Challenge: Completing this assignment in two and a half months, we worked in collaboration with the CPO to secure a professional from a direct competitor who quickly assimilated himself and is now enhancing the success of the company in its various sectors. The new Director of Sales plays an instrumental role in creating a comprehensive and strategic sales plan, developing a marketing and business development team, and establishing standards and practices for the company’s brand in the marketplace. Accountabilities of the role include: strategic business planning, new market identification and pursuits, and the creation of a metrics-based sales organization. In this capacity, the Director of Sales collaborates closely with corporate leadership and regional management to support growth and diversification initiatives; and hires, develops, and mentors a team of current and potential business development, sales, and marketing personnel. As a company officer, the Director of Sales plays a vital role in ensuring the organization’s overall success, sustainability, and evolution for the foreseeable future.
We had previously successfully represented this organization on an executive search, even then we spent much time getting to know the company, post organisational restructure. We worked directly with the CPO on the assignment, and he was articulate about the expectations for the role, and ideal candidate qualifications, including the intangible traits that would be important for a strong cultural fit. He wanted to attract a recognized industry leader who had broad expertise and experience leading high performing sales organizations, and who could strategically penetrate new markets and cultivate lasting relationships to create opportunities for sustained growth and market diversification.
The CPO wanted to expedite the search and begin hiring activities immediately. It was late January, and while we were in a position to begin the search, we were aware of the potential challenges that we might encounter by beginning a search. We were also concerned with attracting candidates that time of year with many professionals expecting hikes/ bonuses that are paid in January. We discussed these concerns openly with the CPO, and he respected our perspective and appreciated us being forthright. We jointly decided to begin the search immediately since all parties understood the potential issues, and we determined a search schedule that would effectively sequence the stages of the process.
As part of our process, we met with the CPO in our client’s headquarters to discuss the key attributes, goals, and expectations for the role. From this meeting we were able to craft a position description as well as a tailored search plan to ensure success.
Due to the specific qualifications and traits desired, it was necessary to conduct a national search targeting high-level individuals within competing organizations to our client. In particular, we honed our focus on executives that had varied market sector and multi-region experience related to the identification, pursuit and capture of strategic accounts or clients.
Despite our initial concerns about beginning the search process in January, we completed the assignment in two and a half months. The client was highly collaborative, which made the assignment flow smoothly and cohesively.
The CPO selected a professional who had held senior business development positions with extensive international sales experience from Delhi. The individual’s focus was major pursuits, new business acquisition and management, business intelligence and analytics, and client satisfaction. His professional references described him as having a strong reputation for sales management, direct selling, capture management, and business development. They said he develops trust and shows passion for his clients. He provides leadership by leading by example and working in a collaborative manner with his internal teams.
We have spoken with the client and candidate many times since completing the assignment to ensure the transition continues to progress smoothly. The client has expressed that the professional understands how to win a sale, is resourceful and innovative, and he works in collaboration with the regional managers and internal sales and business development teams. He provides leadership and expertise to ensure that the sales team fully understands and complies with the company’s global sales strategy. One of his greatest strengths is his ability to develop relationships, providing personal facetime with both clients and colleagues, which people appreciate and respect.
The candidate was originally interested in the opportunity because it provided him the opportunity to be part of the company’s leadership in cultivating and developing an internal team, and leading pursuits, which was appealing and closely in line with his background. Upon joining our client, he quickly assimilated himself into the organization and has been responsible for spearheading the overall effort to create the cohesive international sales plan. This has included the development and implementation of standardized practices and procedures related to the sales process, developing training mechanisms for his internal team, and the creation of a collaborative work environment that supports and drives continued growth.
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