Chief Sales & Marketing Officer


In our case study, a conglomerate that specializes in automotive manufacturing and consumer products needed to replace the current Chief Sales & Marketing Officer.  The current professional was not providing transparent data of the market to the executives, was not improving pipelines and lead management, and was mis-managing his sales manager’s effectiveness. 


Our client was looking for new market expansions, and they sought a recognized industry leader to join their executive leadership team as the Chief Sales & Marketing Officer (CSMO). Reporting to the President, the CSMO would be responsible for the strategic and tactical development and implementation of the company’s national sales plan, which was intended to promote the generation of profitable sales revenue and growth.

Accountabilities of the role included strategic business planning, new market identification and pursuits, and the creation of a metrics-based sales organization. In this capacity, the CSMO would collaborate closely with corporate leadership and regional management to support growth and diversification initiatives.; The CSMO would also be charged with hiring, developing, and mentoring a team of current and potential business development, sales, and marketing personnel. As a company officer, the CSMO plays a vital role in ensuring the overall company success, sustainability, and evolution for the foreseeable future.

We had not previously represented this organization on an executive search, and therefore, spent much time getting to know the company and its objectives, structure, and environment. We worked directly with the President on the assignment. He was articulate about the expectations for the role, and ideal candidate qualifications, including the intangible traits that would be important for a secure cultural fit. He wanted to attract a recognized industry leader who had broad expertise and experience leading high performing sales organizations, and who could strategically penetrate new markets and cultivate lasting relationships to create opportunities for sustained growth and market diversification.

The President wanted to expedite the search and begin recruitment activities immediately. It was early January, and while we were in a position to launch the search, we were aware of the potential challenges that we might encounter by beginning a search so close to the holidays. We were also concerned with attracting candidates that time of year with many professionals expecting outstanding bonuses that are paid in at the end of the first quarter. We discussed these concerns openly with the President, and he respected our perspective and appreciated us being forthright. We jointly decided to begin the search immediately since all parties understood the potential issues, and we determined a search schedule that would effectively sequence the stages of the process around the holidays.


As part of our process, we met with the President and the entire executive committee in our client’s headquarters to discuss the key attributes, goals, and expectations for the role. From this meeting, we were able to craft a position description as well as a tailored search plan to ensure success.

Due to the specific qualifications and traits desired; it was necessary to conduct a national search targeting high-level individuals within competing organizations in addition to those in aftermarket parts manufacturing, large distribution channels, and semi-truck manufacturing. In particular, we honed our focus on executives that had varied market sector and multi-region experience related to the identification, pursuit, and capture of strategic accounts or clients.

Our client was presented with diverse candidate options and interviewed candidates from a variety of organizations, including agriculture, distribution, automotive, and mining equipment manufacturing. 


Despite our initial concerns about beginning the search process in January, we completed the assignment in two and a half months. The client was highly collaborative, which made the assignment flow smoothly and cohesively.

The President selected a professional that had held several senior business development positions with major competitors. The individuals focus was major pursuits, new business acquisition and management, business intelligence and analytics, and client satisfaction with an emphasis on aftermarket parts, technology for IoT, and engines and transmissions. His professional references described him as having a strong reputation for sales management, direct selling, capture management, and business development. They said he develops trust and shows passion for his clients. He provides leadership by leading by example and working in a collaborative manner with his internal teams.

We have spoken with the client and candidate many times since completing the assignment to ensure the transition continues to progress smoothly. The client has expressed that the professional understands how to win a sale, is resourceful and innovative, and he works in collaboration with the regional managers and internal sales and business development teams. He provides leadership and expertise to ensure that the sales team fully understands and complies with the company’s global sales strategy. One of his greatest strengths is his ability to develop relationships, providing personal facetime with both clients and colleagues, which people appreciate and respect.

The candidate was initially interested in the opportunity because it provided him the opportunity to be part of the company’s leadership in cultivating and developing an internal team, and leading pursuits, which was appealing and closely in line with his background. Upon joining our client, he quickly assimilated himself into the organization and has been responsible for spearheading the overall effort to create a cohesive national sales plan. This has included the development and implementation of standardized practices and procedures related to the sales process, developing training mechanisms for his internal team, and the creation of a collaborative work environment that supports and drives continued growth.

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