Staying Competitive in Low Wage Economies


To mobilize the sales team of a more than 100-year-old specialty chemicals company from a cohesion-oriented culture with a distributive "sales" approach to a proactive sales culture with a clear focus on target markets and emerging competitors. Further, to establish a new and continual focus on creating new solutions for the market and to develop new market niches.


Before our search process even started, we aligned the stakeholder around the defining elements of the company's culture, the full potential of its business strategy, and the change required to stimulate the sales approach and activities to raise the business results significantly.

Working closely with the company's CEO, we deployed our proprietary TRANSEARCH Orxestra™ Method to quickly profile the actual and future corporate culture and articulate the ideal "fit." We engaged the CEO in talks about business development and the industry landscape.

Our team defined five critical leadership competencies for the new CCO (Chief Commercial Officer). We also defined the scope, strategy and candidate evaluation criteria and contacted more than 50 prospective candidates. We also engaged an additional 78 referral sources and industry influencers to add real-time market intelligence and compensation data to our candidate evaluation process.


TRANSEARCH presented four world-class candidates who were all well-experienced in sales of specialty chemicals and who could help the company further develop its global footprint. According to the CEO, each of them was so highly qualified they could have justifiably become the company's new CCO.

In the next step, two candidates were introduced to the board and to the stakeholder. Both presented their first 100-days concepts of how they would restructure the sales organization to turn it from the distribution of chemicals to the desired proactive sales approach, given how new upcoming competitors in the vendor market quickly transformed it into a buyer's market. The concepts were detailed and included:

  • How to address new, potential customers
  • How to get the sales managers on the road
  • Focus on premium products with higher margins
  • Identification of new market niches (market pull)
  • Closer cooperation with R&D and patent management (technology push)
  • New service offerings around the product like Supply Chain Management for in-time delivery and flexible, demand-driven supply
  • Strengthening of the B2B marketing activities like value based pricing, competitor analysis, better understanding of regional market developments, etc.
  • New KPIs for the sales managers

In close cooperation with our TRANSEARCH team, the CEO made one candidate an offer which was accepted. After starting in the CCO role, the successful candidate turned these new, proactive sales concepts into a cohesive business strategy and developed an action plan he executed within just nine months.

Our TRANSEARCH consultants stayed in close contact with the client and the new CCO for the first 18 months of his tenure and provided key insights on how to overcome difficult challenges along each stage of the path toward transforming the company's sales capabilities. After 30 months, the CCO presented profitable double-digit revenue growth and our client's global market share grew from 20% to 26%.


Due to that significant and sustained success story, TRANSEARCH got so far the exclusive mandates to find two other new Board members, the Chief Technology Officer and Chief Operation Officer as well as the new global Head of Marketing.

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