Highly successful sales directors must really understand the technical principles of selling and have an outstanding personal sales track-record. But above all, they need excellent people management skills.

People Management

A sales director’s line reports can span customer services, complex technical sales where the buying cycle takes months, sales teams who close a deal in one visit, the web channel, telesales, technical customer support and even marketing.  These are very different roles and processes, delivered by very different types of people. Within any one of these roles you will see a wide range of character profiles, each responding very differently to a single management style. What motivates one person may demotivate another. Managing sales people to success requires a real understanding of these behavioural differences.

Yet it’s possible for senior salespeople, if they hit their sales figures, to rise through the ranks without ever having gained such people management experience.

Sales Skills

Some sales directors are also not very good at selling!  In certain industries sales targets have been historically easy to achieve. Sales directors in these sectors may have been promoted, without having to prove themselves or develop the skills to cope in a tougher market environment.

In short there are many senior sales people in the market who aren’t as good – in people management or sales terms – as their CVs might suggest. Yet if they’re clever, and know their product or service very well, they are likely to come across exceptionally well in an interview and get the job.

Faced with this, how do you pick through the mass of candidates to find not just the good ones but the outstanding sales director, business development director or commercial director for your business?

That’s where NJR’s experience and skills come in:

  • 25 years national and international sales management experience
  • Specialist capability of finding senior sales professionals
  • Ideal for senior sales, business development & commercial director roles
  • Expertise ‘reading’ sales CVs
  • Briefs completed in over 20 countries
  • Perfectly matched short-list within 2 to 4 days for interim roles
  • Perfectly matched short-list within 2 to 4 weeks for permanent roles

Sales Team

Phil Hagen


Phil understands sales people. He has over 25 years of national and international sales management experience in a wide range of industry sectors including telecoms, IT and ICT. He has successfully delivered strong business sales solutions and recruited multi-disciplinary sales teams while working at sales/managing director level in global organisations including Amcat Group, NTL , British Energy and Cable & Wireless plc.  Furthermore, as the founder and developer of the successful SalesMatch sales behavioural assessment tool, there is no one better than Phil at identifying the character profile of successful sales people. 

Norrie Johnston


As a veteran sales and marketing director, and recruitment industry pioneer, Norrie is uniquely placed to support companies recruiting senior sales and marketing staff. With over 30 years’ experience within the recruitment, manufacturing, engineering, technology and technical services industries, Norrie has a track record of delivering successful sales and marketing projects. During his time as a sales manager and director, he was the architect and leader of numerous multi-million-pound sales campaigns for companies including London Electricity (now EDF), IMI and Ricardo. Following a successful corporate and then interim management career in sales and marketing, Norrie founded his first recruitment consultancy business, Executives Online, in 2000, before establishing Norrie Johnston Recruitment in 2013, where his skill for recognising sales talent has enabled him to place numerous sales and marketing executives in a host of global organisations.