Degree and university: Chemistry and management, 2.1, Manchester UMIST
Job title: Graduate trainee, technical sales specialists – pharmaceutical, Johnson Diversey
Why did you want to work for Johnson Diversey?
I was looking for a job that would give me the exposure to gain experience in lots of areas of the business and that offered clear opportunities for career progression. I applied for a number of different jobs where my chemistry background would be an asset – The Johnson Diversey graduate scheme was a perfect match. Johnson Diversey is a chemical manufacturer that supplies hygiene solutions to a vast array of industries, from hotels and hospitals to food and pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities. We manufacture a huge range of chemical cleaning products and market a wide selection of household brands in the industrial market including Persil, Dove, Mr Muscle and Comfort.
What do you do in your job?
The major focus of my job for the first year was to develop Johnson Diversey’s presence in the NHS as a supplier of specialist cleaning products for in–house pharmaceutical manufacturing units, a huge market that offered large potential to the pharmaceutical sector of the company. The role meant winning business and setting up accounts in NHS hospitals across the UK. It was a case of finding contacts, building relationships and a basis of people in the industry. Also, I managed a number of cosmetic and pharmaceutical accounts throughout the country, growing them and monitoring that everything was running smoothly at site level.
What do you like most about your job?
The best feature of a sales role is the buzz when you win a new account. I like the freedom to manage my time and choose where I go each week. I plan all my time myself – apart from when I need to respond to a customer. A great feature is that you see the results you’re attaining and keep track of what you’ve achieved. The sales teams are the foundations of the company, and it is great to see what effect my job has on the company.
What is the most challenging aspect of the job?
As with any sales job the hardest challenge is getting appointments to see people. This has been tricky at times, but it’s a hurdle you have to overcome. People’s time is stretched in most companies, but on the whole it’s in their best interests to see you.
My sales role has provided a good basis to build my career upon; I have developed a strong understanding of the company and our customers’ needs. I am now progressing into a marketing role, which will see me looking after the product range that I was selling; my experiences and knowledge gained in the sales role will be a valuable resource in my new role.
Advice for readers considering a career in your field?
To succeed, you need to be highly motivated and results driven. It helps to have a keen interest in your chosen field as enthusiasm makes selling much easier. I would recommend anybody considering a sales career to gain work experience in that field and to arrange to shadow someone for a couple of days to gain a better understanding of the job. I took a year in industry as part of my degree, working in a marketing team for a multinational company.