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What Does a Commercial Manager Do?

By D. Nelson
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Commercial managers are high level professionals responsible for overseeing many different facets of a large company. In most cases, this kind of professional participates in managing risk, overseeing employee performance, negotiating contracts, and planning individual projects. Commercial managers tend to be individuals who have had years upon years of experience in a particular industry and who have demonstrated proficiency in a number of different skills. An individual who becomes a commercial manager often has exceptional communication and leadership skills.

Financial planning often is a primary function of commercial managers. A commercial manager might meet with financial managers and managerial accountants to set budgets and develop financial plans. He or she might communicate company needs to financial strategists and market researchers; in turn, they gather necessary data and perform analysis.

Contract negotiation is another important function of a commercial manager. He or she keeps track of contracts for suppliers and service providers and makes sure that all terms of contracts are followed. When a commercial manager is unhappy with services, he or she might communicate problems with managers from supplier companies and reach agreements that are beneficial to both parties.

A commercial manager must be familiar with markets related to the interests of his or her company. This kind of professional often is found in multinational companies that have business interests in a number of different countries. Commercial managers use market analysis to determine how best to sell a company's products or services in new markets and in markets where a company already has an established customer base.

Risk management also is a common function of a commercial manager. When creating financial or marketing strategies, he or she attempts to generate the highest profits while exposing a company to the most minimal degree of risk. In most cases, he or she presents findings to executives who make the final decisions regarding a company's actions.

Commercial managers engage in employee management. They participate in recruiting individuals to higher level positions. While human resources professionals might be responsible for filling entry level positions, commercial managers look for individuals who can fills roles such as financial strategist and project manager. Commercial managers might also be responsible for promoting promising employees. Training is another common function of commercial managers.

A commercial manager commonly has a support staff that he or she counts on to perform basic communication tasks. For example, staff members might send emails to colleagues and take telephone calls from clients. Staff might also prepare documents that a manager needs to make informed decisions.

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Discussion Comments

By Ana1234 — On Mar 11, 2013

I guess there probably isn't really a way to skip lower positions and just become a commercial manager right away? I feel like I've got the right skill set. I'm organized and good with people and finances. Depending on the company, I could probably deal with most of the duties of this kind of position, but I think most places are looking for people with lots of experience.

By clintflint — On Mar 10, 2013

@Iluviaporos - I think most of the time the commercial manager is competent, and most of the time the businesses don't go out of business (depending on your demographic, of course. New companies will have a much lower success rate than established companies, but that's got little to do with the commercial manager).

The thing is, we only hear about it when there is something wrong. If a big company is doing well, we don't hear it on the news and we don't give the commercial manager, or anyone else in charge of the employees or the risk management, a second thought.

We only hear about them when something goes wrong, which completely skews our expectations for people in these positions.

By lluviaporos — On Mar 09, 2013

We all like to hope that the people who get put in this position are long time employees with exemplary records who know what they are doing, but it seems like all too often the opposite is true. I guess it comes down to how well the person in question can doctor their resume, because I feel like sometimes people get hired without any backgrounds checks at all.

A commercial manager has a lot of responsibility and a lot of power over a company. Many companies that have been run into the ground were being overseen by corrupt or incompetent commercial managers. It's the kind of position that demands people with strong moral fiber to fill it, because so many livelihoods depend on it.

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