What do you think about when you hear someone say “I work in sales”? Del Boy? Cold-calling? Pushy negotiation?
All common misconceptions. And unfortunately, because of these misconceptions, sales roles are often overlooked by new graduates, like you, entering into the food & beverage space.
Unlike more specific fields such as marketing, finance or operations, sales jobs do not have such a clear route to entry. There are no university degrees specialising in sales and, frequently, graduates don’t actually know what a sales job entails.
The bottom line? Working as a salesperson can be much more dynamic and rewarding than sometimes first considered. More often than not, successful sales professionals are smart, organised, brave and ambitious – especially within high-growth food & beverage start-ups.
So, what are the misconceptions about sales roles in challenger brands? And what does a job in sales actually look like?
You will not be a wheeler dealer
We have already asked the question – what do you imagine when you think of a sales person. A wheeler dealer? A jack of all trades? So let’s rephrase the question. What qualities do you think are necessary to make a successful sales person? Confidence, strong relationship building, someone sociable, resilient, positive, energetic, an active listener.
You do not need to be perfect in all these right now, but they are vital skills to hone – and ones that will fair you well in all aspects of life.
You will be a critical part of the team
Field sales responsibilities can sound lonely and often you are not based daily in the office with your direct team. However, it is part and parcel of a sales role to have interactions with central business teams (think marketing, finance and product), directly with B2B (business-to-business) customers, and consumers.
With this in mind, a sales job will enable you to gain a holistic understanding of every faction of the business: from supply chain and NPD, to knowing all about the mission and ethos of the company.
You will not just sell the product
Unlike other industries, when you work in sales within the challenger brand space, you will be selling the brand mission rather than just the product itself.
You will need to know the origin story, their outlook on sustainability, their philosophy, their future plans rather than simply the information about the product range.
Remember it is not just a product you are selling, it is an innovation. If you believe in the brand, your passion will shine through and make your job so much easier.
You will not be knocking on the consumer’s door
Most of the job will focus on B2B selling. This means the job is highly focused on strategic thinking rather than knocking down every door trying to flog products.
Thinking carefully and creatively about which supplier fits the brand with the intention of building the brand in the most efficient way will be a huge part of the job spec.
If you have ambitions to work in a face-paced, dynamic environment – a sales position is a wonderful place to start. It is one of the most commercially minded positions within a startup and will offer you insight into every area of the company.
The YF Recruitment Team can help equip you with much more information about what a life in sales looks like within the FMCG world.
Reach out to our team today if you would like to chat further about graduate and junior positions within the FMCG industry.