As specialists in the FMCG Sales discipline, one of the most frequent questions we are asked by candidates is how to negotiate a move into the FMCG sales industry. FMCG is an exciting and ever-evolving space, attracting many candidates from the services industry and B2B backgrounds. It can be a challenge for clients to look ‘outside the box’ to candidates with non-FMCG backgrounds. With that in mind, we have put together the below tips and advice for job seekers.
One of the biggest challenges in making the move in to the FMCG industry in sales can be adapting to selling into different channels and different retailers with some particular nuances, processes and expectations. In the current macroeconomic environment, clients are looking for sales professionals who understand their key retail partners and in many cases have existing relationships with key influencers so as to minimize any risk of business interruption during personnel change over.
To be considered for roles where you do not currently have the specific channel selling experience, consider what transferable skills you do have. Managing multiple customers, exceeding high customer expectations, finely honed negotiation skills, working cross-functionally in your business and your customer’s business are all key transferable skills that can stand you in good stead within the FMCG Industry.
In addition to your transferable skills, clients will look to test your knowledge and passion for the FMCG industry. To keep up to date with the industry and changes, visit FMCG retailers frequently and look at them like a supplier would. Assess the share of shelf for certain brands, their placement on the shelf, catalogue representation, all the elements you would be influencing as an Account Manager or the like. Keep an eye out for FMCG publications, subscribe to the newsletters of relevant bodies (such as the AFGC) and keep on top of these to maintain up to date knowledge of the industry.
Finally, when searching for roles, consider a sideways step to make inroads into the FMCG sales industry. Territory Manager, Account Executive and Key Account Manager positions are examples of roles where client s are more open to considering candidates with non-FMCG backgrounds. These levels can be a great springboard to a successful longer term career in FMCG.