Head of Sales and Marketing (Partnership Development)

Challenge Partners

Employment Type Full time open to part time minimum 4 days per week
Location Hybrid · United Kingdom (multiple locations) Birmingham · Manchester · Newcastle upon Tyne · Leeds · London 2 days per week in office during term time
Salary £46,022 - £53,139 (GBP)
Team Partnership
Seniority Senior
  • Closing: 9:00am, 3rd Jun 2024 BST

Job Description

Head of Sales and Marketing (Partnership Development)

Challenge Partners is seeking a purpose-led sales leader to deliver a crucial strand of our ambitious strategy to benefit 500,000 pupils each year by 2027.

Salary: £46,022 to £53,139 full time equivalent 

Hours: Full or part time (minimum four days per week)

Location: Hybrid/London (office move within London due in June 2024), with minimum two days per week in the office during term time. We would consider reduced office days for a successful candidate based in one of our target regions across the north and midlands

Travel throughout England is a requirement of this role 

Contract: Permanent

Reporting to: CEO

Line Management: Partnership Development Manager and outsourced communications and digital marketing support

About Challenge Partners

Established by headteachers in 2011, Challenge Partners is an education charity with a mission to reduce educational inequality and improve the life chances of all children. We do this by delivering programmes and networks to boost school improvement, leadership development, and pupil progress. We are ambitious to grow by attracting more schools and trusts to join us, so that we can enhance the life chances of more children and young people.

Role mission

By leading our sales and marketing activity, you will deliver a crucial strand of our ambitious strategy to enhance and extend Challenge Partners to benefit 500,000 pupils each year by 2027. Reporting to the Chief Executive, your main objective will be to drive sales to increase the number of new schools and trusts joining Challenge Partners each year. You will also devise and lead marketing campaigns to build our brand and profile.

We are a small, but diverse and dynamic team. We expect everyone in the central team to get stuck in, so you will need to be comfortable both to set the strategy and ‘do the do’ in the functions you oversee, including personally delivering sales.

As a member of our Leadership Team, you will play an important role in steering the organisation and upholding our culture, and leading your team well. You will be a role model for our values at all times and meet the expectations described in ‘What does it take to be a good leader at CP?’. You will act as an ambassador for Challenge Partners in all that you do, and develop and harness a personal professional network to extend our reach and impact.

Key responsibilities

Reporting to the CEO, the Head of Sales and Marketing (Partnership Development) will have the following key areas of responsibility and be expected to undertake other responsibilities as requested, which are commensurate with the role:

Growing our partnership through leadership of sales (main responsibility)

  • Lead, develop and implement a sales strategy for Challenge Partners in line with our ambitious strategy. This should include accelerating growth in target regions.

  • Use and develop your sector networks and credibility to engage and inspire more schools and trusts to join Challenge Partners through presentations and personal interactions.

Building our brand and sales pipeline through leadership of marketing and communications

  • Lead the development and execution of our marketing strategy, assets and campaigns to build our brand and sales pipeline.

  • Be the ‘keeper’ of the Challenge Partners brand and house style for communications, producing and maintaining templates, core messaging etc that are easy for the team to use.

Monitoring and evaluation

  • Identify and track key sales and marketing metrics so we know whether we are on track, and take timely action as a result.

Strategic leadership and management (required of all members of Leadership Team)

  • Work collaboratively with others on the Leadership Team and the Board to contribute to the strategic leadership of Challenge Partners.

  • Act at all times as an ambassador for Challenge Partners and represent us at events.

  • Develop and maintain effective relationships with practitioners and stakeholders, ensuring that you and your team live being practitioner-led in all that you do.

  • Lead, manage and develop teams and staff you line manage directly or indirectly.

  • Take responsibility for budgets and provide support and challenge to budget managers in the areas you lead, ensuring that funds are deployed efficiently and effectively so that we are able to secure maximum positive impact, and that any significant variance is identified quickly to enable timely action.

  • Identify and manage risks in your business area, escalating appropriately, and contribute to the identification and management of organisational risks.

Team leadership and management (required of everyone with team and line management responsibilities)

  • Ensure that your team understands Challenge Partners’ mission, strategy and annual priorities and the role they play in this, supported by setting relevant team and individual objectives.

  • Provide high-quality and consistent line management to the sales and marketing team, including regular one-to-one meetings, back to work interviews, and performance reviews.

  • Identify opportunities for personal and professional development for your direct reports.

  • Provide accountability and support to direct reports to ensure excellent delivery across all Challenge Partner activities and meet key organisational priorities.

  • Foster a collaborative and high-performance culture within the team.

  • Provide coaching and mentorship to team members to help them reach their full potential. 

  • Performance manage the team, encouraging innovative ways of working to support Challenge Partners’ mission and strategy and to enable on-going professional development of the team.

Additional responsibilities for all roles at Challenge Partners

  • Promote the mission and values of Challenge Partners and uphold and promote our commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the value of lived experience.

  • Maintain high standards of Health, Safety and Welfare at work and take reasonable care for the health and safety of yourself and others.

  • Attend events and external meetings as required.

  • Travel throughout England with some overnight stays.

Person specification - essentials

Your prime responsibility will be delivering sales personally and through your team, so you will need to demonstrate a strong track record of selling to schools and trusts. You will understand the need to balance sound commercial techniques with approaches that are nuanced to the sensitivities of the education sector. 

As the sales and marketing expert in the organisation you will need to demonstrate the confidence and experience to design, execute and monitor impactful sales and marketing activities, including multi-channel digital marketing strategies.

You will have the personal credibility and understanding of the sector to win the confidence of school and trust leaders, and the tenacity to convert interest to sales.

You will be a strong and highly skilled communicator with excellent interpersonal skills and ability to develop and strengthen new and existing relationships.

You will be a confident public speaker, able to engage and inspire audiences of school and trust leaders.

You will have a close attention to detail that ensures our written communications and assets are of the highest quality.

You will have a track record of building, managing and developing high performing teams.

You will be a role model for our policies, culture and values at all times, and meet the expectations described in ‘What does it take to be a good leader at CP?’.

All employees at Challenge Partners will be subject to an enhanced DBS check as part of our commitment to safeguarding. 


It would be an advantage if you have established credibility and networks in one or more of our target regions (North West, North East, Yorkshire and Humber, West Midlands, East Midlands), but this is not essential.

It would be an advantage if you brought connections to professional bodies and/or colleagues leading sales and marketing in other organisations for inspiration and support. This is not essential as we can make connections through the Social Business Trust.



We work hard and with urgency, striving for excellence in all that we do. We put the needs of our schools first.


We treat each other/everyone fairly, with care and respect. We value, encourage, and celebrate diversity in all its forms. We are one team.

Courageous leadership

Everyone is a leader, encouraged and empowered to take ownership and responsibility for their contribution to our mission.


We expect the best of each other and support and challenge each other as critical friends.


We work purposefully together and in partnership with our schools to achieve more together than we could alone.


We use and generate research and innovation intelligently to continually improve the work we do.

What does it mean to be a leader at Challenge Partners?

Our ambition at CP is that all staff have opportunities to lead their defined areas of work and initiatives that contribute to the wider development and success of the organisation. Some staff also have formal leadership positions or responsibilities (for business areas and/or people) and this document seeks to describe some of the features of good leadership that are particularly relevant to them.

Development as a leader is a lifetime’s work and never complete. It takes humility, focused effort and a good deal of optimism. It isn’t easy and we all make many mistakes along the way. The trick is to celebrate what we’re good at and acknowledge and work on the things that don’t come as easily. Good leadership doesn’t happen by accident, it is intentionally developed and practised.

Good CP leaders…

  • Have willing followers - good CP leaders know that their power as a leader comes not from the position they hold, but from their personal skill in inspiring and influencing those around them. They do not expect respect, they earn it. They rarely “tell” colleagues what to do, but are skilful in encouraging and enabling them to do what needs to be done, giving them agency and their own opportunities to lead.

  • Hold the vision for their area of work and define and lead the strategy to achieve it - good CP leaders can describe and generate excitement about the vision for a piece of work, linking it to our mission, values and strategic objectives. They take time to secure buy-in from colleagues across the organisation to this vision, and can describe the practical steps to achieve it, and the contribution particular individuals and tasks will make.

  • Invest in relationships - people buy into people as much (if not more) than they buy into compelling visions. Good CP leaders take the time to build relationships, going beyond the transactional to understand their colleagues as individuals with unique motivators, aspirations, concerns and so on. They use this knowledge to adapt how they work to meet different colleague’s needs, and lead with humanity, humility and compassion. They also share themselves appropriately, allowing others to get to know them as a fellow human.

  • Encourage, enable and support the development of others - the best CP leaders identify and invest in the leaders of the future, thinking carefully about their development, empowering them in their roles, and identifying opportunities and providing support for their growth.

  • Put the needs of the organisation before their own - as a charity, we exist to serve schools and ultimately children. Everything we do needs to be evaluated against our charitable purpose, and our ambitions as individuals come second to that. This doesn’t mean martyring ourselves - we want CP to be a great place where people want to work, have excellent opportunities and support for their growth and wellbeing - but, particularly as leaders, we need to be able to take the step back that allows us to look dispassionately at what is in the best interest of the organisation, putting aside our personal preferences and desires.

  • Demonstrate the six Challenge Partners values in all that they do - as leaders we are constantly watched and must hold ourselves (as others will) to the highest standards of integrity and model the values we expect everyone in the organisation to demonstrate. We are honest when we make mistakes and humble in seeking and accepting feedback on our leadership, recognising that none of us will ever be perfect.

  • As a leadership team (whether the formal LT or as a wider group of leaders across the organisation), we work collaboratively and act collectively - this means that while we take ownership of our objectives and responsibility for our work, we rarely do it alone. We seek input and agreement from others, particularly in the early stages of setting the vision and at key decision points. We ask for help. When discussing each others’ work, we show respect and sensitivity, offering challenge as needed on the issues at hand, but never make this personal. Once we have decided something (whether by consensus or other means), we align behind that decision, whatever our personal view (“collective cabinet responsibility”).

Removing bias from the hiring process

Applications closed Mon 3rd Jun 2024


Removing bias from the hiring process

  • Your application will be anonymously reviewed by our hiring team to ensure fairness
  • You’ll need a CV/résumé, but it’ll only be considered if you score well on the anonymous review

Applications closed Mon 3rd Jun 2024