‘A New Career in Drinks Field Sales’
Do you work in hospitality? Do you fancy hopping over that bar and becoming a Salesperson or a Brand Ambassador?
At JME Drinks Consultancy, each of our Field Sales team walk through at least ten bar doors every day. I’d say in at least a third of those bars we are asked by the bar team “how did you get into field sales?” It’s a great question to ask us, since all of our sales team at JME started out in hospitality. Honestly, it’s a bit of a rite of passage in our opinion!
So, what is the best route to forging a new career in drinks field sales? Here are a few of our top tips when considering that new challenge:
- Create a list of brands you’d love to work with and write down why. Delve into the brand story, the products, their marketing campaigns, the values they stand for and the culture they portray. This will ensure you’re focused on applying to brands who you feel passionate about and, would love to sell.
- Ask one of your friendly drinks reps for a chat to understand their career journey. Everyone at JME is always happy to chat. It’s a great idea to hear other people’s stories, success, and challenges.
- Create a list of transferable skills which are applicable to both running a bar – and selling to a bar. I bet you have lots!
- Update your CV to talk up each of these strength areas within each of your previous role descriptions.
At JME we are always keen to hear from people who are looking to ‘hop over the bar’ and consider a field sales role in the drinks industry. At JME we are delighted to offer training and coaching on the job, around a clear personal development plan.
Jenny Mary Elliott founder of JME commented “When I am hiring for our Field Sales team, we actively look for people with a hospitality background. They understand what works (and what doesn’t) in a bar. We only ever want to add value to our customers, so having that level of understanding and empathy is key”
We asked a few people who have ‘hopped over the bar’ in recent years.
“What was your biggest challenge moving from hospitality into a field sales role for the first time?”
Ian Melville – Portfolio Director, Base Spirits Collective:
“One of the biggest challenges is confidence – it can be daunting making the move. In Field Sales organisation is key, but in hospitality you managed rotas, budgeted staffing levels, created menus, controlled stock levels, negotiated with reps on commercials – these are all transferable skills”
Scarlet Fawn – Business Development Mgr. Della Vite:
“I’d say in the beginning it was managing my own time. You don’t get to clock in and out like a bar or service job, but you still have to get the work done. It’s important to be disciplined and stay focused. Planning my days in advance helped me to do this!”
Zoe – Brand Ambassador Sly Dog Rum:
“The biggest challenge was changing my mindset. In hospitality, results are instantaneous, people enjoy their experience (or don’t) and you usually find out about it straight away. Field sales can often mean you’re playing the long game, seeing venues repeatedly before they agree to a listing, then working with them over months to drive sales and see results. It can sometimes be difficult feeling like there is no progress.
But I always find when I have a week like that – the next week comes good – and several successes fall into place!”
If you are working in hospitality and you’d like to chat about pursuing a role in Field Sales in the drinks industry, drop JME a message and let’s chat. Team JME cover all major cities and are always on the lookout for fresh sales talent. We can set up a call to discuss what roles we have available, and to help you get ready. We offer training and ongoing development to all team members and will support you to succeed in Field Sales.