Olivier Safir, a French-American entrepreneur, shares with us the experience he has gathered as CEO of Pact & Partners executive search, a company with 27 years of experience in the recruitment of Life Sciences exclusively (pharmaceuticals/biotechnologies/medical devices/ animal health / nutrition/ bio energy).

What is the basic salary range /benefits/stock options expected from a Sales Director in the US?

  • It is impossible to give a unique answer as the salary range depends a lot on the size of the company and on the competitive aspect of the market.
  • The salary ranges from $100k/year + 40% commission + long-term incentives (stock options 30% to 50% depending on the experience) up to $200k/year when there are only very few qualified candidates available, as on certain edgy technologies or services or in the bio-fuel sector. The salary is also very dependent on the location of the company. For example Boston is 20% more expensive than certain Midwest cities.
  • Another very critical aspect in the US is the high turnover of the employees in commercial functions. The employer must show their ability to make the candidate find his/her profession fulfilling and offer a stable position.

What can / should we ask a Sales Director to do in the US?

In France, a sales director is often only asked to increase the sales. In the US, empowerment is also very important.

o   A sales director (especially when working for foreign firms) is asked:

  • to work autonomously
  • to manage its budget
  • to prepare pre-sales and marketing and
  • to follow-up on post-sales and deliverables
  • to be pro-dynamic about what she/he will find on the market. It is much more entrepreneurial

o   Employers should be clear on the key performance indicators on which the employee will be evaluated from the beginning. US employees want to be assessed on a fair, fact-based, and on a regular basis (the goals should be adapted/reviewed monthly or quarterly). The targets should also be divided in technical sub-elements.

o   The Sales Director should also be asked to determine a business plan for his/her first 100 days in his function.

How do you ensure there will be a good fit with the team in France?

It is very important to organize regular meetings (videoconferencing or face to face) between the Sales Director, his/her direct boss, and colleagues to make him/her feel “committed” to the company and its culture.

How do you train the person efficiently?

It is very difficult to target the American market for a foreign new company even with highly qualified profiles. My advice is to hire someone who already has an existing network amongst the same clientele: the training should only focus on the understanding of the services/products. For overseas recruitment, risk management is of the essence. Hence the importance of being supported by experts to recruit the right person.

How do you manage the person remotely?

  • The investment is not only financial (if so it would lead to a failure) but also a psychological and organizational one.
  • The key is to invest time to integrate this new employee and properly share information.
  • Rituals of communication are essentials: formalized points through a strict checklist thus conducting efficient discussions.

Why is it important to work with an executive search professional?

  • Experts know written and tacit rules to recruit efficiently in global and foreign local markets. (eg. Questions you can ask…questions you cannot ask, how to manage an employee from a distance, how much should we pay the employee?)
  • Bi-cultural experts are a plus as recruitments are highly biased by the cultural mindset.

About Olivier and Pact & Partners

Olivier is a multi-entrepreneur with a strong international experiencein Europe, MEA, USA, Australia, and Israel.

Pact Partners is a one-stop-shop for local and global recruitments, solely dedicated to Life Sciences. Within this industry, the company covers every sector while keeping track of innovative markets. With proven expertise since 1987, the track-record of appointments of the company covers the full spectrum of the organizational chart.