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Presse 26/08/2020
Sales management, a privileged path to general management?

Challenger, federator, strategist ... There is no shortage of qualifiers when it comes to portraying the modern Sales Director. Focused on individual / collective performance and the achievement of objectives, he / she comes most of the time from the field and has been able to evolve towards management functions through his results (sales performance, development of his network, interpersonal skills ...). But, for a professional wishing to continue his development and his rise within the company, can the function of sales director constitute a springboard towards the post of Managing Director? And if so, what are the profiles most likely to apply for the position?

First of all, it is important to distinguish the position of Director General (CEO) according to different criteria: the economic and financial model, the size of the company, the sector of activity ...

Indeed, the company, the environment but also the strategy of the company are all elements that will influence the missions and the role of a Director. To take a simple example, a company with 50 employees will require more versatility and purely operational aspects than a similar position in a multinational. Likewise, the field of activity can play a major role in the selection of a future CEO. An industrial structure will promote a profile with know-how or technical background, taking into account the teams to be supervised and the processes to be followed. Thus, a production manager, or a site manager will seem to meet the selection criteria more in this case. In comparison, a structure resulting from mass distribution or consumer products will rather look at a candidate from a position of marketing director or network director. It is therefore essential to be able to identify suitable opportunities and not just visualize the title or function.

So, how best to prepare for the transition to this type of position and put the odds in its favor?

At first, it seems obvious that an employee who fulfills all the commercial objectives to be achieved and generates a turnover in line with the expectations of management will be in a better position to be able to position himself. However, we must also be aware that the expected qualities will not only focus on its elements. Indeed, it is important to have a real ability to gain height, and to go beyond function: transverse management, definition and implementation of strategy, development of new concepts and new methods, analytical mind. ... In short, it is essential to prove its ability to offer solutions, to innovate and to position itself as a real pivot for the development of the company with a capital D.

In addition, and to complete your knowledge (which can be technical or commercial), it may also be wise to go through the training box. Indeed, many offers have emerged in recent years. It is first of all possible to consolidate one's knowledge by obtaining a diploma (most MBAs being rather recognized for their relevance and their results), which will make it possible to “officially” validate one's skills but also to acquire those that may be missing: financial management, management of the IT tool, etc. MOOCs…). This type of support makes it possible to regularly feed one's knowledge while discovering new methodologies. In addition, reforming allows you to expand your network through meeting and networking with decision-makers and managers. I have indeed been able to have several feedback from candidates who, through this, came into contact with their future employer.

Finally, we must also be ready to invest in so-called "springboards" projects which could constitute a transition to a post of Director-General. Some structures sometimes offer opportunities as a branch manager, a business unit manager, or even a deputy general manager. You must therefore be ready to go through an intermediate mission, potentially requiring a change of entity or even participation in transversal missions. This is a phase that can be likened to a first attempt or to putting the target position in perspective. Thus, large companies offer interesting and motivating opportunities and programs. Likewise, mobility can be a major asset in this scenario. As candidates are primarily attracted by dynamic employment pools, some companies located in.