After a brief hiatus from the immersion weeks before the Global Convention, we were back in the classroom for Sales week. The first day we learned the structure of the company’s sales function, which included descriptive presentations about each sales region and their customers (grocery stores and other channels). Since the majority of our customers are regional, we received insightful information about how different sales regions operate.
After a day of sales presentations, we took the classroom to warmer weather, visiting the field sales team in Tampa, Florida. Much of the team took time out of their busy week to greet us and teach us about their job responsibilities, which were not your stereotypical salesperson tasks. We learned about the important analytics used with customers and the teamwork required to fulfill our customers’ demands. After learning about the various cultures and differences between the regional customers our field team works with, we went into the field by conducting store walks with the sales team to learn about sales tactics and store fulfillment. This experience forever changed how I view the grocery shopping experience. The field sales team was very welcoming and even guided us towards the closest beach on our way back to the airport! The much anticipated trip to warm Florida was everything we hoped for and may have even convinced a few members of the cohort to reconsider their future career path.
We finished our week learning about foodservice sales and what makes it different. The competitive nature of the foodservice industry, which is anywhere you eat outside the home, makes strategy and implementation all the more important for our company’s success. We also participated in various taste tests, which could have easily replaced our lunch for the day. Salad dressing at 10 in the morning was certainly interesting!
This week enabled many of us to branch out of our comfort zone and learn about a function in which we’ve had little experience. While many of us will go into operations, finance, or food science, the beauty of this program is that we learn so many aspects of the business. Each of us has a deeper understanding of what sales means to our company, how much the sales team drives revenue, and how important customers and consumers are to our success. This week is the exact reason why each of us signed on for this unique opportunity, and we’ve been lucky enough to create lasting friendships along the way.