Meet the grads handling multi-million pound budgets for P&G’s biggest brands straight out of uni
Mercedes racing, trips to Poland and a company-wide World Cup
For anyone who’s ever worked as a brand ambassador or sold club night tickets, making a sale is no easy task. Your Depop has likely enough never made you more than £20. So what’s it like when you’re selling for the biggest brands in the country, straight after graduation?
We spoke to the grads working for P&G, who are handing multi-million pound budgets from day one, to get the full low-down on why they chose a grad job in sales.
Valentina, Bath, International Management with German grad
What was it that made you want to go into sales?
I never thought about sales before this. My original plan was to go into marketing but I naturally really enjoy negotiating and presenting, and the idea of working with big retailers like Boots, Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s was awesome. It’s like managing your own business.
Which brands do you work with?
I work on Clearblue and Boots, so I now know way too much about pregnancy tests. It’s a smaller brand than others, but this means that I know everyone really well and exactly who to turn to. As soon as you get into the role, it’s your brand and your customer. As long as you have the research to back up what you’re saying, they’ll trust you with your decisions.
What’s your day-to-day?
There’s a lot of analysis involved – analysing promotional strategies and then selling new products to retailers. You’re managing your budget, working with marketing to create the best plan for your retailer, optimising online sales, and making sure your stores look presentable. It’s all about building the growth of your client’s business.
Have you gained a lot of transferable skills along the way?
Definitely – primarily being able to think on my feet and prepare my arguments and viewpoints, which just helps massively, not only at work but in my personal life.
Why do you think more graduates should go for this role?
I don’t know anywhere else where you learn this amount of stuff in your graduate role. Once you’ve learnt all you can from one project, you move to another. You never stay stagnant. The impact you get to have on the companies you work with is something you don’t get elsewhere.
Nathan, UWE, Business Management grad
How did you find the transition from uni to sales?
I actually started off-cycle from the rest of the grads. Most start in September, but I started in July. I hadn’t even graduated yet. Having done no internships or years out, it was a big change. However, you’re given support right away and there’s no fear of making mistakes at the start.
How does the stereotype of working in sales measure up to the reality?
With sales, there’s this Wolf of Wall Street stereotype – as if your manager doesn’t care about you at all, but it’s just not like that at all here. Previous work experience I’ve been in can be quite cutthroat, but here it’s all about working together. Whether it’s understanding a system in the business or needing help with a client, I can ask people from any department and they’ll be more than happy to help me.
What brands do you work with?
So I’m currently the Pampers account manager for Waitrose, which is a really fun brand to work with. I’m 21, I don’t have kids, and now I’m a nappy expert. You learn so much about the way brands work and the way our values are delivered to the customer. It’s extremely collaborative – we’re just trying to achieve the best result for everyone.
What’s the culture like?
It’s extremely social. The ability to socialise is a must in sales – you can have all technical know-how, but the key is being able to build trust with your clients. I went on a two-day trip to Brighton with my team, where we played volleyball and did a fancy dress night out. It just felt like being back at uni.
What are the perks of working for P&G as a company?
They really do promote doing things outside of work – they’ve got a gym in the office, a chill-out area if you need a change of scenery, five-a-side football on Tuesdays, and we even got to do the Crystal Maze recently.
You can also travel and move department – the person that used to manage the Waitrose account I’m currently on moved out to France with P&G. The company do their best to work with you on your career progression and help you build your experience. You’re continually given the stepping stones.
Sophie, Cardiff, English Language and Communication grad
What was it about sales that drew you in as a career?
Approaching graduation, I knew I wanted to work around people, and to not be trapped in an office not talking to anyone. I’d worked in retail during uni and really enjoyed it because I was working with products and people day to day. Sales seemed to be the obvious next step.
How did you find the adjustment from uni to this?
At P&G, when they say you get a lot of responsibility from day one, they really mean it. You’re managing projects worth millions at grad level. However, you never feel lost – we have a New Beginnings programme and Sales College, both of which give you a full insight into the business and how it operates.
Also, I was anxious that I was coming into a sales grad role as an English grad. However, I’ve learnt that it doesn’t matter what degree you’ve done, if you have the right mindset, you can succeed here.
What was the first brand you got to work with?
I got to work with One Stop first – as they’re a smaller business, I was helping them grow and develop their sales. I also worked on the account for Pampers Baby Wipes, managing their business. We’re working with products that affect the country on a massive scale, so it’s exciting to be a part of that.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
I’d say winning a deal. I’m quite competitive, and when you land something, someone is always there to tell you’ve done a good job. P&G is definitely a place where you get recognised and rewarded for your work.
What are the most memorable moments you’ve had since working for P&G?
Definitely the team-bonding activities. I remember in our first week, we were taken to the Mercedes racecourse, and we were all given a drive with a professional driver. We also have yearly competitions, like touch rugby and the P&G World Cup, where a bunch of P&G grads from all over the world meet in Poland to play each other at football. It’s a huge tradition for the company and it was amazing to meet grads in the same company from different countries.
How do you manage your time in this role?
I’m someone that needs flexibility in my schedule – I’m invested in a lot of stuff outside of work, including competitive ballroom dancing which requires a lot of training and competing at the weekends. Luckily, P&G have this thing called flexi-time at work which means, providing that you make up the hours, you can leave when you need to.
It’s a massive part of the culture here – to give grads the chance to switch off. I never feel overloaded or that my tasks are unmanageable.