If you’ve been keeping up with our series so far, the diversity of our client base shouldn’t come as a surprise. With such a varied client base, so many of our colleagues have worked in various areas of our business throughout their careers.
One such example is Jonathan Short, Client Service Manager for our PepsiCo Impulse team. He’s been in a few different roles throughout his 18-year career with us at McCurrach, and he was more than keen to share a few pearls of wisdom with us.
“I joined McCurrach as a graduate from Strathclyde University. Back then, I began my career as a Territory Manager for the PepsiCo Impulse team where I essentially sold Walkers crisps to stores out the back of a white van in the Glasgow area.
“After that I worked as a Territory Manager with PespiCo Grocery, and then onto a new role with the Nestlé Purina account team. Here I was part of a trial team that eventually got rolled out nationally. These three roles provided me with valuable selling experience in the impulse and grocery channels.
“After four years in the business, my next step was to move into an analyst role. It was here I developed my commercial and analytical skills. The role helped to provide knowledge and insight into everything from what was going on in the field to the performance numbers. My next big jump was to a Divisional Sales Manager role in the convenience channel. From there, I progressed further into the Client Service Manager’s role on the same contract, working closely with the client to ensure we were driving a good ROI for them.
“My next two moves were also in a Client Service Manager role, which led to me to my current role with the PepsiCo impulse team. I’ve now have eight years’ experience as Client Service Manager across a number of roles, and have predominantly worked in the convenience channel my entire career, giving me great insight into this industry and the changes and challenges it encounters.”
Jonathan has been part of some of our key campaigns over the past few years, but a couple in particular stood out for him.
“Working as the Territory Manager on the Nestlé Purina trial was a highlight for me because I was part of a successful trial which was rolled out nationally. I would also say that helping set up the Nestlé Purina Wholesale and Specialist team as the Client Service Manager was another highlight, because it’s drove value in those channels. Finally, I was part of the team that broke records for Heineken in 2017 by achieving the highest number of gold Star Retailers the company has ever seen, which was a great thing to be part of.
“It’s also really interesting that I’ve ended up back where I started in PepsiCo Impulse but in a more senior role. It goes to show that there are opportunities out there for you if you want to progress your career within McCurrach.”
Such achievements also reflect the things Jonathan enjoys most about working for McCurrach.
“I really enjoy working with clients to create clear strategies for field teams that will provide clear ROI and added value. I also like having the opportunity to work for huge international companies and integrating yourself into their business, understanding their values and ways of working. Because we work in a fast-paced environment, no two weeks are the same, which means that it’s always interesting, challenging and rewarding.”
With Jonathan pointing out how fast-paced FMCG is, it led to a moment of reflection on how much things have changed over the years.
“Technology & Data have been the biggest changes I’ve seen since I joined McCurrach. This applies to everything from working on paper and faxing your numbers into the office, to capturing, syncing and presenting data via tablets, using smart phones for instant insight, all the way through to Yammer and WhatsApp for day to day communications as a connected workforce and sharing best practise. Improvements in technology has allowed data to play a much more important role in field sales. When it comes to efficiently finding the biggest opportunities in store or driving the capability of our teams it’s a huge leap forward.”
This leads us to ask, how does he think the industry will change further in the next couple of years?
"I think we will continue to see technology driving industry changes, with photo tech and augmented reality playing bigger roles in driving more value-added time in stores. Data will allow us to continue to provide a more flexible service, which reflects our clients’ needs, whilst also providing them with the best value for money.”
With such a wide-ranging career at McCurrach, we felt it was only right that we asked Jonathan to share some tips on how other people can achieve a similar career progression as he has.
“Have a plan and continue to learn. Always seek to learn as much as possible about the next role you’re planning for and you will get there faster, don’t be scared to learn on the job as well and look to use any new skills learned regularly, especially presenting. The only way to gain better presentation skills is to do it regularly!”
At McCurrach we always keep our eye on the prize for our clients, our colleagues and our business as a whole. Jonathan echoes this ethos and we love his career advice on continual learning!