If you are like most sales directors, you probably entered the role after establishing yourself as a highly successful sales representative. However, it can be challenging to move from a purely sales-orientated role into a managerial one. To make this transition easier, this guide will share some essential tips for being a good sales director.
What Are The Core Responsibilities Of A Sales Director?
A sales director is a demanding position that requires a combination of sales, communication, negotiating, and management skills. The main responsibilities of the sales director are far-reaching and include:
- Developing and executing strategic sales plans which achieve sales targets and expand the customer base
- Meeting or exceeding annual sales targets within assigned territory and customer accounts
- Motivating sales reps to hit sales targets
- Developing strong long-lasting relationships with customers
- Working with customers to understand their needs and objectives
- Strategically launch new products or services into the market
- Ensuring that customer service standards are high and continually improving
Tips For Being A Good Sales Director
1. Work Closely With Your Sales Reps
The best sales directors have a very collaborative and hands-on approach. They spend a lot of time around the sales reps in their team with the following objectives:
- Observing and passing on best practices
Observing sales reps in action will help you understand how well the team is doing. It also allows you to share sales best practices that you know are effective and will achieve the desired results.
- Sales pipeline review is easier
Spending time with your team helps you monitor customer relationships and how far along the sales pipeline each customer is. This makes sales pipeline review easier as you will be well aware of the status of each sales prospect.
- Catch problems immediately
Spending time around your sales reps helps you identify problems early on and address them before they significantly impact sales.
- Sales reps know you are there for them
Your presence tells your team that you are engaged in day-to-day sales processes and interested in their work. They will know that you are working as hard as they are and available to provide them with assistance as needed.
2. Learn what motivates your sales reps
Sales directors who are new to the job often assume that money is the primary motivator for their sales reps. While financial rewards certainly play a role, most sales reps have more complex motivators.
As you spend more time with your sales reps, ask them questions to learn more about their personal motivators. You may discover that many sales reps crave recognition, excitement, or fun as much as they enjoy making money. Once you understand your team’s motivators and implement them in the workplace, you can enjoy a massive boost in worker productivity.
3. Manage your time very carefully
Good time management is one of the toughest challenges faced by new sales directors. To be effective in the role, you will need to use strict time management procedures and reserve blocks of time for important tasks. You will quickly learn that having an open door policy is impossible, so reserve blocks of time for tasks like meeting with sales reps, customers, and the rest of the management team.
4. Give plenty of feedback to your team
Make giving feedback a normal part of your daily operations. Regular feedback will help your sales reps understand where they are succeeding and where they are failing. It can also make them aware of how well the team has progressed towards sales goals and acts as a source of motivation.
5. Always look for new sales reps
One common mistake made by inexperienced sales directors is becoming complacent about staffing. Then, when an employee leaves, the team immediately falls behind on their collective sales targets.
Avoid this issue by regularly spending time looking for new employees. Go to networking events to meet sales reps, ask your contacts if they have talked with any talented sales reps recently, and add connections on LinkedIn. Having a short-list of high-quality sales reps will prove extremely useful when you need a replacement team member.
Your ability to quickly insert a new team member will also be noticed by the other sales reps. It will become a negative motivator for your current team as they know they are easily replaced.
6. Always be building stronger relationships
Effective sales reps have a talent for communicating with others and developing relationships. You will need to take this skill to the next level when working as a sales director. Always look for new opportunities to establish and build stronger relationships with customers, sales reps, managers, and other businesses. These relationships will become useful as you grow the business and push into new markets.
7. Lead by example
If you want your sales reps to be diligent, focused and productive, exhibit these qualities yourself. Be at work on time, do your research, be prepared for every meeting, and act professionally in every interaction. If you exhibit these qualities, your team will emulate them and come to respect your work ethic.
8. Share well-defined goals with your team
Whenever you have set a goal, be it for sales, training, or customer retention, share it with your team. Let’s say you are going to have the team participate in lunch-and-learn sessions where they will focus on the technical details of a specific product. Tell the team how many sessions there are and what they are expected to learn during this time. Explain ‘why’ these training sessions are essential and what they will achieve. Being transparent about the team’s goals will help them work effectively towards reaching that goal.