Hiring: Local Food Sales Associate – Food Connects
Local Food Sales Associate
Salaried Full Time, 40 hours per week
Start Date: Flexible, ideally prior to April 1
If you’re interested in the position or have any questions, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re applying for the position, please include your cover letter and resume as attachments.
Food Connects is a dynamic and growing nonprofit organization based in Brattleboro, VT that delivers locally produced food as well as educational and consulting services aimed at transforming local food systems. Founded in 2013, Food Connects (FC) is a catalyst for food systems change by connecting the next generation with their food, local farmers with new markets, and school chefs with local food.
The Food Connects Food Hub delivers source-identified local food from over 60 farms and value-added producers to over 130 wholesale customers located in Vermont, Western New Hampshire, and Western Massachusetts. Currently, we offer up to four weekly deliveries and conduct sales through our online platform. The Food Hub is experiencing rapid growth, 40% over the past year, and will be expanding our operations, infrastructure, and delivery schedule over the coming year.
Food Connects is looking for a passionate, experienced Sales Associate to guide food hub sales through an exciting and dynamic growth period and support Food Connects’ vision to provide innovative and transformative solutions to New England’s local food system.
The Local Food Sales Associate (LFSA) is responsible for growing Food Connects Food Hub sales. The LFSA coordinates the Food Hub weekly sales cycles and aims to spend a large portion of each week on the road visiting existing customers to build relationships and promote purchasing of local products, as well as developing new customer leads to drive FC’s expansion goals.
The LFSA aims to provide Food Hub customers with industry-beating, exceptional service. This requires excellent communication skills, both written and verbal: in person, over the phone, email, and text. Responsibilities include collection and compilation of twice-weekly orders, following up with customers regarding product satisfaction, and pursuing upsell opportunities to the benefit of both customer and producer. The LFSA must develop and maintain knowledge of all Food Hub products and be able to assess and tailor products to specific customers and customer types. This includes understanding the differing needs and purchasing requirements for schools, institutions, hospitals, retail outlets, restaurants, and more.
The LFSA works with the Food Hub team to continuously evolve and develop sales strategies and plans throughout the changing seasons. This includes promotions on seasonal crops, integrating the Harvest of the Month program into sales strategy, prioritizing product sales flow based on current inventory, and promoting new products and producers. Sales plans are developed in coordination with the Food Hub General Manager (FHGM), Operations Manager (FHOM), and Communications Manager (FCCM). Sales planning meetings will also include setting sales goals and reporting and reviewing ongoing and prior goals and promotions.
The LFSA maintains and updates detailed notes on customer sales progress, personnel changes, and feedback. To manage this, the LFSA must have consistently exceptional organizational skills, record-keeping skills, and attention to detail. The LFSA will ideally have experience in using customer relationship management (CRM) software.
The LFSA is based at the Food Connects office in Brattleboro, VT but will involve regular travel for sales calls, mostly within a 50-mile radius. Additional travel may be required as Food Connects grows its customer base.
- The LFSA will work closely with the Executive Director, Food Hub General Manager, Operations Manager, and Communications Manager.
- The LFSA will participate, as needed, in decision making on business development and the direction of the food hub as a whole.
- All Food Hub employees ultimately report to the Food Hub General Manager.
- This position is full-time, exempt salaried.
- Schedule has some flexibility, but general availability required on weekdays approximately 9AM-5PM. Some federal holidays, that fall on Mondays, will require at least part-time work. Holiday hours will be compensated at a later date. Adequate advance notice will be provided.
- The LFSA will be mostly free to set their own 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 calls.
- Ensures the accurate and timely compilation of Food Hub orders on a twice-weekly basis for submission to our producers.
- Provides order reports to the FH operations team and ensures clarity in ongoing supply needs based on projected sales.
- Promotes growth of local food deliveries by enhancing existing relationships with customers and developing new relationships with potential customers.
- Coordinates with producers and customers on promotions and helping to organize in-store demonstrations.
- Maintains positive relationships and communications between producers and customers.
- Accurately tracks and communicates mileage, hours, and other relevant travel information.
- Assists FCCM in development of regular marketing and promotional materials.
- Maintains database of customer notes and developments in a clear, concise and consistent fashion.
- Coordinates with FH operations team regarding inventory management and product samples.
- Supports the food hub’s general operations needs when required.
- Previous sales experience, preferably outside sales and/or local food sales.
- Strong knowledge of veggies, fruits, dairy, meats, value-added products and other locally-produced foods.
- 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.
- Interest in and ability to adapt to changes in evolving business, be creative, and jump in where needed to optimize operations.
- Cheerful, professional presence.
- General technical skills with common workplace tools such as: G-suite, Excel, Slack, Asana, and customer relationship management software (CRM).
- Ability to learn and incorporate new tools and technology into work plan.
- Reliable private vehicle. Mileage tracked and reimbursed at the federal rate. The LFSA will have access to a FC company vehicle for sales trips, but availability is not always guaranteed.
- Valid driver’s license.
- Reliable cell phone. Monthly cell phone reimbursement is rolled into salary.
- At least 3 professional references.
- Existing relationships with/knowledge of food producers in SE VT, SW NH, and Western Mass.
- General knowledge of the sustainable food and agriculture sector.
- General knowledge of purchasing regulations for schools, institutions, and restaurants.
- Experience in small business management and/or business development, especially in the food sector.
- Familiarity with the geographical area of our delivery services (Windham County, VT; Windsor County, VT; Upper Valley, VT + NH; Cheshire County, NH; Western Massachusetts).
- Experience with E-commerce and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for food sales and distribution.
- Experience driving diesel box/reefer trucks.
- Experience operating a pallet jack and forklift.
- Knowledge of food safety regulations.
- ServSafe Certified.
- Ability to lift and move product (cases up to 50 lbs) throughout the workday.
- Ability to drive continuously for a full workday.
- Ability to work in various weather conditions.
- Compensation: Multiple options available.
- Option 1: Salaried starting at $38,000 per year, negotiable depending on experience.
- Option 2: Base salary with sales-based commission, to be negotiated, and beginning after an introductory period.
Please send cover letter and resume to Alex at email@example.com. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.