A fast Moving Consumer Good or FMCG company is one which produces consumable goods having a limited shelf life. These goods range from food products like noodles, coffee etc. soaps and detergents. FMCG companies produce products that are consumable in nature and therefore they need a lot of consumer information and their knowledge. FMCG companies generally have a variety of brands across different product categories to cater to different consumer segments. FMCG industry in India is a growing industry which sometimes get affected by broaded macroeconomic factors but mostly the demand remains stable as consumers need these basic FMCG products. The industry has a high competitive rivalry with many international players and some domestic players. There are also many unorganised players in this industry who mostly cater to the rural market. An FMCG company has to deal with a number of sections starting with the R&D section, manufacturing and operations section, finance section, marketing section and lastly the sales section.
This sector is affected by monsoons and inflation. Bad monsoons and inflation reduce demand for FMCG products whereas good monsoons and inflation increase the demand for the products. With the lowering inflation rates and easing of interest rates, positive direction on government policy, the sector seeks to grow. The dual blow of demonetisation and GST, although affected the FMCG sector, the effects of that are becoming diminished somewhat and we are looking at a recovery of the sector.
FMCG can broadly be categorized into three segments which are:
• Household items as soaps, detergents, household accessories, etc,
• Personal care items as shampoos, toothpaste, shaving products, etc and finally
• Food and Beverages as snacks, processed foods, tea, coffee, edible oils, soft drinks etc.
Global leaders in the FMCG segment are Nestlé, ITC, Hindustan Unilever Limited, Reckitt Benckiser, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Carlsberg, Kleenex, General Mills, Pepsi, Gillette etc.
Responsibilities of an Area Sales Manager (ASM)
Before we see the responsibilities of an Area Sales Manager, let us see the structure of a FMCG company and the various roles in it.
Nestle has a well defined and well established sales network. The company follows the same network in almost all the markets where he operates in. The national sales manager heads the entire sales network and the sales team in a particular national market. The company has well defined regions earmarked that segment the market based on geographical divisions. Such areas are referred to as zones and the company has another person as the zonal head or the zonal manager who reports to the national manager. Each zone is again subdivided into a number of areas which are under the control of regional managers who report to the respective zonal managers. The regional manager has a number of managers who look after different aspects of sales in the region. While the regional manager divides still smaller segments of the market based on geographical locations and are placed under the area sales managers. The area sales manager is responsible for the actual sale of the products through a host of other employees like the territory in charge of sales, the sales associates and the direct sale representatives. On the other hand, the regional managers also look after other aspects of sales like customers service, systems support and event management through another network of managers. This wide network of sale of the company helps in creating a very wide reach for the company so that most of the 2000 plus brands of the company reach the consumers. There is also a network where the company ties up with distributors who are supplied with the products. The channel, down the line of distributors, is not directly controlled by the company and hence is not included in the company structure of sales of Nestle.
he national manager has the over al role of creating the market and sales strategy for the entire country. Nestle national manager functions in two ways. While some managers create a single strategy for the entire country and follows the strategy throughout the country, other s formulate sales and marketing strategies according to regions and keeping in mind the regional wants, tastes and needs.
The zonal sales managers assist the national manager in creating the national sales strategy by providing various inputs about the market and the related market intelligence to form the strategy. Information flows from below as the zonal managers are assisted in the work of collecting information and intelligence by the regional sales managers. The roles and responsibility of the regional sales managers is two-fold. They take part in the strategy formation for sales in of the company and they are also the ones who are directly responsible for executing the company sales strategy o the ground. The area managers posted under the regional managers are the real hands and legs for the company. They along with territory managers, sales assistants and the direct sale representatives interact with the distributors to assess demand and ensure supply of the products.The regional managers actually go into the field and co-ordinate and talk with the distributors and other clients. They are the ones who push for sale sand implement various sales promotion strategies. The other assistive divisions of the sales department help in maintaining customer relations, organize and execute promotional events and help maintain a record of inventory
Now, coming to the sales section, the Area Sales Manager (ASM) is one of the most important positions in the sales hierarchy of an organization. The main job of an Area Sales Manager (ASM) is to plan, strategize and implement the sales programs in a particular region. He or She also organizes a team of highly competent individuals who does the field work. An organization has a number of them managing the sales in their respective regions and each report to the Executive Directors of Sales in the organization. So, any change in the sales numbers, either positive or negative, in a particular region, is the result of the strategies and planning made by the Area Sales Manager (ASM).
Now, coming back to the main responsibilities of the Area Sales Manager (ASM), developing a sales plan is the fundamental job of an ASM. It is ASM’s job to set a target for the salespersons, organizing them, and implement the strategies devised to increase the revenues. ASMs need to constantly analyse the market, the consumption capacity of the consumers and project the expected return. Any immediate problem regarding sales needs to be addressed by the ASM. Surveying the market in order to understand a competitor’s activity is also a duty of the ASM. ASM needs to collaborate with the marketing section of the organization in order to look for innovative means to influence consumers and improve sales. The distributors and consumers need to be made aware of any new product being brought to the market and the ASM plays a very important role in it. All the administrative decision regarding sales in a region needs to be taken by Area Sales Manager (ASM). The average salary for an Area Sales Manager (ASM) is RS 573,767 according to payscale.com. People with more than 20 years of experience in the field of sales marketing move on to other jobs that pay better. Through promotions, area sales manager can become regional managers, zonal heads and national sales head. Most CEOs in FMCG companies come from these backgrounds. The organisation structure may vary from one company to another but this is more or less the career graph of an area sales manager. The benefit of being an area sales manager is that they are very close to the actual markets and they know exactly what the trends in the market. They are very close to the action and therefore have a lot of insights that are useful for the company. They are very valuable for any FMCG company and hence there is a lot of demand for them. Area sales manager can easily switch companies which either comes with a pay hike or/and a promotion.
The qualities that companies look for in area sales manager in an FMCG company are
- Good communication skills
- Ability to manage teams
- Strong interpersonal skills
- Ability to meet targets
- Problem solving skills
If some can interact with people and manage people very well, then they are very suitable for such a profile.
Assessment for the ‘Right’ Sales Manager
|Communication Skills||English – Mid|
|Ability to Manage Teams||Team Management (SJT*)- High|
Agreeableness (Personality**) – Mid|
Extraversion (Personality) – Mid
|Ability to meet targets||
Planning & Organizing (SJT) – Mid|
Emotional Stability (Personality) – Mid to High
Conscientiousness (Personality) – High
|Problem solving skills||
Problem Solving (SJT) – Mid|
Logical Ability – Mid
So, in a nutshell, we can say that an Area Sales Manager (ASM) plays a pivotal role in an organization. He or she needs to be a good manager, organizer, and a leader. Good analytical skills and quick decision-making abilities are the most basic requirements for becoming a successful Area Sales Manager.
If you are interested in an area sales manager position in a company, check out the jobs offered in this by searching for area sales manager in the search bar. If you liked the article, let us know in the comment section and you can call us at our 24/7 helpline number if you have any queries regarding career, career roles etc.
If you want to know whether joining an FMCG company after completing an MBA is a good move, you can refer to the article here.