What does a commercial director do?

The main goal of a commercial director is to plan, develop and implement commercial strategies that reflect the objectives and priorities of their organisation. Typically, these strategies will focus on maximising opportunities for profit, generating revenue and creating sustainable growth

The commercial director is a leadership position and is responsible for the commercial activities of an organisation. They play an integral role in areas such as product development, pricing policy and the development of ‘go to market’ strategies and will intimately understand the markets in which their company operates. Commercial directors help their business to identify new opportunities and ensure market fit of products and services based on current sector trends and anticipated future market developments.  

Key responsibilities

Responsibilities will vary, but examples include:

  • Developing and implementing commercial strategies in line with company goals and objectives, with the aim to accelerate growth.
  • Conducting market research and analysis to create detailed business plans on commercial opportunities (expansion, business development etc.) as well as to understand threats.
  • Managing existing client relationships - understanding their requirements, ensuring their needs are met.
  • Designing and implementing new sales and customer acquisition strategies.
  • Collaborating with and coordinating diverse teams (e.g. marketing, sales, customer service).
  • Negotiating ongoing contracts with suppliers and customers; managing and reviewing contracts and making recommendations regarding commerciality.
  • Monitoring performance of commercial activities using key metrics and reporting to senior management.
  • Establishing and maintaining long-term, profitable partnerships with key stakeholders.
  • Assisting with setting, managing and monitoring financial targets and budget development.

Why are they important?

Commercial directors are senior executives who are highly influential in determining the revenue & profit profile and strategic focus of a business. They develop and implement commercial strategies to accelerate growth in line with company goals and objectives, and are responsible for securing new clients and advising senior management about new markets to explore

Skills needed for this role

Commercial directors and managers must have strong commercial awareness, along with an entrepreneurial and strategic mindset. Excellent organisational and leadership skills are essential and they must have outstanding communication and interpersonal abilities in order to successfully manage relationships with key clients and stakeholders

Strategic Professional Options examinations linked to this role

Advanced Performance Management

Career opportunities presented by this role

Commercial directors can work across a number of different industries. Directors in this field are naturally commercially focused and typically senior. Progression to board-level positions within a company, including to chief executive officer, is common.

Competencies

High level competencies required include:

  • Advisory and consultancy

    A. Gathers and understands financial and non-financial information to develop complete knowledge of the client business and the environment in which it operates.

    B. Provides expert advice that will add value to the business and gain advantage.

    C. Identify and advise on business partnering to develop strategic relationships to create opportunities, improve performance and solve business problems.

    D. Prepare and present business plans and advise on the actions to implement these plans.

     

  • Leadership and management

    A. Evaluates organisational structures and governance to protect the long-term interests of stakeholders.

    B. Recommends appropriate strategies to ensure adherence to governance structures and application of best practice internal controls.

    C. Identifies and manages risk appropriately.

    D. Uses risk management for the best interests of an organisation and its stakeholders.

    E. Monitors and applies relevant legislation, policies and procedures.
     

  • Stakeholder relationship management

    A. Positively develops relationships with internal and external stakeholders.

    B. Communicates and gains commitment from internal and external stakeholder.

    C. Uses emerging technologies to collaborate and communicate effectively with stakeholders.

    D. Applies professional and ethical judgement when engaging with stakeholders.

    E. Aligns organisational strategic objectives with stakeholder needs and manages expectations.

  • Strategy and innovation

    A. Applies business acumen and commercial awareness to deliver business objectives.

    B. Recommends a range of suitable strategic options from which to develop sustainable plans and objectives.

    C. Evaluates, justifies and implements suitable strategic options.

    D. Adopts and applies innovative methods to implement strategy and manages change.