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The “absent” Sales Director

Director comercial ausente sdevant blog red1 300x226In the course of my job, I am often called into companies that are looking for help with their commercial strategy, assistance to increase sales, support in raising sales efficiency or, even, aid in improving product lines to adapt to changing markets. Who comes to these meetings? We usually get the CEO, CFO and the Production and Purchasing Directors..which is when I always ask:

“…couldn’t the Sales Director make it?” 

“CEO: No, we don’t HAVE a Sales Director”. 

It may be that you don’t need a Sales Director as such, but in the cases in question we are talking about companies with at least 4-strong sales team in the street.

I am equally fascinated and worried by the reason I am given and what lies behind a businessman being willing to pay for, more or less qualified, line managers, but see no need to employ a professional Sales Director. My personal experience is that many SMEs don’t have a Sales Director because they don’t know what one is supposed to do nor what they can bring to the table. What’s more, many mistakenly believe that the Sales Director should be the Number One Salesman. NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.

What, then, is a Sales Director? In my opinion, A Sales Director is “a Director of Personnel specifically for the Sales Department.” A professional whose task is to organise, formulate strategies, define objectives and manage the team to assure that each of them hit their targets and that individual salesmen improve those points that have to be enhanced.

Having reached this point, some of my readers will think they are reading science fiction. Quite the contrary, what I find unacceptable is that a company controls and knows everything about what they make and what they spend, but have no idea who their clients are (these usually belong to the salesman), where they are selling, why they are selling a, even, if the sales team is performing below potential threshold.

I am a firm defender of the post of the Professional Sales Director, a figure that should play an important role in any organisation with a minimum sales structure.

The list of his responsibilities and duties include but are not limited to:

  • Establish the SALES TARGET together with General Management
  • Define company sales policy with regard to customers and products
  • Determine specific targets for the organisation and for individuals with the aim of achieving the SALES TARGET
  • Establish a system designed to measure the performance in all phases of the sales process (Key Indicators)
  • Oversee and evaluate individual salesmen to identify weak points and to work with them to put improvement plans in place.

Salvador Devant
Consultant in Sales and Marketing Strategy
sdevant@int-team.com