Commercial Director, Cementitious Building Product Manufacturer
Manufacturing numerous cementitious based products for the construction market; to include specification, retail, housing developer, and merchant, Collingwood had already successfully partnered the wider Group, which includes household brands from within the building materials industry, in headhunting two previous directors. As a group they are market leaders across several subsectors within building products.
Collingwood Executive Search had already successfully partnered the wider Group, which includes household brands from within the building materials industry, in headhunting two previous directors. As a group they are market leaders across several subsectors within building products.
The individual business manufacturers numerous cementitious based products for the construction market; to include specification, retail, housing developer, and merchant.
Over the past six years, this individual manufacturer had trebled turnover, with a hardened business strategy in place to push revenue figures by an extra 40% inside five years.
The Position & Its Challenges
The Managing Director recognised that in order to realise this ambitious growth, there was a need to bring in an additional member to their board, in the shape of a Commercial Director.
Key strengths of this individual and areas of focus were highlighted as:
- Build and implement pricing strategies
- Differentiation across accounts held on what makes for profitable business
- A more robust strategy across the Sheds (the likes of Homebase and B&Q) and trade accounts (Jewson, TP etc) which, at that point, had been too scatter gun
- Strategic development across Housing Developers
- Across all of the above, stronger relationships were needed at Category Director level
- Across all commercial functions there needed to be a shift to gaining maximum value from the CRM / ERP systems invested in
- For more than five years the business had outsourced its marketing function. There was an appetite for bringing this back in house and for this person to take ownership of marketing strategy moving forward
Upon meeting to discuss the brief, it was clear to Collingwood’s Head of Building Products & Construction, Mark Goldsmith, that there were a number of key attributes required in this person: blending what would be a more traditional Commercial Director, together with that of a Sales and Marketing Director too. Additionally, and to fit in line with other directors, salary was fixed at a challenging rate. As achieved previously, Mark highlighted that Collingwood would feedback on conversations held and share intelligence on salary demands and skillsets.
Furthermore, this was to be a sensitive search, due to an existing director internally not being aware of the MD’s intentions and this person would need to live within commuting distance of their midlands base.
The Solution & Result
Although Mark felt that he would know of several ideal candidates for the position, a thorough research-based headhunt would flesh out the best talent.
Pulling together research on the regional building materials market, Mark was able to identify 55 companies who sell into similar markets. 55 candidates were then approached, across the three aforementioned disciplines (not all of which would be an ideal fit, given the multiple skillsets required).
Salary did restrict the search, with over 10 candidates rejecting the opportunity to progress. However, through the approach work, six were identified and interviewed by Mark.
Of these, four were recommended to the client. Both the MD and FD were keen on three of these, who progressed to final interviews.
The preferred candidate – who Mark already knew of through his network and previous dealings – was under offer with another company who had offered 15% more than that of what this client was willing to pay. However, through a combination of both the MD and Mark discussing the opportunity and motivations of the preferred candidate, they were able to secure his commitment.
As a bonus, although by no means a prerequisite, this candidate had worked within the product sector previously. Not only did he have a strong blend of the three main disciplines required, but it was also envisaged by all that he would quickly be able to drive growth, as a result.