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Commercial Manager At British Council

Date Posted: 09/Aug/2019
Deadline: 25/Aug/2019

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. We do this by making a positive contribution to the UK and the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.

We work with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year we reach over 20 million people face-to-face and more than 500 million people online, via broadcasts and publications. Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body.

Commercial Manager (Exams)

Role Type: BD, Opportunity & Pursuit
Pay Band: Pay band 7
Duration: Indefinite
Reports to: Director, Exams

Role Purpose

  • The purpose of this role is to develop the 2-3-year Large Country Commercial plan, drawing together Regional targets, market insights and market intelligence to agree priorities and focus with Country Business Development and input into the 3-5-year Regional Commercial Strategy.
  • This role is ultimately responsible for overseeing Demand Planning for the country, assessing and monitoring quality of pipeline fill, commercial viability, sales forecasting and capacity fill.
  • The role also ensures the development/tailoring of solutions/value propositions to meet market needs in conjunction with Country Operations Manager and Regional Commercial Manager.
  • Co-ordinates support for the development of large-scale tenders and manages contract governance, where applicable. Handles venue negotiation and pricing in country.       

Geopolitical/SBU/Function overview

  • The English and Examinations Strategic Business Unit (E&E) is one of three strategic business units in the British Council (the others being Arts and Education & Society) all of which have the remit to build trust for the people of the UK by building relationships through aspects of our language and culture.
  • E&E achieves this by enabling people across the world to access the life-changing education and work opportunities that are created by learning English or gaining valuable UK qualifications.
  • Promoting the English language also provides a medium for communication, helping break down barriers of misunderstanding or mistrust between cultures.
  • The British Council’s 2020 vision for English & Examinations is to be the world authority in high quality English language teaching, learning and assessment, as well as the International distributor of choice for UK professional and school qualifications.
  • The Examinations business makes a significant contribution to British Council financial sustainability, and as such, it is essential that the business evolves in order to maintain its position in a fast-changing operating context.
  • There is a need to standardise and automate activities across the globe to deliver efficiencies, and there is also a requirement to develop new digital products and services to meet changing customer demands and competitive pressures.
  • In a cost and resource-constrained environment, balancing the on-going requirements and allocation of funds will be critical, as will the integration and planning of the implementation of the different changes across a global network of 110+ countries charged with the on-going delivery of impact and income whilst changing key elements of the supporting operational platform.

Main opportunities/challenges for this role:       

  • Working in a new discipline across a complex business, working with the Country Operations Team, Country Head of Business Development and Regional Commercial Development Manager to set up commercial and demand planning processes, new ways of working,
  • Harnessing insightful market data on specific segment /opportunities
  • Managing pipeline and performance reporting
  • Adapting to shifting conditions in the commercial environment in the cluster
  • Handling in-country commercial negotiations with external venues for exam delivery
  • Support business planning under upcoming new Status and Tax regulations for Nigeria

Main Accountabilities
Commercial planning:

  • Develops Country BD & Sales Strategy cross product/segment
  • Works with Country Team and Regional Commercial Development Manager on detailed Commercial Plan, undertakes regular quality checks, provides feedback and implements plans and targets for products/services relative to Market need with Commercial Development Manager as primary focus is business pursuit.
  • Supports Director Exams in Exams business plan country actions to meet (monthly, quarterly, annual) agreed targets.
  • Contributes to the development and delivery of customised, local business development initiatives
  • Pull together the Commercial picture, short lists opportunities and validate, monitor & report on pipeline plan and performance.
  • Put in place contract governance that aligns with Global requirements, assess commercial feasibility and review exceptions.
  • Define the physical footprint strategy (what, to whom, where at what cost) with input from BD/Exams leads, Marketing and Head of Operations
  • Put in place right technical support and contract management for large scale tenders working with Regional Commercial Manager (when applicable)
  • Monitor and make recommendations for pricing strategy. Monitor economic environment and FX changes. Provide data and insight to global client and pricing teams. Work with local finance team on analysis
  • Develop and support venue strategy and management. Provide technical support to Operations Planning team.

Market & customer intelligence:

  • Pulls together and provides Customer and Market intelligence to identify opportunities and works to prioritise lead generation
  • Assesses and develops footprint strategy (what/where/when/who) and handover to Head of Operations
  • Keeps updated and has extensive knowledge of the market from both a supply and demand perspective.

Winning business:

  • Analyses clients’ needs and tailors value propositions with expert support where needed. Input into Global Innovation and Business Development strategies working with Regional Commercial Manager
  • Advises and enables country commercial to pursue key commercial activities and removes obstacles. Highlights any issues of non-compliance
  • Develops tangible income generating plans and opportunity shortlists based on market intelligence and Marketing Insights/Analytics.
  • Assesses commercial feasibility and Contract governance up to certain level including contract approval escalation with input from Finance on Cost modelling
  • Develops proposals and large scale tenders drawing from Regional Commercial Development Manager
  • Put in place the Global Demand Planning framework in Country & embeds consistent, effective Demand Planning practices integrated with Operations and adjacent supporting functions;
  • Oversees capacity fill and requirements to increase Demand

Account & stakeholder management:

  • Business Pursuit, RO influencing, networking and key account relationships plan and delivery agreed with Country Lead and with CD/BC colleagues on shared opportunities
  • Identifies and shares examples of process/procedural best practice with colleagues in the country/region to drive continuous improvement in key account management and stakeholders.

Analysis & Reporting:

  • Undertakes Commercial and demand reporting to the Region
  • Provides B2B/Sales forecast at cluster level, actively manages pipeline and drives demand in year and for the following year.
  • Builds effective working relationships, and a range of information-gathering techniques, to maintain a full and current understanding of product/programme/sector developments and priorities.

Leadership & management:

  • Motivates and encourages team performance.
  • Plans and prioritises country's operational activities, and supports team development towards effective business development.
  • Manage day to day performance of team, dealing with sickness, discipline, motivation etc., to ensure high quality service delivery is maintained at all times (tbc on direct reports)
  • Shares intelligence and ideas with Country Exams lead and Regional colleagues

Key Relationships

  • Exams Operational Teams, Business Development Managers
  • Head of Business Development, Director Exams, Country Director and Senior Leadership Team
  • Regional Commercial Manager
  • Customer Services
  • Finance
  • Exams Regional Management Team
  • Other Nigeria SBUs
  • Country/Regional/Global Marketing
  • Global Exams Product teams
  • Status and Tax Project Team


  • Country and Regional (B2B/C/G) partners, agencies, receiving organisations (RO’s),regulators and key partners in BC tests

Role Requirements
Threshold requirements - Assessment stage       

  • Passport requirements/ Right to work in country: You must have existing rights to live and work where role is based.
  • Ability to work in the region without restrictions: Shortlisting       
  • Direct contact or managing staff working with children?: No: N/a

Person Specification: Assessment stage
Minimum / essential - Desirable - Assessment Stage:

  • Commercial and Financial Planning experience and experience working in a relevant field
  • Degree in any subject or relevant qualification
  • Shortlisting

Role Specific Knowledge & Experience
Minimum / essential - Desirable - Assessment Stage:

  • Significant experience of conducting demand planning processes and pipeline management.

Experience of: 
Business Development:

  • Contract management and developing bids, costing and pricing for large scale opportunities
  • Market research and horizon scanning of sector
  • Working with regulatory bodies and building and maintaining stakeholder relationships
  • Demonstrated analytical ability and commercial acumen
  • Experience in exams setting (or services related field)
  • Experience in contract negotiation
  • Shortlisting

Role Specific Skills (if any)- Assessment Stage:

  • N/A
  • Shortlisting AND Interview

British Council Core Skills - Assessment Stage:

  • Communicating and influencing (level 3). Is creative and adaptable in communications
  • Able to use a range of non-standard and creative approaches to inform, and persuade others, extending beyond logical argument to influence decisions and actions in a way which is inclusive and engaging.
  • Managing projects (level 3). Leads smaller projects
  • Analyses requirements with the sponsor/stakeholders, defining the specification with awareness of equality and diversity impact, planning, revising, implementing and evaluating on small-to-medium scale and/or low risk projects
  • Finance and resource management (level 3) Supports budget management Monitors and controls an agreed budget within a defined area, producing reports and analyses and contributing to planning.
  • Commercial and business development (level 3) Develops viable business
  • Defines and develops products/programmes/services which deliver British Council goals on impact, income and surplus within a defined area of business that responds to market opportunities and aligns to wider corporate strategies.
  • Account and partnership management (level 3) Builds account teams
  • Identifies and deploys teams of British Council staff whose attributes match the stakeholder/ customer/partner’s needs, and adapting proposals to accommodate the needs of the other party.

British Council Behaviours: Assessment Stage

  • Creating shared purpose (more demanding):
  • Creating energy and clarity so that people want to work purposefully together
  • Connecting with others (more demanding):
  • Actively appreciating the needs and concerns of myself and others
  • Working together (more demanding):
  • Ensuring that others benefit as well as me
  • Being accountable (more demanding):
  • Putting the needs of the team or British Council ahead of my own - Interview.

Method of Application

Click here to download Job Details (Pdf)

Click here to download BC Behaviour (pdf)

Click here to download BC Core Skills (pdf)

Note/Important Information

  • You should only fill out the application after thoroughly reading through the entire Role Profile & Guidance Notes.
  • As this is a business critical role, applicants that do not include examples that meet minimum requirements will not be shortlisted.
  • Details of any mobility package provided (if applicant is eligible) - International mobility package:
    • If you are currently on a UK contract you will receive the UK home–based mobility package (IMP).
    • If you are currently employed on a country contract other than a UK contract, you will also receive a mobility package if moving to another country. The details of the mobility package and where it is paid will depend on a number of factors including your current home country and the new country location you are intending to move to – it may be that you remain on your current home country contract or transfer to a host county contract.
    • All mobility packages will include accommodation, education for children (if the posting allows accompanying families) and transfer assistance.
    • No mobility package is paid:
      • if you are returning or moving to your home location nor
      • if you are not currently on a mobility package and you are changing to a new role within the same country nor
      • if you are moving to the UK .

Method of Application

Interested and qualified? Click the Apply now button to send your application

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