What’s it all about then?
As a Sales Executive you’ll be the key interface between your company and its customers so you’ll offer advice, deal with issues and introduce them to new products.
You’ll also have a major role in capturing new customers and increasing sales to meet company business targets.
What might I be doing?
The main purpose of sales roles in the food and beverage industry is to build relationships with new clients and maintain and develop relationships with leading retailers. Sales jobs are usually target-based so ideal for anyone who is competitive and likes to win in a good way. You will also be confident, have good knowledge of different food and drink manufacturers and know everything about the product or service you are selling. For a more senior job, such as a Sales Manager or Commercial Manager, you’ll need well-established relationships with food industry client contacts probably gathered over a number of years.
Your work will probably include the following:
- Organising sales visits
- Demonstrating/presenting products
- Establishing new business
- Maintaining accurate records
- Attending trade exhibitions, conferences and meetings
- Reviewing sales performance
- Negotiating contracts
What will be expected of me?
You’ll need to be a confident, articulate and personable with a good knowledge of the food and drink manufacturing sector and you’ll be a competitive person who enjoys meeting and exceeding targets.
Of course you’ll also need an in depth knowledge of the products you’re selling.
What can I expect?
A Sales Executive job could well prove to be a fantastic opportunity to start off your career in the food manufacturing sector. In such a key customer-facing role, when you achieve your sales targets you will be extremely well thought of by your employer – and if done in the right way where there’s mutual benefit, usually highly regarded by your customers.
What about the pay?
This will vary with employer and may be partially bonus related, hence the need to be competitive and confident in nature.
You can expect to earn £15,000 to £20,000 as a starting salary, depending on your level of qualifications and any previous experience but your pay will probably have a target related bonus as well.
What qualifications do I need to get in?
Any degree subject is acceptable, although relevant qualifications are preferred for some positions, so in food having a qualification related to the sector would be beneficial.
Relevant experience gained in any commercial area involving contact with customers or the general public can be beneficial.
You could also take a short course in sales techniques which are readily-available through colleges and also private providers
What about further training?
Your employer is likely to ensure that you receive full technical training to suit your role and you can expect to receive further training throughout your career.
You might want consider taking qualifications from professional bodies either via home study or at college.
You could also consider membership of professional organisations that offer a range of professional development training opportunities and qualifications:
- Institute of Sales and Marketing Management
- Marketing and Managing Sales Association
- The Chartered Institute of Marketing
Remember that much of what you’ll need to learn to do the job well will be gained from on-the-job experience – good business between companies all revolves around good business between individuals so being able to form productive relationships is the real key to this role.
Anything else I might need to know?
Yes – the promotional prospects for high-performing sales executives tend to be exceptionally good - progression can be into senior sales roles or into related employment areas such as marketing or management.