Key Account Director - European Manufacturer

he Client

Our client is a UK subsidiary of a €300m European manufacturer and distributor of small consumables. Customers include leading supermarkets, high street and specialist retailers, wholesalers and local authorities. Key customers include the likes of WHSmiths, Rymans and Tesco, to name a few. With a strong heritage, a recognisable brand in the UK market and backed by their European parent company, our client was looking to grow their presence in the UK market and establish the brand as a market leader.

The Business Challenge 

With the continued success and growth of their leading UK retail accounts, the current Sales Director was under continued pressure to deliver improved financial performance and development of each key account. As a result, a new role was created for a Key Account Director, to support the Sales Director with the development of the retail accounts across the high street, supermarkets and specialist retailers.  

The Role

Working in partnership with the Sales Director, the Key Account Director would be tasked with improving sales and margin performance across a wide selection of their key accounts. The person appointed would need to be capable of identifying gaps in the current range and competitor products, along with presenting and developing strong product ranges to the customers. Working alongside the marketing team this individual would ensure a strong brand development and promotional plan could be executed. This role also comes with full budget responsibility for each account. The key objectives were to build upon the continued success and development of key relationships within each account.

The Solution 

To ensure that we found the right candidate for the business, we spent significant time upfront with the Managing Director and Sales Director, to understand: the role, the organisational culture, vision and values; the requirement and expectations for a successful candidate.

Collingwood researched and identified a wide variety of senior sales candidates from a broad range of FMCG sectors including, toys, stationery, office products, DIY, cleaning products, greeting cards and electricals. We made sure each candidate had exposure to managing complex and large key retail accounts, along with exposure to NPD, marketing and business strategy.

We developed an assignment specification on behalf our client, tailored to reveal: the company’s history and culture, the job description, and candidate skills, experience and competency behaviours required to be successful in that role; and the remuneration package. This enabled candidates to obtain a clear understanding of the company and role requirements and facilitated us to benchmark against the strong parameters.

After identifying over 200 potential individuals, we then provided a list of 8 candidates to our client; to guarantee both parties’ expectations were aligned before Collingwood’s consultants met with each candidate face-to-face. From these interviews; backed by reliable psychometric assessments, we short-listed 4 strong candidates for our client to meet.

The Result

A two-stage interview process with the Sales Director and then Managing Director was conducted, supported by Collingwood’s comprehensive interview notes and behavioural profiles.  

A successful candidate was offered the position, after a seal of approval from the European parent company. Collingwood continued to support the client; by managing all contract negotiations between the parties, which ensured a successful placement.