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Life as a sales director

A sales director is crucial in improving an organisation’s revenue and sales. A good sales director can affect the overall performance of a business as it is they who hire, manage and support the sales staff of an organisation. According to country manager John Winter, “to reach the level of sales director, you need to be results-orientated, intelligent, energetic, and have a positive attitude and commercial awareness”. We spoke to John in further detail to get the insights of being a sales director of a global professional services firm.

What does a sales director do?

Everyday is different as this role is usually fast-paced and quite exciting, along with meeting our targets and keeping my sales team motivated, I am responsible for managing all sales efforts and strategically launching our new services into the market. My role also means ensuring our customer service standards are high and continually improving.

I meet with the board on a regular basis to discuss long-term strategic planning for the company. It is an important part of my job to work very closely with middle management who supervises the larger sales teams. In addition to this, I supervise the junior level sales managers who directly deal with sales representatives.

Meetings with the heads of various departments especially marketing are quite frequent as we need to brainstorm a lot of our product launches or proposals. These meetings are essentially about feedback and it’s the best way to increase our sales numbers. It is common for me to take home reviews and agendas for upcoming sales training as well.

My work hours depend on my schedule and travel; it is very flexible as there are a lot of meetings and lunches with clients, interstate and overseas. On a typical day at the office, I work between the hours of 8.30am to 5.30 pm.

What skills do you see as important in your existing role?

Some of the key skills professionals need in order to be successful in my role include:

  • Exceptional communication and negotiating skills
  • Strong organisational skills and ability to multitask
  • Good management and delegation
  • Strong leadership skills
  • Personable nature
  • Positive attitude
     

What made you get into the sales industry?

I first joined sales because I love dealing with people. It is an extremely exciting industry and it allows you to meet new people in different places and in different levels of society. I am a results orientated person and the sense of accomplishment when closing a sale is very satisfying. It is also the fulfilment of contributing to others by solving the problems they are facing or meeting their needs with the product or service you sell them.

Sales is an industry which is always growing and developing with many great opportunities, I really enjoy this aspect of it and the flexibility it comes with as you become more experienced.

What advice would you give to someone looking to get into the sales industry?

For a student thinking about a career in sales, I would advise considering a business course or a bachelor’s degree in business. If you are aiming for higher roles such as a management or directors position, then a university degree is a prerequisite.

If you have plans to work your way up the corporate ladder, the path often begins with experience as a sales representative. Internal salespeople are often given the preference of a promotion when it comes to sales management. Most experience and learning comes with time, plenty of persistence and hard work which definitely pays off.

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