A Day in the Life Of.. A Regional Sales Manager

AIFST spoke to Kris Ferguson, Regional Sales Manager, Food and Crop Protection, DSM Food Specialties

“I have a home office so on a day to day basis, you will find me answering emails or involved in teleconferences looking at business and strategic planning or distributor management. I travel around twice a month, visiting customers and government food legislators. I also present at conferences and at internal and external events.  My customers are producers in the food industry but predominantly Dairy Manufacturers.

I work in a small team – 10 people are based in Holland! I interact with DSM employees around the APAC region as well as distributors from 13 countries. It’s the interaction with people, especially customers from so many different places that I enjoy the most about my role.  I travel a lot, some of the northern hemisphere winters can be a challenge!

I find being a qualified Food Technologist adds to my role however more importantly, having a broad range of hands-on production, research and development plus quality assurance experience in the industry significantly helps me in my role.  It means I have an insight into understanding challenges a customer might be facing and what sort of solutions we can offer. It’s rewarding to be able to use my experiences to help customers solve their problems.

When I started out, food technology was a course that almost certainly guaranteed employment. I came from Wollongong – at the time an area with a shrinking industry – so food technology was an attractive proposition! I eventually moved into Sales and Marketing; this wasn’t really a career option offered when I qualified.  

I’d encourage anyone interested in this sort of role to learn another language – it will help! When I first started working, I was also told to change jobs or at least roles as much as possible in the first five years. While counter-intuitive from a job security perspective, I think it’s ideal for identifying your strengths and weaknesses. It worked for me!”