The world of sales can be a tricky place behind closed doors. Rather than blagging it on the day or relying on luck, the best salespeople know to successfully clinch a sale, strategy and planning is key.

Sales directors - a step up from our sales manager interviewee above - are responsible for creating and delivering these vital sales strategies and play a crucial role in the success of an organisation.

So, what will I actually be doing?

A sales director’s daily list of tasks is long and varied. It's likely to include:

  • Developing strategy, tactics, sales plans and profit targets
  • Developing relationships with clients
  • Identifying and reporting on business opportunities in target markets
  • Representing the business at conferences, trade fairs and networking events
  • Maximising new business development opportunities
  • Overseeing a sales team

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The finer details...

You’ll be required to regular work regular office hours (9 – 5.30, Monday to Friday) but be prepared to put in extra hours when necessary. While you'll have an office as a base, you’ll need to take part in lots of out-of-office activities such as visiting clients and attending conferences, trade fairs and exhibitions. Your job may also involve travel in both the UK and abroad.

A talented sales director will be highly valued in the market and with enough experience you could be looking at moving up to managing director or chief executive.

Money, money, money

The financial rewards will be a major draw for anyone considering a career as a sales director. Annual salaries can start at £30k but they often reach £100k plus per annum, plus benefits such as a company car.

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The good points...

According to the ISMM, the future is bright for talented sales directors: "There is a modern trend for sales directors to go on and become managing directors and CEOs due to the importance of this job. On top of this, the sales director will often have a fantastically driven team, will be able to take a hands-on role within the business and be well-rewarded financially."

...and the bad

"With such responsibility comes inevitable pressure, long hours and even more travelling. Sales directors live by results and in such a critical role there is huge pressure to deliver."

Is there study involved?

Some companies prefer applicants to have a business-related HND or degree; however, ISMM suggest that "experience is key as well as industry expertise". You'll need to add to that proven sales management experience and a good record of achieving targets.

There are plenty of relevant qualifications that will keep you ahead of the competition, including:

  • NVQ Level 4 in Sales Management
  • Level 5 Diploma in Sales & Account Management (ISMM)
  • Level 6 Executive Diploma in Strategic Sales and Account Management (ISMM)
  • Advanced Certificate in Sales Management (CIM)
  • Intensive Diploma in Strategic Sales Practice (CIM)

Need additional qualifications? Find a course at our Learning Zone

OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?

To be a sales director you'll need to have:

  • Excellent sales and negotiation skills
  • Good business sense
  • The ability to motivate and lead a team
  • Initiative, drive and enthusiasm
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Good planning and organisational skills
  • The ability to work calmly under pressure
  • Good IT, budget and report writing skills
  • A full driving licence

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