What is a Director of Sales?
The Director of Sales plays a crucial role in shaping the sales team as well as the company’s revenue.
As a senior-level sales executive, they are responsible for leading all sales managers and their direct reports such as Sales Development Representatives (SDRs), Account Executives, and Account Managers.
While they typically have extensive sales chops negotiating and closing big deals, it’s often their energy, charisma, and people management skills that helped them land this director-level position. This comes in handy when it comes to rallying the troops, setting sales goals, and motivating the team (especially during change). The result is that the impact of a great Sales Director can not only help shape the culture of the entire sales team, but of the entire company.
As you can see from this Google Trends graph, this is an established role. Companies of all sizes and across hundreds of industries have been hiring sales directors for decades.
The Sales Director will either report to a VP of Sales, a Chief Revenue Officer, or directly to a founder or CEO.
When should you hire a Director of Sales?
Sales Directors don’t exactly come cheap. As a senior-level director position, they often expect a low six-figure salary with some equity or profit-sharing. As such, it doesn’t make sense to hire a director until you have started to scale your sales team.
Here are some signs that you’re ready to hire a Sales Director:
- You have more than 15 salespeople (SDRs, Account Executives, Account Managers, etc.)
- You have more than two Sales Managers
- You’re looking to build out more established training, development, and commission programs for salespeople
- You plan on opening additional offices
- Your team is routinely closing larger, enterprise deals
Director of Sales Compensation
According to our report, the Director of Sales in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York City earn the most. They net an average of $130,000 - $180,000 in base salary and $200,000 - $360,000 OTE.
|San Francisco, CA||New York, NY||Austin, TX||Chicago, IL||Los Angeles, CA|
|Base | OTE||Base | OTE||Base | OTE||Base | OTE||Base | OTE|
|$150-180K | $300-360K||$130-180K | $260-360K||$100-135K | $200-270K||$130-180K | $260-360K||$130-180K | $260-360K|
What are a Director of Sales responsibilities?
Their day-to-day responsibilities may include:
- Oversee sales management and ensure the team is on track to hit their goals and quotas
- Lead all Sales Managers, Account Executives, and Sales Development Representatives
- Strategically launch new products and go-to marketing strategies
- Oversee the Sales Department budget and ensure they meet specific profitability targets
- Engage in strategic planning with the VP of Sales (if there is one) and founder(s)
- Work closely with other departments including Customer Support, Marketing, and Business Development
- Hire and recruit Sales Managers
- Create and update the training, career development, and commission programs for Sales team members
- Travel to sales meetings and help close big deals
What does success look like for a Director of Sales?
As a sales leader, the majority of the KPIs for a Sales Director should be around how effectively he or she is leading the team.
These metrics can include:
- Overall sales growth
- Number of opportunities in the pipeline
- Sales/deals to date
- Lead conversion rate
- Sales by region
- Sales by team member
- Average deal size
- Average deal size by team member
What skills does a Director of Sales need to possess?
One of the biggest mistakes that companies make when hiring a Director of Sales is overvaluing sales experience. Yes, this person should have proven sales chops. However, what separates a mediocre director from an exceptional one is people management and leadership skills.
Here are some skills to look for:
- Natural leader – A great Sales Director leads by example. They need to be just as comfortable managing and empowering a handful of Sales Managers as talking to the entire Sales team (i.e., more than ten people).
- Exceptional people management skills – They know how to coach their direct reports to help them reach their full potential, provide feedback, and are well-versed at delegating.
- Proven sales chops – they should be able to jump on a big sales meeting or presentation to close a deal.
- Charismatic – As a sales leader, being likable, full of energy, and able to put anyone at ease can go a long way in earning their team’s trust as well as building great customer relationships.
- Excellent communication skills – It may sound obvious, but this hire should be a great verbal and written communicator.
- Ability to multitask – One minute they could be creating career development plans, the next jumping on a big sales presentation. They need to be able to prioritize what and when they work on things.