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Sales Director: Job Description & Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a sales director. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties, and necessary skills to find out if this is the career for you.

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Sales directors lead and direct sales teams to improve performance and achieve sales goals. They develop strategic plans, prepare budgets, and coordinate sales training programs. A bachelor's degree in business or a related field is typically required.

Essential Information

Sales directors look for ways to increase an organization's revenue and sales. They can work for a wide range of organizations, from marketing firms to wholesale dealers. Although some sales directors may have worked their way up to the position without completing any postsecondary education programs, most have earned at least a bachelor's degree.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in business, marketing, or a related field is a typical requirement, though significant work experience may be substituted for postsecondary education
Other Requirements Candidates must be trained to become familiarized with products
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 5% for all sales managers
Median Salary (2015)* $113,860 for all sales managers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description of a Sales Director

Sales directors review strategies to increase revenue, often beginning by researching new markets or assigning other professionals to conduct studies of products and consumers. They can then use this information to create sales territories and train associates to sell products and services. Once sales representatives have been properly trained, sales directors may assign them to territories and set sales goals.

Sales directors are also responsible for overseeing sales growth; they frequently evaluate sales reports, often looking to capitalize on a particular product or service in the marketplace. Other director duties include meeting with operational and sourcing departments to streamline business procedures and increase efficiency.

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Employment Requirements

A bachelor's degree in a field like business administration or marketing is a typical requirement for a career in sales management. Courses that are helpful for would-be sales directors include economics, marketing, and statistics. Some degree programs also require students to complete a professional internship.

Enter the Workforce

Most college graduates enter the workplace as sales representatives or management trainees. During their first several years, new hires become familiarized with products and operational systems. For example, recruits may be required to participate in product training meetings or sales skills seminars. Firms may also assign prospective candidates to a rotation in which they can gain insight in several departments of the firm, such as credit or operations.

Advanced Degree Programs

An advanced degree like a Master of Business Administration (MBA) may enhance employment opportunities. These one- to two-year programs explore concepts in strategic operations and sales management. Students may also work one-on-one with outside companies, gaining experience working with upper management and setting sales goals. MBA graduates may still need some on-the-job training in order to become sales directors.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) projected that employment of sales managers, including sales directors, would grow by approximately 5% between 2014 and 2024. Additionally, the BLS reported in May 2015 that the median annual salary earned by sales managers was $113,860, with the highest average salaries found in New York, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Virginia.

Sales directors increase sales revenue in a company by providing team leadership and guidance. They research new markets, streamline processes, and manage team performance to achieve goals. A bachelor's degree is usually required, but some companies will substitute work experience for postsecondary education.

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