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Job Requirements Of A Sales Director

Updated on February 23, 2009
How do I make them better?
How do I make them better?

What makes a good sales director

I would prefer to tweak this request a little and suggest a way in which all sales directors could become better at running a sales force, because that is your primary job. I have spent a lot of time in a sales or marketing role in my life and have seen what truly makes for a great sales director. I was lucky enough to have a few of those, and sadly, far too many that shouldn't have been in the postion in the first place.

  1. Find ways to reduce the sales force paperwork not increase it. A good salesman by nature is a free spirit and doesn't need to be hampered by paperwork. He or she chose sales and not accounting as a profession so don't make them write unnecessary reports. Let them concentrate on getting in front of the customer.
  2. You are a motivator. Keep their spirits high. A salesman gets enough negative reaction from the marketplace. You do not need to add to that list.
  3. Lead by example. If you would like a sales representative to try a certain technique, then go out on a call with that rep and show them how it works. Don't send them away to some school that hasn't seen a customer in 20 years. Show them what you expect them to do and they will do it.
  4. Set realistic targets for your representatives based on their specific territory. I recall a specific example of a requirement set by a sales director in head office—make 8 sales calls a day. It worked in a large city but my territory had sections that required a 2 hour drive between one customer and then another. So the request was unrealistic and could not be achieved unless you avoided that part of the territory.
  5. Arm your sales force with the best tools your budget will allow. Don't provide them with second rate cellphones and second rate support people. Make sure they have what they need to get the job done.
  6. Don't hold meetings after hours or late on a Friday. This is just considered punishment and no one will come willingly to try to improve things. Monday morning is a good time to deal with meetings. You start the week off in a positive direction. Chewing out the sales force is like chewing out a sports team. Eventually, the coach gets fired because the team doesn't respond to this on a regular basis. Discipline is necessary but it must be handed out properly.
  7. Don't cast the whole team with the same brush. If one rep is not performing or is doing something wrong, don't make it sound like everyone is doing this. You only demoralize the performers and that is good for absolutely nothing.
  8. Make games out of the sales-force targets and promotions. Reward good performance accordingly and don't let the bean counters get involved in people that they think make too much money. Pay for performance. If someone sells enough to make a million dollars in sales, then the company is better off if that person continues to sell at that rate.
  9. Stand up for you team. They will perform for you if you show that you truly care for each member.
  10. Ask the team for ideas. Get them together with this kind of approach in sales conferences and seminars for at least part of the session. Brainstorming works. I recall a specific meeting where we set goals and targets as a team. We had something like a 95% success rate on those targets. Why? Because we had a major hand in developing the targets and they were achievable. Everyone left that meeting charged and it showed in the results. We played hard and we worked hard.

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