'FMCG' - fast moving consumer goods - covers everything from toiletries and cosmetics to TV's and hi-fi's. Therefore, the choice and variety of FMCG sales jobs is also very wide.
You can work at every level from sales representative or executive right through to sales director.
So, what will I actually be doing?
As a sales representative or 'rep', it would be your job to sell your company's products or services. You would be responsible for finding and winning new customers, as well as looking after existing customer accounts.
You could specialise in one area of consumer goods, such as toiletries or sports goods. Depending on your market, your customers might be wholesalers, shops, businesses, manufacturers or individuals within your specific geographical area.
Your day-to-day tasks are likely to include:
- Keeping in contact with existing customers in person and by phone
- Making appointments with and meeting new customers
- Agreeing sales, prices, contracts and payments
- Meeting sales targets
- Promoting new products and any special deals
- Advising customers about delivery schedules and after-sales service
- Recording orders and sending details to the sales office
- Giving feedback on sales trends
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The nitty gritty
When not on the road, you could be based in a local or regional sales office, or you could work from home. Given the travelling, a driving licence is important.
You could work for a huge range of companies all over the UK. Jobs may be advertised in the local and national press, publications for a particular industry, in Jobcentre Plus and recruitment agencies.
With experience and a good track record, you could progress to a larger sales territory or more important accounts. You could also be promoted to sales team leader or area or national sales manager.
Changing sectors and employers is also a good tactic for career advancement, as FMCG sales skills are fairly transferable.
Money, money, money
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
- Basic starting salaries can be between £15,000 and £20,000 a year
- With experience this can rise to between £35,000 and £40,000
- Top salaries can reach £100,000 or more
Many companies offer a basic salary plus commission, although some FMCG sales reps earn commission only.
Job adverts usually show the potential total salary including commission, known as 'on-target earnings' or OTE.
Salaries may also include company car, petrol allowance and bonus schemes.
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The good points...
You may often choose your own working hours, as long as you meet sales targets.
...and the bad
However, your hours could be long and irregular, with a lot of travelling time, possibly abroad.
Is there study involved?
You'll need a good general education, but your sales skills and experience count for more than your formal qualifications.
If you're new to sales, you could take an introductory qualification such as the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management (ISMM) Level 2 Award in Basic Sales Skills or Level 2 Certificate in Sales and Marketing.
Alternatively, you could start as an administrator in a sales office. It also may help to have some previous experience in retailing or customer service.
You may be able to get into FMCG sales through an apprenticeship scheme. To find out more, visit www.apprenticeships.org.uk.
Most employers provide in-house training on their products, sales techniques and sales administration systems. You will also develop your general sales skills on the job.
Your training may include the chance to achieve work-based NVQs at levels 2, 3 and 4 in Sales.
You may also be able to gain qualifications from professional bodies such as the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management (ISMM), the Managing and Marketing Sales Association (MAMSA) or the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). Contact the relevant body for more details.
OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?
To succeed at FMCG sales, you'll need:
- Excellent sales and negotiation skills
Good communication and 'people skills'
- Confidence, motivation and determination
- The ability to work well on your own and also as part of a team
- Good organisational and time management skills
- The ability to deal with rejection
- Attention to detail
- The ability to develop in-depth knowledge about your products and markets
- Good business sense and a professional manner