Commercial Managers in the digital age: keys to success

Published: 22 Aug 2019 Average Rating: unrated Print

Author: Tim Cummins

At its heart, commercial management is about grasping the big picture, seeing connections, developing practical solutions. On one level - the availability of information - the digital age is streamlining and simplifying the commercial manager's role. On many others, it is potentially making it more complicated, or at least very different from the past.

What are the issues?

A recent book put it like this: “Complex trends in globalization, demographic shifts, and new technologies are raising urgent challenges for managers on an everyday level. Because of the number of companies undergoing digital transformation, managers need to navigate an intense speed-to-market landscape while juggling virtual teams within and sometimes outside their organization“.

And this means ….

Commercial managers must not only identify the risks and challenges from this fast-moving environment, but also – and this is critical – innovate, offer creative solutions. Fundamental questions in a digital world are how to innovate, develop new ideas; how to influence and gain insight from both physical and virtual teams; how to communicate and drive change across extended ecosystems. In themselves, the questions are not new. It is the scale and speed that makes things different.

Keys to success

A growing volume of research points to the critical role of communication style and 'managing your network'. High performing commercial managers unite teams around a clear and shared sense of purpose – not just what they are trying to achieve, but why. They generate an environment where ideas and positive challenge are welcomed and where collaboration is understood, expected and achieved. They are comfortable operating across extended networks, internal and external, both to gather information and achieve results.

At the same time as the digital world imposes these demands, its effective use also makes it possible. Today, there is no excuse for being information deprived; there is no excuse for failing to establish connected networks; there is no excuse for failing to master diverse communication techniques; there is no excuse for lacking self-awareness and influencing skills. These are simply critical attributes for a Commercial Manager.

Communication – the final barrier

Finally, what about communication style and content? As recent conference delegates know, this is an area where IACCM has been doing a lot of research. Working with academics at UC Irvine, we have examined a large number of 'commercial' personnel – lawyers, contract and procurement managers. Many are not today exhibiting the critical communication style required to be a commercial leader or influencer. Rather than projecting themselves as enablers, they are seen as 'preventers' – safeguarding what we already have, rather than enabling opportunities for the future.

Not everyone wants to be a Commercial Manager, but for those who do it is critical that they understand and grasp the implications and needs of working in the digital age. A good place to start is in shifting personal and team image by challenging and, where necessary, changing what and how we communicate.

IACCM offers its members tools to analyze current communication style and provides methods to establish the new approaches needed for individual and functional growth.


Related Discussions

Please sign in or register to post on this forum

OneSpan North America Inc.
2015-03-03 13:27:55

Employment Agency Recommendation?

Hello - I was wondering if anyone is or has worked with a employment agency/headhunter that they would be willing to recommend. My company was recently sold and I w...
Replies: 2

KEO International Consultants
2020-05-26 13:02:59

Negotiation effectiveness

What are the fundamentals and effective tools to be taken into consideration before negotiation meetings. Please share negotiation cases initiated from both parties. I...
Replies: 1

2019-06-13 06:49:19

Procurement and Purchasing

Hi all, Can we have a clear explanation for the differences between the terms of Procurement and Purchasing, and also the right position of the Supply Chain, is it a p...
Replies: 4

General Electric
2019-02-11 10:18:29

Does a Contract/Commercial Manager require a Law Degree?

Hello All, I have been working as a Commercial Manager for 6.5 years, responsible preparation and negotiation commercial contracts for high value complex transactions(...
Replies: 6
2018-06-25 17:01:56

Benefits for a CCM to report to the CEO instead of the CFO

Dear all, I have the opportunity now to negotiate internally my direct report to the CEO of the company instead of the CFO who is currently my direct manager. My dot...
Replies: 3

Allianz Technology
2017-06-06 07:06:35

Performance of Contract Management

I'm curious to get inputs about the performance assessment of contract management. While other roles have defined metrics (for instance, procurement roles can be meas...
Replies: 3
2016-07-11 02:02:35

disadvantages of Pass-through Cost

Can anyone tell me the disadvantages of having more than 50-60% Pass-through Cost when a company is executing a ERP implementation project and is acting as system inte...
Replies: 3
2015-01-27 10:15:01

What is Your Agenda or Contention with Contract Management

The above bullet points are currently a source of contention in the corporate office. The problem is that those that do not have a day-to-day touch point do not under...
Older entries »
Replies: 4