Are You Cut Out For The FMCG Sales Industry?

One of the biggest fears when it comes to switching careers is the unknown. 

If you’ve been in the same industry for a long time, it’s hard to tell if the skills you have are going to be transferable into a completely different role.

So, if you’re considering entering a role within the FMCG industry, we’ve summarised some of the skills that are required, and the main responsibilities you can expect to come across within an FMCG Sales role in particular, to help you figure out if it’s the right choice for you.

What is FMCG Sales all about?

As an FMCG Salesperson, your job will basically be to successfully sell your representative company’s products and services. You’re in charge of gaining new customers, as well as nurturing those existing accounts too.

The great thing about the FMCG industry is that you have a variety of areas to choose to specialise in. And the choice is up to you! It could be from beauty, to sports goods, to food and drink. So, if you’re passionate about a particular area of consumer goods, take advantage of that.

There are opportunities to work your way through local, regional and national capacities, alongside an average 18 months promotion time.

There’s clearly plenty of open doors to career progression, which is a big thing to be taking into consideration when switching roles – especially if you only want to do it once. However, progression is results based with Sales, so if your company isn’t seeing your results, you won’t be seeing your promotion.

What skillset does a Salesperson need?

Don’t be a slow coach

AKA, the ability to work in a fast paced environment.

If you’ve got previous experience working in a fast paced environment, you’ve already got an advantage going into FMCG Sales – I mean, it’s in the name, “fast moving consumer goods”. 

This also comes alongside adaptability, and being able to adapt to different situations and balance multiple responsibilities at one time.

Gift of the gab

What I’m referring to is an excellent level of sales and negotiation skills. Usually, this requires an individual to be a ‘people’ person, a reliable and trustworthy individual that companies will want to go into business with. 

If you don’t think your communication skills are strong enough, you might fall short in a Sales role. Also, if you don’t particularly like interacting with other people and developing relationships, you might as well stop reading now.

Brain like a sponge

Unfortunately if you have the memory of a goldfish, it’s going to be a bit of a struggle to carry out your role successfully…

As you’ll be specialising in a particular area of consumer goods, you’re going to be expected to learn the ins and outs of that industry, it’s products and markets – and actually remember that information. 

After all, any client you come across is expecting you to be a thought leader in what you’re selling, and if not it’s going to be pretty hard to convince them. It would be pretty embarrassing if you couldn’t confidently answer one of their questions, wouldn’t it?

Confidence working solo and ability to be a team player

Most people flourish the most in one or the other, so it takes a well rounded kind of person to be able to succeed both working by themselves and alongside other people.

Working solo requires confidence, self motivation and determination, whilst working within a team requires a person to be patient, understanding and accepting of others. 

So basically, you won’t do well on your own if you’re too shy, but you won’t do well in a team if you’re too arrogant. There’s a fine balance.

What kind of duties can you expect to perform?

According to a leader from an international FMCG brand, each client is different so the day-to-day work will vary depending on the client you’re working with.

But, let’s have a look at a general idea of what your day-to-day might look like, and the particular tasks you could be carrying out:

  • Arranging meetings with prospective and existing clients
  • General correspondence – phone calls, emails
  • Meeting personal and team sales targets
  • Making sales agreements on payments, deals and signing contracts
  • Promoting products/services
  • Making records of orders 

If you know what area you’re looking to specialise in, do some deeper research into the specific roles and responsibilities found there.

Want to hear more top tips? Looking to fill a role, or maybe you want to know more about careers at Vertex