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What does a Sales Director do?

A Sales Director ensures the bottom line of a business – sales. Sales directors oversee the sales operations of an organization, managing the sales team and implementing programs to win new customers and increase revenue.

Sales director: The job description

The sales director’s job engages an array of business skills, from strategic planning to team management. In this career, you might set sales objectives and marshal the necessary resources to achieve them. These resources may include educational programs, product development initiatives, sales strategies and most importantly, a trained, organized sales force.

sales director

As a sales director, you are likely to have many or all of the following responsibilities:

  • Shaping the organization’s sales policies and objectives
  • Determining product selling points and setting sales strategies
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of sales initiatives and rewarding success
  • Recommending product enhancements to boost sales or win new customers
  • Managing sales representatives and overseeing a team of sales managers
  • Implementing educational programs for sales representatives

You may also work closely with marketing and product development heads, as well as C-level executives.

Aiming for a sales director career

Sales directors generally advance into the career after proving their skills in a mid-level sales management position. According to, these professionals have at least ten years experience in the field. The majority of sales directors–58 percent, according to–have a bachelor’s degree. About one in four have a master’s degree, typically an MBA.

Business administration degrees offer the most targeted preparation for a career as a sales director. The Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and the MBA offer courses in business development strategy, marketing, finance, consumer behavior, management, operations and business communications. The Department of Labor emphasizes the importance of strong communications skills for sales managers and directors. Directors must communicate effectively with other managers and executives, sales staff and customers; the ability to cultivate strong relationships is key. Training in writing and presentation skills may serve you well.

Career opportunities for sales directors

Professionals in this career have a direct and demonstrable impact on the success of a company. As a result, talented directors with a proven track record can find opportunity in any economic climate. As the Department of Labor puts it, sales managers “constitute some of the most important personnel in an organization and are less subject to downsizing than other managers.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts faster than average job growth for sales managers, with employment growing an estimated 15 percent.

Sales manager and director jobs are available across the U.S., with the most opportunities concentrated in metropolitan areas. According to the BLS, top metropolitan centers for sales management jobs are Los Angeles, greater New York City, Chicago, Atlanta and Minneapolis-St. Paul. New York City and Boston are also the top-paying regions.

A combination of experience and formal business expertise can get you into the director’s chair. Begin your career in sales with a degree in business administration or management.

What does a Sports Agent do?

Sports is a complicated business, and many athletes rely on a Sports Agent to manage their short career span for a lifetime of earnings. Sports Agents specialize in finding and marketing athletes and negotiating employment and endorsement contracts on their behalf. In addition, agents may offer financial guidance.

The sports agent’s job description includes:

  • Handling communications with team owners, managers and coaches
  • Negotiating contracts for both athletic employment and product endorsement
  • Marketing the athlete for product endorsement and public appearance opportunities
  • Advising clients in public relations matters
  • Managing an athlete’s finances, in some cases, providing tax services, investment advice, etc.

sports agent

In order to serve the athlete’s interests, a sports agent needs to understand the professional sports industry and current trends. In addition, the sports agent should have a thorough foundation in business management, financial management and risk analysis and most important, contract law.

Training to become a sports agent

Sports agents generally develop the broad skill set for the job in college. A bachelor’s degree in business or sports management is the first step to a career as a sports agent. Top agents may continue on to a master’s degree in sports agent or management, which offers advanced coursework and project research opportunities. The North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM) maintains a list of universities offering sports management degree programs.

Sports agent or management degree programs include courses in business, finance, public relations and media, as well as sports-specific electives such as:

  • Sports law
  • Risk management
  • Sports media and technology
  • Athletic contract negotiation
  • Sports marketing
  • Federal sports regulations
  • Sport budget and finance

In addition, sports agent or management degree programs may incorporate a professional internship. Many sports agents continue on to a professional law degree, focusing on contract and negotiating fundamentals.

Sports agent careers

Sports agents may work as part of a sports agency or as an independent agent. As a recent graduate, you can break into the business by joining a large agency and working as a scout or recruiter while you learn the ropes. Once you have developed the expertise and industry contacts, you can establish your own agency.

Since sports agents are generally paid on commission, salaries vary widely. A sports agent generally receives a commission between four and 10 percent of the athlete’s team contract and 10 to 20 percent of an endorsement contract. Though these commissions are subject to negotiation between player and agent, some spectator sports set limits on agent terms. The NFL limits agents to three percent of the athletic contract and the NBA sets a four percent limit.

What does a Stock Broker do?

Stock brokers aim to generate profit by investing in financial products such as shares and securities on behalf of private, corporate, and individual clients.

What are the typical job responsibilities of a stock broker?

A stock broker is qualified and registered to conduct a transaction on the stock exchange on behalf of clients. They also sometimes act on their own behalf.

They are expected to be experts with up-to-the-minute knowledge and understanding of the financial markets. They are paid, usually on commission, to make sound investment decisions and provide well-informed advice. Their job typically involves:

  • Determining clients’ requirements e.g. how much they want to invest, what level of return they hope to gain, what level of risk they are willing to accept
  • Conducting research about the financial markets
  • Advising clients about investments
  • Conducting buying and selling transactions on behalf of clients
  • Monitoring the performance of clients’ investments
  • Attracting new clients and generating a client base

stock broker

You can expect to work relatively long hours–typically over 40 hours per week–including evenings and weekends at the convenience of your clients, many of whom may work during regular working hours.

What are the education and licensing requirements?

You need to gain a bachelor’s degree in accounting, business, economics, or finance to begin a career in this occupation. If you can get an internship in the summer before your final college year, as many would-be stock brokers do, it can help you gain full-time employment after you graduate.

Gaining a MBA or professional certification can be beneficial for advancement in your career.

In addition to your education, useful attributes include:

  • Research skills
  • Ability to remain calm and work effectively under pressure
  • Confidence in decision making
  • Good judgment of risk
  • Strong analytical skills

A stock broker must be registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) as a representative of their firm. To become registered, you need to be employed by a registered firm for a minimum of 4 months and pass the General Securities Registered Representative Examination plus, in most States, the Uniform Securities Agents States Law Examination. To maintain your registered representative status, you need ongoing computer-based training that keeps your knowledge current.

Certification such as the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, indicates experience and ongoing education, and can help enhance your professional status.

You may also need other licensure to sell certain products or services.

Earning potential

Becoming a stock broker is a lucrative and attractive career choice for anyone with a head for figures and strong risk-analysis skills.