Director of Sales

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What Is a Director of Sales?

A Director of Sales is a senior sales management position within a company. They are responsible for developing and executing sales strategies to drive business growth. The person in this role oversees the sales department, managing a team of sales professionals and often setting revenue targets.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Driving sales initiatives that align with the company’s goals
  • Setting and achieving sales targets to increase company revenue
  • Establishing company culture in the sales team, promoting values and practices that align with corporate objectives
  • Analyzing market trends and sales data to inform strategy
  • Fostering relationships with industry leaders and clients to secure business opportunities


  • Proven experience in sales and management
  • Strong leadership capabilities
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Strategic thinker with a performance-driven mindset

In a business environment, the Director of Sales is crucial for facilitating collaboration across departments, ensuring that the sales strategies are coherent with the company’s overall mission. They not only respond to market changes but also anticipate shifts, positioning the company as an industry leader.

The success of a business, particularly in generating and increasing revenue, often relies on the effectiveness of its Director of Sales. Their influence extends to shaping a dynamic and ambitious company culture through exemplary leadership and strategic direction.

What Does a Director of Sales Do?

A Director of Sales is typically a leadership sales role, focused on setting sales goals and leading the sales department to achieve business objectives. This role requires a blend of strategic planning, leadership, and hands-on management to drive sales and revenue growth.

Director of Sales Duties and Responsibilities

  • Strategic Planning: Develop and implement a comprehensive sales strategy that aligns with the company’s objectives.
  • Leadership: Lead and motivate the sales team to achieve sales targets; this includes hiring, training, and performance evaluations.
  • Sales Management: Supervise sales operations to ensure efficiency and effectiveness within the sales department.
  • Sales Goals: Set ambitious yet attainable sales targets, and ensure these are met or exceeded.
  • Negotiation: Engage in high-level negotiations with key clients to close deals and build long-term relationships.
  • Sales Reports: Monitor sales performance through regular sales reports, analyzing trends, and making data-driven adjustments to strategies.
  • Customer Service: Oversee the management of customer service excellence, ensuring clients’ needs and business objectives are met.
  • Finance and Administration: Collaborate with finance to budget and forecast sales revenue; oversee administrative tasks related to the sales processes.
  • Revenue Growth: Identify opportunities for revenue growth and implement actions to tap these potentials.
  • Sales Objectives: Translate business needs into clear sales objectives and communicate these effectively to the sales team.
  • Reporting: Keep senior management informed with detailed and accurate sales reporting.

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  • Sales and Marketing Director: This title may be used when the role encompasses leadership over marketing efforts in addition to sales.
  • Head of Sales: Often interchangeable with Director of Sales, focusing on the overall leadership and strategic direction of the sales department.
  • Sales Manager: While this can refer to a role with similar responsibilities, it often denotes a position with a more narrow focus within the sales hierarchy.
  • Vice President of Sales: In some organizations, the Director of Sales role is going to also be considered in the same capacity as a VP of sales.
  • Sales Director: It’s the same thing.

A Director of Sales must possess a deep set of skills that cater to leadership, communication, negotiation, and the ability to devise strategic plans with analytical precision. These competencies are critical in understanding customer needs, solving complex problems, and driving sales growth through effective team management and strategy development.

Leadership Skills

A Director of Sales should demonstrate exemplary leadership skills, steering their sales team towards achieving set targets and fostering a cohesive environment. Mentorship is a vital aspect of this role, as it involves guiding sales personnel in enhancing their abilities and supporting their professional growth. Team building and problem solving are integral in this regard, often requiring a mix of formal education and hands-on experience.

  • Team Building: Establishing trust and cooperation among team members.
  • Problem Solving: Addressing and resolving sales-related issues effectively.
Communication Skills

Effective communication is crucial for a Director of Sales, encompassing both listening and presentation skills. They need to articulate sales strategies clearly to their team and ensure an accurate understanding of customer needs. 

  • Listening: Absorbing information to understand issues thoroughly.
  • Presentation Skills: Conveying ideas and strategies effectively both internally and to clients.
Negotiation Skills

Negotiation is at the heart of sales. A Director of Sales should possess advanced negotiation skills to secure deals that align with the company’s interests while also satisfying customer needs. This involves developing solutions that create a win-win situation for both parties.

  • Solutions: Crafting agreements that address the needs of all stakeholders.
  • Negotiation: Working towards optimal outcomes in sales deals.
Strategic and Analytical Skills

The director must be adept at creating a strategic plan supported by analytical skills to assess the market, competitors, and sales performance. Research is a critical component, as it feeds into the development of informed, fact-based sales strategies. Accuracy in data analysis ensures that the strategic plan is viable and poised for success.

  • Strategic Plan: Designing a roadmap for sales objectives and goals.
  • Analytical Skills: Evaluating data to inform decision-making processes.

Account Executives and Directors of Sales are integral roles within a sales organization, each with distinct responsibilities and targets.

An Account Executive typically focuses on individual customer acquisition and management. They work directly with clients to identify their needs, pitch products or services, and close deals. Their primary goal is often tied to meeting personal sales quotas and contributing to the overall sales goals of the company. Account Executives are typically responsible for:

  • Building and managing customer relationships
  • Customizing sales pitches to client needs
  • Hitting individual sales targets

Directors of Sales, on the other hand, oversee the sales department, strategizing on larger company sales goals. Their role is managerial and involves leading a team of sales professionals, which includes Account Executives, to achieve company-wide objectives. They are tasked with:

  • Setting overall sales targets
  • Developing strategic sales plans
  • Driving customer acquisition efforts on a larger scale
  • Managing and training sales personnel

In terms of hierarchy, the Director of Sales is above the Account Executive, and while the latter may work with individual clients, the former is responsible for leading the team towards broader sales targets. The Director of Sales ensures that the sales department aligns with the company’s overall strategy and growth plan, whereas Account Executives are more focused on executing these plans at the customer level.

The Director of Sales and VP of Sales hold pivotal roles within an organization’s sales hierarchy, each with distinct responsibilities and areas of expertise.

Director of Sales:

  • Primary Role: Focuses on the day-to-day management of the sales department.
  • Experience: Usually possesses significant sales executive experience.
  • Responsibilities:
    • Implementing sales strategies
    • Working closely with the sales team to cultivate skills and achieve targets
    • Reporting on sales goals and progress to higher management
SkillsetDirector of SalesVP of Sales
Strategic PlanningEngages in tactical level planningSpearheads overall sales strategies
Cross-functionalCollaborates within sales divisionCoordinates across multiple departments
Team DevelopmentDirectly oversees trainingFocuses on organizational development

VP of Sales (Vice President of Sales):

  • Primary Role: Strategically guides the sales organization at a macro level.
  • Experience: Typically requires extensive managerial experience and a demonstrated track record in high-level strategic decision making.
  • Responsibilities:
    • Designing and adjusting the overarching sales strategy
    • Aligning the sales department’s objectives with company goals
    • Establishing key performance metrics and accountability measures

The VP of Sales often has a broader scope, influencing company-wide policies and strategies, whereas the Director of Sales translates these strategies into actionable plans.

Additionally, the VP of Sales frequently interacts with other senior executives and stakeholders to ensure the sales strategy aligns with broader business objectives. The Director of Sales, however, is more intimately involved with the direct management of sales teams and executing the laid out sales plans.

A Director of Sales is a pivotal role within a company’s sales department, tasked with the responsibility of leading and expanding the sales team, driving business growth, and ensuring the achievement of sales targets. She must exhibit superior sales experience, with a track record of success in similar positions.

Essential Responsibilities:

  • Team Leadership: Supervise the sales team, providing guidance, training, and motivation to drive performance.
  • Strategic Planning: Develop and implement robust sales strategies aimed at market expansion and revenue growth.
  • Sales Reports: Analyze sales data and reports to identify trends, forecast sales, and set performance goals.
  • Collaboration: Work closely with human resources to recruit top-tier talent, ensuring a dynamic team that can meet the company’s sales objectives.
  • Client Relationships: Foster lasting relationships with key clients and stakeholders, enhancing the company’s market presence and reputation.

Required Experience/Skills:

  • Proven sales management experience.
  • Strong analytical skills for effective decision-making.
  • Stellar communication and interpersonal abilities.
  • Proficient in creating detailed sales reports.

The role demands a professional who can function effectively in a dynamic environment, seamlessly integrating with the company’s broader human resources and marketing strategies. The Director of Sales must continuously align the sales team’s efforts with the company’s goals, translating into a cohesive unit poised for success.

Becoming a Director of Sales requires a strategic approach to education and building experience, as well as keeping abreast of market trends to effectively lead sales efforts within an organization.

Education and Training Requirements

To pursue a role as a Director of Sales, a Bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, or a related field is typically essential. Advanced education, such as an MBA, can further increase job prospects and proficiency in strategic planning. Prospective directors often benefit from sales training programs that develop core skills, such as making effective presentations and understanding supply and demand. For instance, courses that focus on Salesforce, HubSpot, or Clari can provide valuable insights into customer relationship management and sales analytics.

Gaining Relevant Experience

Directors of Sales typically ascend through the ranks, starting as sales representatives and moving up to sales managers or sales executives. A proven track record of meeting or exceeding sales quotas, managing sales teams, and successfully launching new products is critical. Experience in planning and achieving annual sales targets, maintaining customer relationships, and expanding a customer base within various geographic locations is also important. Furthermore, they should have a history of organizing persuasive proposals for conferences and deliver engaging presentations to stakeholders.

Understanding Sales and Marketing Trends

Staying informed about current trends in sales and marketing enables sales directors to adapt to changing market conditions and strategically adjust sales objectives. They must understand the nuances of advertising, the development of a strategic plan, and predicting shifts in supply and demand. Practical knowledge of tools like sales training programs and onboarding new team members is key to strengthening salesforce effectiveness. Directors should be able to analyze data trends and translate that information into actionable strategies for their organization.

By focusing on these key areas, professionals can position themselves as ideal candidates for a Director of Sales position, which often offers a competitive salary with potential bonuses, commissions, and benefits, reflecting the importance and responsibilities of the role.

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