales personnel. As a manager, the sales director trains sales representatives to persuasively present the product or service to customers and make sales. Ensuring that sales representatives meet their goals may also fall to the sales director.

As a strategist, the sales director evaluates sales reports to determine trends. These assessments may indicate a new market that the company could branch out into, a new type of sales pitch or a new geographic territory where sales could be increased. It is not enough for a sales director to simply identify a new market or location that has the potential to increase sales. The sales director must investigate the new idea thoroughly, either by personally doing the research or by delegating the task to another qualified individual. Sales directors may also survey consumers to get a feel for what customers and potential customers are looking for in a product or service.

Aspiring sales directors should pursue at least a bachelor’s degree, if not a master’s degree, in marketing, business administration, or a related field. During their education, students will probably study economics, management, accounting, business law, marketing, statistics, finance and mathematics. They may also gain real-world experience during an internship. Professional experience in a sales or retail setting can greatly improve a candidate’s chances of obtaining a sales director position. Serving for one to five years as a sales representative, purchasing agent or management trainee will often allow aspiring sales directors to cultivate the skills they need to succeed in a management position.

An ideal candidate for a sales director position will also have a number of natural skills and aptitudes. Sales directors should be excellent communicators and be comfortable speaking with the employees they manage, personnel in other departments, outside venders and customers. They should have the leadership skills to effectively manage their team, including assessing employees’ work and addressing any problems that arise. Sales managers need the analytical skills to evaluate information from sales reports, consumer studies and market research. They must also possess the customer-service skills necessary to successfully make a sale.

Careers as sales directors have many benefits. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual salary for sales managers is $98,530, while suggests that for those with the sales director job title, the median annual salary is $147,345. In 2010, CNN named sales director as one of the best jobs in America.

If you enjoy strategy, sales and leadership opportunities, knowing how to become a sales director may be the beginning of a rewarding new career.

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