If you are an energetic, experienced and commercially-minded manager, you may want to aim for a position as a commercial director. This is a senior leader who is responsible for identifying new commercial activities and driving business growth. He is usually a member of the management team and reports to the chief executive. Commercial directors are employed by businesses, but also by not-for-profit organizations and charities that need to maximize income in order to fulfill their charitable purposes.
To be considered for a commercial director role, you must have at least a bachelor's degree in business, finance or a related field. A postgraduate qualification is also desirable, as is membership in a professional body. Many commercial directors are qualified accountants or are members of the American Marketing Institute.
This is a senior role, so employers expect candidates to have between five and 10 years' experience of successful commercial management. For example, you could have spent time as a marketing director or running a retail business. The marketing, sales and business development departments are likely to be your responsibility, so you must have experience leading large teams. Along with demonstrating management experience, you must have developed commercial strategy.
A commercial director needs outstanding interpersonal and networking skills. You must be able to build and maintain effective working relationships with customers, partners, suppliers and staff. You must be computer literate and able to use customer relationship management databases. As you will have oversight of a number of different projects at different stages of development, you also need excellent project management and time management skills.
Leadership qualities are essential for this role. You must be able to inspire and motivate people to drive the business forward and achieve your goals. But you must combine these qualities with strong organizational skills and, particularly, a keen eye for detail. Commercial directors are responsible for approving contracts. It is essential not to leave any loopholes through which new business or profit could escape.
The commercial director acts at a high level to develop and implement market and business development strategies. This includes identifying new opportunities, developing new client relationships, creating business proposals and writing bids. You take the lead on managing client relationships and ensure that the board and management team are kept informed of market opportunities and business development. On the management side, you lead the business development, sales, customer service and marketing teams. You also have ultimate responsibility for managing the directorate budget.