Job Title

Business Development Manager

Name:

Julia Lott

Company:

MBM Produce Ltd

Professional Qualification(s):

10 GCSE’s, 3 A levels, BSc (Hons) Food Science & Microbiology, CAM Foundation Certificate in Communication Studies

Degree studied at Nottingham University

Brief job description

My main responsibility is the provision and analysis of market data and information, and the identification of trends and opportunities, to give actionable insight to the business.My career so far…
Following a summer placement in the grocery buying department and their subsequent financial sponsorship of my final year’s study at university, I joined Sainsbury’s Supermarkets as a graduate trainee buyer in 1990. Of my nine years with Sainsbury’s, five were in the grocery buying departments, two were in marketing and two in produce buying.

After taking a career break and spending 8 months travelling, I joined MBM Produce Ltd as the Account Manager for the organic produce business. I have now been in my current role as Business Development Manager for a year and a half.

What does your job involve in a typical day?

As the UK’s leading supplier of fresh potatoes to the retail, processing, wholesale and foodservice sectors, we have customers in a number of very diverse markets. Understanding the consumers and consumer dynamics within the different sectors is vital for the future growth of our business. Different varieties of potatoes have very different uses e.g. Lady Rosetta is ideal for producing light, golden crisps but it is horrible when boiled and eaten as such; King Edwards produce deliciously light mashed potato but fall apart if used in a potato salad. Understanding our different customer’s markets and needs enables the business to develop and implement relevant marketing and promotional strategies, develop improved packaging fomats and concepts, focus the breeding of new varieties, plant the correct varieties in the required quantities, and identify potential new customers.

In order to understand the dynamics of the different markets, I am responsible for the buying in and assimilation of relevant market data from a number of different sources. Depending on the source, this data will arrive on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis and I will then analyse it before providing the account managers and other relevant personnel within the company, with the salient points in a readable and manageable format.

To develop and implement marketing strategies we may need to commission consumer research and external marketing agencies. To ensure that we get as detailed and relevant an end result as possible, I provide the necessary background information on the current consumer, market dynamics and general potato market. I am then involved in ensuring that the research is to brief, assimilating the findings, putting them into a relevant and presentable format, identifying opportunities and formulating strategies.

From the various analysis work and market research, potential new customers are sometimes identified. Particularly if there is a retail angle I am often charged with the task od approaching such customers to try and obtain a supply scenario. This is often easier said than done!

What do you like most about your job?

  • The diverse and ever changing nature and dynamics of the different markets that I provide information and insight into.
  • The buzz of identifying and securing a new account.
  • Helping to make the company our customers’ key supplier.

What skills are required in your job?

  • A clear understanding of the business and the needs of the individuals that work within it, together with an understanding of the end consumer.
  • The ability to analyse and draw conclusions from data.
  • Communication and influencing skills.
  • Presentation skills.
  • Conceptual skills.

How many people work for you?

None

What is your advice to people looking for a career in the food and grocery industry?

The industry is very diverse and the opportunities for personal development within it are endless. No matter what position you choose though, it is vital that you can focus on and understand the needs of both your customer – be it internal or external – and in turn, their customer.

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