Corporate Sales Director

Our sports apparel client was looking for a Corporate Sales Director to grow the business, transitioning it to a more structured, retail oriented commercial approach.

The brief about Corporate Sales Director

Our client is a family run business since its inception almost 100 years ago, with an authentic passion for delivering the best product possible for its clients.

This brought them to grow consistently and become a global leader in the outdoor wear industry and a love brand, with a trusted reputation on the market.

The task for the new Corporate Sales Director would have been not only to grow the business, but also to support the company in a progressive cultural change to evolve into a more structured, proactive commercial approach to the market.

On one side to analyze, identify and grasp the best opportunities to further develop the business globally. On the other to coach and develop the team’s capabilities.

Corporate Sales Director main keys

Key for the role a strategic and analytical mindset, solid commercial competences and out of the box thinking, excellent people management skills, together with an experience in structured companies, possibly in the sports industry, on wholesale, retail and e-commerce channels. 

Identifying the main challenges

Corporate Sales Director Casual meeting

We spent two deep sessions with our client to get a really good understanding of the business challenges and, really importantly, the cultural feel of the workplace.

Together, we identified the key challenges as follows:

  • Sector experience and Managerial approach: identifying an individual who had experience of delivering significant growth in the sector, with a solid background in multinational companies;
  • Location: the main office was quite decentralized due to the company base, far from the big cities where multinationals are. The company was requiring a relocation;
  • Culture: employees were sharing the passion for outdoor sports and the authentic desire for contributing to the founders mission. A critical success factor for any newcomer was to share this passion, to become soon part of this “tribe” and a recognized leader.

Delivering the assignment

We undertook an in-depth search, casting a broad net across Italy and Europe, despite the location challenge.

We often find candidates are open to relocation for the right opportunity so we were keen not to limit the search purely based on the location factor.

To address the cultural aspects, every candidate completed a detailed personality assessment. This provided the insight to each individual’s personality and characteristics which helped to determine their likely cultural fit but also ability to overcome cultural differences.

Finally, although we scouted the entire sporting goods sector for candidates, we also identified candidates from other retail sectors such as fashion and accessories, with similar distribution channels.

Successful appointment

Ultimately, from a long list of 134 candidates, whittled down to a short list of 5 for the client to interview, the successful candidate had the perfect mix of skills and experience for the role.

They had previously worked in the European headquarter of a large multinational sports company, in a role of Commercial director for the key accounts and lately for the digital business, constantly overachieving business results.

Although coming from an international career, he had spent a significant number of years in Italy, driving a complex business and cultural change, therefore guaranteeing also a good cultural fit.