As a National Account Manager, your value is enhanced by your reputation in the marketplace and the strength of the business relationships that you have developed. FMCG businesses are always interested in your reputation and level of influence within their existing or target customer base.
Reputation and influence in the market require a significant amount of time to develop and demand ongoing personal investment. After all, it takes a long time to build and nurture relationships. Some of my recent dialogue with sales professionals in the Food sector suggests there comes a time when you have to consider how the reputation of your employer could inadvertently affecting your 'personal brand' too.
Everyone understands that it is a NAMs responsibility to manage the expectations of customers and act as the 'face' of the brand. But when unexpected product quality issues arise or project timelines are extended, it is often the NAM who feels the heat from buyers.
There is a feeling, amongst some National Account Managers I have spoken to, that when they had to 'carry the can' a little too often; they risked tying their own reputation too closely to that of their employer. And for some, this only became apparent when they were seeking a new opportunity elsewhere.
In other words, although you can be excellent at your job and be as dedicated as possible, those qualities could potentially be overshadowed by the market perception of your employer.
If you are regularly providing 'bad news' to your customers, especially with a lack of senior management intervention to assist with account management, it might be time to consider the impact this is having on your reputation too.
There is a lot that sales professionals with big company experience can add to emerging Health Food SMEs. Many companies want to add this type of professional to their business, yet it can be a struggle to hire them.
Generally speaking, there are two major hurdles to overcome.