What’s it all about then?
As a sales representative you’ll not only play a vital role in increasing sales to existing customers but also securing new business for your company.
Most sales reps are given a specific territory or product range to sell and the company will be depending on you to achieve good profit margins, maximum sales and account growth.
What might I be doing?
You’ll be responsible for establishing, developing and managing relationships with customers and selling your range of products to them.
You’ll also research prospective customers and find out what they need that you can provide and who the key decision-makers are. After this, you will need to work out the best way to make contact and present your products and ideas in a professional manner that persuades them there’s mutual benefit in purchasing your company’s products on a regular, ongoing basis.
What will be expected of me?
You’ll be expected to know your customers inside-out both as businesses and as individuals. Sales people achieve most when they understand the business priorities of the firms they are trying to sell to and so are able to solve problems or meet needs that rivals haven’t spotted. You will probably prepare and maintain a customer relationship plan which assists your work.
As first point of contact with customers, you will be expected to resolve any issues that they have as a matter of urgency.
You’ll need to stay up to date with new products and developments, market changes and the activities of your competitors and this will mean effective internal liaison with your technical and marketing colleagues.
You’ll need to be a confident, resilient sort of person able to bounce back from any setbacks. Some potential customers will turn you down – but there’s always another around the corner that will make your day!
What can I expect?
You will be expected to work flexibly in order to meet customer appointments which could include evening or weekend work on top of the working day and you’ll definitely spend a lot of time on the road (in a company car) in order to cover as much ground as possible.
Many sales representatives are able to work from home if your company does not have a local base. You’ll need to be good at time management, articulate, personable, quick thinking, focussed and methodical.
What about the pay?
The pay will vary with experience but a starting salary of around £15,000 to £20,000 is the norm, plus the possibility of a target-related bonus payment.
However, this is sales. You can expect to earn a lot more than this if you do well in your job!
What qualifications do I need to get in?
There aren’t any set qualifications for this job generally but a sales representative for a food company will obviously benefit from having a food or related qualification or one related to marketing or business.
This is likely to be degree level as many employers will ask for this as a minimum.
What about further training?
Your company will provide you with training as required - however you might want consider taking vocational qualifications from professional bodies either via home study or at college.
You could also consider membership of organisations including:
- Institute of Sales and Marketing Management
- Marketing and Managing Sales Association
- The Chartered Institute of Marketing
Anything else I might need to know?
Yes, your job as a sales representative will give you invaluable experience in the area of customer relationship management and selling and will set you up for a fantastic career within the food sector.
Don’t forget that for a job like this you will definitely need a driving licence.