Food Hub Outside Sales Specialist

Website Food Connects

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Position Title: Food Hub Outside Sales Specialist

Supervisor: Business Development Manager

Employee Status: Full-Time, Non-Exempt, Hourly

We value diversity in all of its forms and strive to have our employment practices reflect that. As such, we are an equal opportunity workplace and will not discriminate on the basis of disability or other legally protected categories. If an employee has a disability that makes it difficult to perform their job duties, they are encouraged to notify us to engage in a discussion about reasonable accommodations.

About Food Connects
Food Connects is a dynamic and quickly growing nonprofit organization based in Brattleboro, VT that delivers regionally produced food and educational and consulting services aimed at transforming regional food systems. Founded in 2013, Food Connects (FC) is a catalyst for food systems change by connecting the next generation with their food, regional farmers with new markets, and school chefs with regional food.

The Food Connects Food Hub delivers source-identified, regional food from over 125 farms and value-added vendors to over 280 wholesale customers in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Western Massachusetts. Currently, we have vehicles on the road for pickups and deliveries 5 days per week. The Food Hub is experiencing rapid growth and will expand operations, infrastructure, and delivery schedule over the coming year.

Position Summary
The Food Hub Outside Sales Specialist (FHOSS) is responsible for growing Food Connects Food Hub sales. The FHOSS helps coordinate the Food Hub weekly sales cycles and aims to spend  20-50% of each week on the road visiting existing customers to build relationships, promote purchasing of regional & local products, and develop new customer leads in support of FC’s expansion goals.

The FHOSS works with the Food Hub Business Development Team to continuously evolve and develop seasonal sales strategies and plans, including prioritizing product sales flow based on current inventory, promoting new products and vendors, and promotions on seasonal crops.

The FHOSS will work closely with the Business Development Team, Operations Manager and Marketing Team. They participate, as needed, in decision-making on business development and the direction of the food hub as a whole. The FHOSS reports to the Business Development Manager.

Core Competencies
Customer Orientation: The ability to demonstrate concern for satisfying one’s external and/or internal customers.
Initiative: Identifying what needs to be done and doing it before being asked or before the situation requires it.
Results Orientation: The ability to focus on the desired result of one’s own or one’s unit’s work, setting challenging goals, focusing effort on the goals, and meeting or exceeding them.
Thoroughness: Ensuring that one’s own and others’ work and information are complete and accurate; carefully preparing for meetings and presentations; following up with others to ensure that agreements and commitments have been fulfilled.
Task Management: Can prioritize tasks and work toward their completion through tracking details and progress and, when needed, toggling between different projects or assignments.
Balancing Team and Individual Needs: Ability to work cohesively within a team environment while independently managing one’s own duties and responsibilities.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities
Customer Engagement Responsibilities
Helps coordinate the bi-weekly Sales Cycle.
Promotes sales growth by enhancing existing relationships with customers and developing new relationships with potential customers.  Through these relationships, this role will understand the varied needs of our diverse customer base.
Spends 1-3 days per week on the road visiting new, existing, and potential customers to build relationships, promote products, and gather feedback.
Participates in “ride-alongs” with vendors to promote their products to new, existing, and potential customers.
Provides prompt conflict resolution to customers, issues credits and alerts sales and operations of issues as needed. Resolves order issues in such a way that benefits both FC and the customers.
Coordinates with vendors and customers on promotions and helps to organize in-store promotions and demonstrations.
Assists the Marketing Team in developing regular marketing and promotional materials.
Collaborates with FHISS to respond to new customer inquiries.

Sales Strategy Responsibilities
Leads specialty cheese sales strategy, with a focus on cheese export to food hub partners.
Coordinates closely with Business Development Team to scout and vet new products and vendors for the Food Connects catalog.
Develops sales plans, strategies and monthly promos in collaboration with Business Development Team
Identifies target customers and markets, as well as products and categories.
Reports on progress toward sales goals and offers constructive feedback and support to sales team in achieving their own goals.
Maintains database of customer notes and developments in a clear, concise and consistent fashion.
Maintains up to date knowledge regarding current marketplace trends and regional & local seasonal availability.

Additional Responsibilities
Collaborates with the FH Director and the Business Development Team to recruit, hire, and train new team members, as needed.
Maintains positive relationships and communications between vendors and customers.
Accurately tracks and communicates mileage, hours, and other relevant travel information.
Attend regular one-on-one check-ins with supervisor to seek and provide proactive and constructive feedback for mutual improvement and the general betterment of the Food Hub.
Engage in annual self-review.
Participate in annual peer-review processes for employees as required.
Fill in for other staff when needed.
Assist with training new employees, as needed.
Occasional paid off-hours meetings and events (with plenty of advance notice).
Other duties as needed to assist Food Connects in fulfilling its mission.

Working Conditions & Physical Demands
Food Connects will make reasonable accommodations to enable individuals to perform the essential functions of their work to the degree we can do so.

In general, the position is expected to work a 40-hour week, with work hours falling between Monday-Friday, 7:00 am-5:00 pm. The Sales Team will stagger times to ensure full coverage during standard business hours. The schedule may look like:

Monday: 7:30AM-3:30PM
Tues: 8:00AM-4:30PM
Weds: 8:00AM-4:00PM
Thurs: 8:00AM-4:30PM
Fri: 8:00AM-3:00PM
The position has flexibility in setting their communication expectations with customers, but as the sales rep for a varied set of customers, they may feel the need to field occasional evening/weekend call.

Work Conditions:
This position is based in the Food Connects Food Hub facility in Brattleboro, VT.
This position will require in-office work at least 1 day/week, with remote work an option for the remaining days.
Occasional paid off-hours responsibilities, meetings, and events (with plenty of advance notice).
Some federal holidays (those that fall on Mondays), may require at least part-time work. Adequate advance notice will be provided.
The Sales Associate will be expected to spend 20-50% of their time in travel, visiting customer accounts.

Physical Demands
This position entails extensive use of a laptop computer, sitting or standing at a desk workstation.
Ability to drive continuously for a full workday.
Ability to drive in various weather conditions.

Required Qualifications
1 to 2 years’ experience in one or more of the following types of roles. Some professional experience in the food industry strongly preferred.
-General administration
-Project management
-Other applicable lived experience
Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal: in person, over the phone, email, text.
Excellent customer service skills.
Strong organizational skills and natural proclivity for keeping detailed records.
Enthusiastic ability to work in a dynamic, fast-paced environment.
Comfortable with change and growth in an evolving business, creative problem solver and ability to jump in where needed to optimize operations.
Cheerful, professional presence.
Strong knowledge of veggies, fruits, dairy, meats, value-added products and other locally-produced foods.
Strong technical skills with computers, spreadsheets, emails, and digital business management tools such as: G-suite, Excel, Slack, Asana, and customer relationship management (CRM) software.
Ability to learn and incorporate new tools and technology into work plan.
Reliable cell phone.
Reliable transportation for getting to headquarters in Brattleboro, VT.
Valid driver’s license and reliable vehicle.
-Food Connects offers a company-owned vehicle that can be used for some, but not all, road sales.
-Mileage is paid out at a set rate for all work-related travel driven in personal vehicles.
At least 3 professional references.

Preferred Qualifications
Existing relationships with/knowledge of food producers and retailers in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Western MA.
General knowledge of the sustainable food and agriculture sector.
Strong data analysis / business intelligence skills.
Experience in small business management and/or business development, especially in the food sector.
Familiarity with the geographical area of our delivery services (Vermont, New Hampshire, and Western Massachusetts).
Experience with E-commerce and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for food sales and distribution.
Knowledge of food safety regulations.
ServSafe Certified.

This is a full-time, non-exempt position, expected 40 hour/week.
Hourly, beginning at $22.00 per hour. Negotiable depending on experience.
The following benefits are offered after a 90-day introductory period:
-Paid time off: vacation, sick, personal, and holiday leave
-Short-term disability insurance
-Life insurance
-Access to vision and dental insurance
-15% employee discount on food purchases.
-2% employer retirement contribution, no employee contribution required.

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