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Sales Management Marketing Directorships

Planning for success – advice from Zenopa

The range of medical device suppliers to the multi billion pound NHS is highly fragmented, and comprises a few major companies, a myriad of medium companies, small companies and sole traders! The vast majority of these organisations do not have a training department and many do not have a dedicated Human Resources individual. From a company’s view point this hampers succession planning and from your point of view this stymies your personal development. Taking responsibility for your career is therefore a necessity for long term income security.  

Consider the arithmetic of relevant job opportunities

Take time to consider the arithmetic of finding relevant job opportunities and the recruitment pathway. The management ratios of manager-to-managed lies between 1 to 6 and 1 to 8. Recruiting for a sales vacancy virtually always requires sourcing an external candidate as there is no internal feed structure, whereas for executive positions there is the sales team to call on and it is usually desirable to promote an individual from within. It is also true to say executives tend to stay in roles for longer than salespeople. All of the above factors contribute to executive vacancies representing c.15% of a company’s commercial vacancies, with sales vacancies making up the remaining c.85%. The opportunity to apply for the limited number of available executive vacancies is further compounded by most being appointed internally. When an executive vacancy becomes open to external candidates you need to review it.

The right place at the right time

Your first executive position is all too frequently a case of being in the right place at the right time. A classic example is when a sales manager has moved on and you are their most senior/successful direct report; perhaps you’ve expressed an interest in the job, or perhaps you moved into a product specialist role that became an office based product manager position, you’ve moved into marketing! These initial career breaks are where most individuals careers languish.

In their comfort zone

Often you find yourself in a comfort zone, not undertaking personal development with long term career growth and financial stability compromised. You must now move into a consolidated position to make a career breakthrough. Gain sponsorship for recognised external training from your employer, be this sales management or marketing. In either case you also need financial management, to implement this training in your job role and audit your own performance before and afterwards. Having done this you are in a good position to increment your salary internally. Perhaps, more importantly, you can communicate about your management or marketing role in a universal language and framework that other employers can recognise and value.

Increase your own personal market value

Identification and recognition of your executive skills also broadens your appeal beyond your current product niche, and enables you to broaden the number of employers that are interested in you. Frequently individuals are labelled with their niche product area. Niches are excellent whilst expanding as they disproportionately escalate your value, however niches also fall into decline and if you become unemployed can be a career closing trap.

Career closing traps

And when do those career closing traps occur? Usually when events out of your control occur – mergers, takeovers, liquidations, product sales/acquisition, changes of company strategy or changes of more senior executives. Plan to ensure that your career encompasses a diversity of product areas and formalised executive training and as such demonstrates transferable executive skills that enables more employers to consider you.

A plan for the scarcity of job transition opportunity

But also plan for the scarcity of job transition opportunity. That is you need to ensure you are informed. You have to take proactive steps, to ensure you are passively being kept in touch with market opportunities. We suggest that such a plan should, as a bare minimum, encompass the following criteria:
• ensure you are qualified
• evidence your success in the universal language of your discipline
• plan your next career move
• keep informed: sign-up to Zenopa executive updates.

Profile: Mark Denton

Before commencing a medical recruitment career some 19 years ago, Mark enjoyed his time in medical sales with Becton Dickinson. In 1991Mark founded Zenopa (then branded as Zenith) and over the past 17 years this organisation has probably placed more people in Medical Devices than any other. Today Zenopa is a multi-million pound recruitment business with over 30 personnel and still enjoying strong growth. Over these 19 years Mark has seen first hand career successes and failures. This article makes you privy to some of that insight.




For the executive update service please contact our Executive Recruiter, Jane Whiley now in her fifth year with Zenopa 0844 980 9849 jane@zenopa.com


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