Sales & Marketing
Sales and Marketing professionals are the life force of any food and beverage business; the commercial face that represents the brand every day in the market. A quality candidate in such a role needs to have solid market understanding and excellent connections in their assigned category or region. Alternatively, international appointments are made in order to bring in a required skill set or for a fresh set of eyes and ideas for the business. Focus Management International can help secure both types of candidate.
Marketers are the creators of the conversation that consumers have with the brand and as such it is essential that marketing professionals understand the complex and changing dynamic of their market. Passion, creativity and technical understanding are all essential qualities of a successful marketer. From Junior Brand Executives to Director level appointments, it is essential that these qualities are discussed and evaluated with potential new hires, which is where FMI can help add value to recruitment processes.
Without these two internal skills sets a brand will struggle to penetrate the market.
Focus Management International’s Sales & Marketing team, headed up by Senior Consultant Daisy Dupree is able to help attract this top level of candidate for both MNC’s and SME’s in the Middle East, Northern Africa and beyond. And because we exclusively focus on the Food & Beverage and FMCG industries, Consultants can benchmark these candidates against each other and do so every day.
Below are some examples of the projects Daisy and her team have successfully completed for Clients in the previous 12 months:
National Category Manager, Dairy, Saudi Arabia
- A European manufacturer of dairy products including cheese, milk and butter was facing difficulties finding a strong Category Manager in Saudi to manage a large sales, marketing and distribution team. It wanted an Arabic speaking candidate who knew the market but also expected the high level of quality that the European head office work to. Experience within the dairy industry across all categories was essential.
- Focus Management International started by compiling a long market map of the relevant people within Saudi and the wider GCC that could have the skill set for the role. Many of the 85 candidates identified were known to FMI in the market and came from our up to date internal database. From there the list was narrowed by strict criteria and interviews were arranged and executed.
- The Client now has a National Category Manager who was based in Kuwait at the time of hire but had previously worked in the dairy industry in Saudi and wanted to move back to the Kingdom. He excelled at interview and has made a huge impact in his first 12 months in the business, increasing profitability by 6%.
Middle Eastern Marketing Manager, Food Franchise, UAE
- A longstanding UK client of Focus Management connected with the UAE Focus Management International office to hire for its team in the Middle East. In order to expand the business it needed a commercially rounded Marketing Manager who could work with franchise partners across multiple countries to adapt and implement the global marketing strategy.
- The team at FMI felt that a person with both European and Middle East market experience was needed for the role. Ideally the candidate would have worked for a large conglomerate in the region previously so could take the experience they had and apply it to this growing business. Strong digital acumen was tested at interview stage along with the candidate’s understanding of working with Arabic copy and copywriters.
- The journey to finding the candidate was not an easy one and benchmarking some exceptional talent in the region to find the successful candidate was a partnership that tested both the client and FMI. The successful candidate in the past 12 months has taken the brand into three new markets and hired a small team under them; due to the business growth they have helped to create some exciting brand activation projects.
Territory Sales Manager, QSR / Food Service, UAE
- A well respected brand in the UAE and wider Middle East, which already has accounts with many large QSR and foodservice businesses wanted to take on a new sales manager to continue the growth that it had experienced over the last 10 years. It was essential that the successful candidate was already a star and could bring with them accounts in both first tier and second tier categories.
- The client wanted a high performing passive candidate and due to senior level external relationships in the business a number of competitors were off limits to the FMI search. The solution was to not only speak with commercial professionals, but to the Supply Chain and Purchasing professionals in the market as well as R&D professionals to understand who they knew and respected in order to find the top 2% of professionals to share with FMI’s client.
- Attracting a successful management level candidate, not active in the market into a new business is a challenge and means that from the first contact the client’s brand must be represented in the right way. This is the service that FMI provided for the client and as such successfully placed an exceptionally strong candidate into the role, who in her first four months with the business succeeded in bring a 2 million AED a month annual contract into the portfolio.
Sales Manager, Food Service, Dubai & Northern Emirates
- A UAE distributor of high quality chocolate, truffles and European sweets was struggling to find a candidate who understood the level of quality expected by Chefs in the region and how to communicate with them. It needed a candidate who was passionate about the range and understood the level of trust needed from a Chef to purchase products from a new supplier; especially within the 5* hotel market.
- Focus Management International felt that it was imperative for the candidate either to be a Chef or Chocolatier previously and to have worked on the production and innovation side of the business before having moved into a commercial role. This would mean that the candidate would be able to able to speak to the Chefs in their own language and build close relationships, thus expanding the brand.
- Focus Management International sourced a candidate from mainland European via its seven affiliated partners via the IFRA Alliance. We ran background checks and interviews on both the candidate’s commercial acumen and their industry knowledge. The candidate has now been in the role for over nine months and is growing the brand in the region for a very happy line manager.
Retail Sales Manager, Food Manufacturing, Kuwait
- A local manufacturer of fruit juice and fruit snack products with a distribution and sales network throughout the Middle East needed to hire a strong Sales Manager to look at both modern and traditional trade routes in Kuwait. The Company wanted to expand its presence in unconventional trade channels including gas stations and within corporate canteens. The client came to FMI late in the process after more generalist recruiters had not managed to identify talent.
- Kuwait is a small market and because of the close knit network, the client requirements were already known by many in the market, as were the difficulties the business was facing. It was therefore imperative that the role be handled with sensitivity and that the candidates approached at this late stage were spoken to about the benefits of the company and role in a honest, clear but positive way.
- The candidate hired for the role has quickly been successful. He was approached by two agencies about the role but had declined before FMI spoke to him. When his Consultant listened to his reservations and was able to address them with the detailed knowledge about the company and role he became very excited and subsequently a very happy employee. The client in return was delighted to get the level of talent it needed to push the brand forward and achieve further commercial success.