Sales Director - High End Furniture

Our client is a European designer and manufacturer of high-end home furniture. A family owned business with a strong heritage...

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Our Client

Our client is a European designer and manufacturer of high-end home furniture. A family-owned business with a strong heritage, they already had a strong foot holding in the Continental Europe, Russian and Middle Eastern markets. 


The Business Challenge

With no presence in the UK market, and with strong growth opportunities at stake, our client needed to put together a strong business strategy to launch their products into high street retailers, large home furnishing stores and the large network of small independent retailers in the UK. 


The Role

The UK Sales Director would need to have a strong commercial background, be able to recommend a strong product portfolio for the UK market, advise on pricing structures and retail prices, develop and launch the overall UK strategy, as well as ‘open doors’ with the vast network of UK home furnishing retailers. 


The Solution

Firstly, Collingwood invested time visiting the European Head Office to meet the Chief Executive and Group Sales Director to fully understand the product portfolio, the routes to market, the type of person that would add value to the business and more importantly the culture of the business. From this, we built a detailed assignment specification, which we used to share information with candidates when conducting our own face to face interviews. Using behavioural profiling tools we went about putting together a benchmark for the type of person that they felt would succeed in the business. Each shortlisted candidate then completed our online behavioural profiling tool which benchmarked against this ‘ideal’.

The first challenge for Collingwood was to map out the main competitors in the UK home furniture market. After initial identification of over 75 individuals, we went about using various headhunting tools to search the UK home furnishing’s market for a high calibre candidate who had strong market knowledge. We also gained valuable information on salary levels and the structure of UK competitors which we could feedback to our European client. From our headhunt we had 8 strong candidates to progress through to a full competency interview which would determine candidates’ behaviour competencies and potential to develop and implement a strong UK strategy. 


The Result

After a comprehensive search and interview process, the shortlist contained 4 candidates with a strong sales background in home furnishings. They also all shared a common theme that the candidates would be able to strongly fit into our client's organisational culture.

After the first round of interviewing by our client, we had two high-calibre individuals who progressed further in the process. With final interviews at their European head office, it was still difficult to make a final decision. As a result, a new strategic decision was made and both candidates were recruited, one as the UK Sales Director and the second candidate as the UK National Sales Manager. This, they felt, would allow them to gain a stronger foothold in the UK market. The two candidates appointed not only had the right level of experience in the UK market but also fitted the profile of being able to launch a new business strategy, resulting in both short term and long term success for the business. 


About the author
Doug Mackay
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Having started his career in Executive Search in 1998, Doug set up Collingwood in 2005 alongside his wife, Claire Mackay.

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Doug Mcckay

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