Recruiting Sales Directors

Senior sales and sales director roles are by far the toughest to fill, according to our recent research among HR and recruitment heads.

Almost a third (29%) of the 127 directors involved in our study identified sales director as the most difficult senior position to fill. This was followed by director-level marketing and digital roles which were only nominated by 19% and 18% respectively.

 Cultural Fit

A key challenge with senior sales roles appears to be finding people that are compatible with an organisation’s culture. Almost six in ten (59%) of the companies questioned say it’s difficult to find a director that understands and embodies the values and philosophy of the firm. This is a big problem as is a sales director doesn’t fit in with a company’s ethos the potential disruption to a company can be massive.

 Seeing through the CV

A third (33%) of the UK businesses we studied also said they find it difficult to recruit sales directors who live up to their CV.

This is because while prospective sales directors are likely to have an extensive list of achievements and attributes this is not always the whole story.

For instance some sales directors enter the job market with a CV that shows a highly successful sales record, but this may have been achieved during the boom years in a fast-growing industry. It may not be a true reflection of their ability to perform in a tougher environment or a more challenging market. Sadly some businesses often only find this out when the director is in post, and under-performing!

That’s why prospective employers must now be able to read between the lines of a sales director’s CV. As TheHRDirector recently reported, they need the ability to dig deeper. They need to determine if a candidate is the right behavioural type, has the skills, experience, is a good cultural fit for the company and has the right people management skills to manage the many elements of the sales function.


It’s not just CV assessment which is a challenge, over a quarter (26%) of UK companies said they struggle to match the salaries and packages offered by rivals, while 24% have difficulty finding the people they need within their strict time constraints. Indeed, almost a half of firms (47%) took at least 6 months to recruit their most recent senior director, and 10% still hadn’t filled the role after a year.

To help companies combat these challenges when recruiting sales directors we have developed a specialist sales director recruitment service which is proving incredibly popular with companies. So if you are struggling to fill that senior sales role call us on 0203 1267 198