Sales & Category Management

General Description
This is an ideal career for visionary thinkers. Sales people are responsible for the organisation’s sales covering distribution to dealers, distributors, retailers and end user customers of the company’s range of products. You sell approved marketing strategies and ensure the sales organisation gains effective product distribution, then use short and longer term promotion strategies to maximise sales volume and profitability.

You can work in general sales or specialise in ether field sales, category management or key account management. This is largely dependent on the industry sector and the size of the organisation in which you work

Category management deals with the holistic approach to the category and includes product ranging, instore location, merchandising and promotion, pricing and self position It is an advanced instore sales methodology predominately used in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry.

Some describe it as a collaborative approach between retailer and competitive manufacturers to maximise the profitability of the category. They share detailed information about the category to the other and stand by the principal of the highest profit and volume products receive the greatest amount of promotional support, best self and off shelf position irrespective of who the supplier is.

Category management is also the link between sales and marketing, making sure the market delivers the right information to the marketing department and in turn ensure the marketing team deliver to the sales team a product that satisfies the marketplace.

Your work as a Category Manager involves a high level of analytical work and interpretation and there is the ongoing argument as to whether the position should report to Marketing or to Sales. This discipline is advanced in its application overseas but is still not fully adopted by both retailers and manufactures in Australia

What you do every day
You analyse market data and work closely with both the marketing team with input into new products, relaunched products or products facing deletion. You also work closely with the sales account managers to analyse and review the level if instore promotional activity examining its effectiveness and seeking ways to streamline for additional profitability.

You work with sales extends to formulation of product sales plans, pricing levels, account plans and promotional plans using a trade-off between sales volume and profitability. You are in a hybrid role one day acting as a marketer, the next as a key account manager.

Personality that best fits this career
Personalities that are extroverted, outgoing, talkative and enthusiastic with all types of people tend to be more successful in a sales career. You are also a visionary thinker. You live and die on your interpersonal skills, the ability to get on with others and be accepted quickly by them are also important. Your commercial acumen must be of a high standard.

need to be able to communicate verbally, in writing and formally in a persuasive manner, to mount a commercial justification that makes sense and is a win/win for both parties. You also need to be a quick thinker to overcome any resistance or obstacle management oppose your proposal. Your personal presentation and grooming must be of a high standard, often requiring a suit or tailored clothing. You need to be a problem solver, a team player, self starter, well organised and well planned.

Best thing about this career
The sheer range of accountabilities and responsibilities means that no two days are the same. Influencing customers through analysis of trends and patterns means you can actively see your work impacting on the businesses profitability. If you like problem solving, you’ll love this job.

Worst thing about this career
There is a lot of desk time in this role, and the constant stream of data to convert into insight can be daunting. Despite the accurate data being presented to you the consumer or customer doesn’t always respond to your findings, which can provide a great deal of frustration after hours of work. If you can’t multitask between statistics and being a polished presenter, this role may not be for you.

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