How fmcg sales job interviews can be cracked,newbies guide

You should start with why its called FMCG? What are example of fmcg products? What are the product characterstics ?

Fast moving consumer goods are the products which have high usage frequency, are perishable after the shelf life, have limited shelf life (upto two years max).

FMCG industry has good consumer demand so it has higher competition too. There are Indian, MNC, Regional local players operating in each category. All fmcg companies want to place the products in the same retail outlet.

Space is limited in the store, to get space each company give schems to retailer, hire visibility space. Companies build reltion with retailers in market through field sales team.


Fmcg products are sold through different channels – general trade, modern trade, E commerce, CSD, Alternate channels, chemist. Each channel has different trade terms, different service pattern.

Fmcg products are consumer products, these are marketed mostly with the objective of reaching out to masses. Generally TV is used for that along with print, digital, outdoor.

Supply chain plays very important role as fmcg products are in high demand so product availability is key. Robust production planning & supply chain are key to success.


 FMCG Sales Interview Questions for ASM and BDE/SO.

 The essentials of sales interviews for ASMs and BDEs. These pointers are based on the 50+ interviews taken over the  years and  discussions with fellow Sales Managers and RSMs.

 Questions in 5 categories and  concepts for further reading for preparing  to interviews.

Let’s dive straight into these categories:


Distributor Operations:

ROIs calculations and how to maintain/improve
 PJP Planning and Adherence
 Claim Management
 Market Outstanding
 Understanding the tech part(DMS & SFA)

 People Management

 How do you grow the careers of your team?
 How do you maximize incentive earning?
 Performance analysis and action plan
Case study questions/Hypothetical situations
PSR/ISR management, motivation


 Distribution Fundamentals

 Numeric and Weighted Distribution
 Driving Effective Coverage(ECO) and Productivity
Nielsen Fundamentals(Market share/SAH/STR)
Market share deep-dive(How to increase)
Range selling
Merchandising + Visibility basics


How do you plan your month?
 How do you plan your day?
 How do you decide on the focus brand for distribution?
 How do you plan local activations/schemes?
 Planning for Key accounts/Top stores – Bottom-up construct

Sales Manager in Trade-Fair-and-fmcg-Brand-Marketing

 Reporting & Analysis

 Review Mechanism – Gate meeting and Evening review
 MRM(Monthly review meeting) and QRM construct
 KPIs planning and analysis
 How well do you work with reporting tools?
 Presentation skills

 Include personal questions like ‘Tell me something about yourself’ and ‘Strengths and weaknesses’.

Here are some good questions you can ask FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) companies:

Can you provide an overview of the company’s history and current market conditions?


How is the company different from its competitors in the market?

Can you discuss the company’s product portfolio and new product launches?

Can you provide information on target customer demographics and market segmentation strategies?


How does the company ensure the quality and protection of its products?

Can you tell us about distribution network and enterprise software?

How does the company approach support and corporate relations?

Can you provide an overview of the company’s financial performance and future growth plans?

How does the company stay on top of industry trends and changing customer preferences?


Can you discuss any notable partnerships, collaborations, or company acquisitions that have occurred in recent years?

Why do you want to work in sales?

How comfortable are you with data analysis?

What do you think are the necessary skills and qualifications for success here?

Why do you want to be a sales manager?

What do you think motivates reps the most?

What made you successful as a sales rep? How will your processes inform how you manage your team?


How important is money to you?

What do you think makes for a successful rep coaching session?

What do you like and dislike about the sales process?

How comfortable are you with technology?

What training method is most effective for new reps?


What do you think it takes to be a good leader?

What does a good manager need to do within this organization?

How would you explain what [company name] does to a person unfamiliar with what we do?

FMCG Sales Interview Questions For Retail Segment


 What is a retail outlet?

Outlet that sells to the end consumer is generally a retail outlet. It may be a standalone store or a group of stores generally with about 100-200 sq ft area. A typical retail store in India has an owner sitting with 2-3 shopboys

Wholesale outlets sell to smaller outlets through the discounting model based on higher ticket purchases. The landscape is similar to the retail outlet with slightly bigger outlets and more stock in hand


Retailer Master classification parameters

Retailer Channel:

Channels are the mediums through which stock reaches the end consumers. In most companies, there are two major channels. Direct and Indirect. The direct channel has Retail and Modern Trade as a sub-channel while the Indirect channel has Sub stockist and Wholesale as sub-channels


 Retailer Category:

The retailer Category is based on the broad grouping of products that the outlet sells. For bulbs, we will have Hardware, Hardware and Electrical, Electrical, Sanitary, and even Grocers as Retailer Categories. Standalone Super Markets are also a part of the retail sub-channel. For other FMCG products like soap and shampoo, we have chemists, cosmetics, and grocers as retailer categories

 Retailer Band:

Retailer Band/Class as many companies call is the categorization of outlets basis their throughput/sell-in/offtake. Retailers are used for beat designing, trade scheme designing et al

Retailer Cluster/Program:

Retailer cluster classification is done basis the pre-defined payouts which are linked to merchandising, visibility, execution, or target value achievement.


 Parent-Child mapping:

Retailers can be mapped as children and parents if servicing model demands it. For an outlet with 2 business units, each unit will have its child code and the parent code will be for the company’s reporting structure

 Retailer Identity

 Retailer KYC is maintained in the retailer master where the telephone number is generally considered a unique parameter and can be used for OTP purposes
Retailer identity can also be decided basis the accurate geocoded location which can be used for micro market intervention and execution excellence


 Tech touchpoints

 Retailer Ordering apps: FMCG companies are now looking at developing solutions to directly take orders from retailers
 Chatbot: Chatbots serve as a good CRM tool for communication and feedback
Joint Business Planning(JBP): Companies enable a tech-based JBP tool to get alignment on targets and reviews with the outlets



PDO – Per Dealer Output is the monthly sell-in/offtake that any outlet does for the entire catalog(Used for retailer bands)
DPL – Dealer Per Lakh is the total number of outlets per lakh population in any town(Used for DRCP benchmarking)

 FMCG Sales Interview for a Sales Representative on Market Potential(MP)


 What is MP?

The market potential is the estimated size of the business of any particular product in an area

 Why is MP important?


 MP is important to ‘guestimate’ the expected revenue of any product, launch business of a new product
MP is always useful in understanding the expected business of any distributor while undertaking a new appointment

 MP also helps in finding the right company-distributor fit basis expected ROI

Pre-Concept(We will take soap as an example in Latur city)


Total Addressable Market (TAM) – TAM is the total market for soap in Latur. It is important to know what percentage of TAM are we aiming at when we try to find market potential

Serviceable Addressable Market(SAM) – SAM is TAM but for a specific target audience. For example, people who are interested in using herbal soap in Latur

In some cases, we also calculate Share of Market (SOM) which is essentially SAM when there are many players in the market


Methods of calculating MP

Data Sources – Nielsen Reports, Primary Research and Secondary Research


 Town Benchmarking(Simplest method)

Market Potential of soap in Latur
Town population – 5 lakhs
 Soap Category Sales – 5 Crores
 Taking benchmarking of Ahmednagar as a similar town with a 10% market share, we assume the expected the sales of Latur as 50 lakhs


MP basis outlet classification(Let’s try with a different category | Bulb)

 Outlet Category – Hardware and Electrical
 Dealer per Lakh(DPL) – Outlets per lakh population – ~80
Outlet universe ~400
 Categorizing these 400 outlets into three outlet classes basis expected sell in(PDO – Per Dealer Output)
Gold Class – 50 outlets – 10000/-
Silver Class – 100 outlets – 5000/-
Bronze Class – 250 Outlets – 1000/-
 Total MP ~12.5 lakhs


 One cannot exactly find MP and it is always a guestimate. The key here is to find the correct mix of research through human interactions and available literature to arrive at a market potential figure

FMCG Sales Interview Questions for FMCG Distributor Sales Man’s Universe 


 The basics of Sales and Distribution in FMCG, a ready reckoner for  BDE/SE and ASM interviews.

The distributor is probably the most important stakeholder one deals with in the capacity of an ASM/SE/BDE.

Let’s look at the distributor universe through building blocks



Business Continuity and Infrastructure: Skilled Manpower(Salesperson, Delivery person, and admin), Delivery Units, Warehouse, IT infrastructure and contingency plans and resources

Market Compliance: Service management(Ordering Delivery Issue resolution), warehouse compliance, sales operations hygiene(outlet addition, route management), DMS and SFA compliance and Claim management

Interest and Involvement: The distributor should take an active interest in growing business along with the organization thereby truly becoming a ‘Channel Partner’


 Distributor Selection Process 
In most organizations, distributors are selected basis series of shortlisting and approval matrix which may go to the Regional/Branch head before getting approved

Distributor KPIs 
Sales Related: Business value achievement by Category brands against Target
Non-Sales Related: Effective Coverage, PC working compliance, Payment Compliance, Saleable and Non-Saleable returns, ARS non-compliance(Automatic Replenishment System) and Distributor audit
Other Parameters: Distribution Big Bet of that month, Must Sell SKU compliance


Distributor Evaluations and Planning 
Generally, distributors are reviewed based on these categories:
Business Performance

Based on these three parameters, an action plan is made with the distributor every month/quarter on the following lines 

Fmcg Distribution Pictorial of various process involved.

Evaluation of business plan  Need to edit the plans based on the current scenario
Resource management  Help with better resources, line of credit, ROI management

Infra management  Training on basic sales processes, call process, retailer relationship, DMS, SFA. Earning review and motivation


While doing a difficult conversations with distributors 
Do a detailed situational analysis before any meeting
Discussions should follow the sandwich method i.e., Good-Bad-Good to facilitate fruitful discussion
Always back your case with numbers and show confidence
Show empathy and care for the distributor’s business go a long way
Finally, always look for a mutual win situation


FMCG Salesman’s Interview Question on  New Retailer Addition 

 How Britannia Industries Limited and  have focused on new retailer addition to drive growth. In the current environment of high inflation, it is imperative that FMCG companies focus on increasing their coverage. 

Questions on this topic are generally asked in ASM and BDE/SE interviews. Let’s succinctly understand this concept:


What are the basics of coverage?

For example Company A – Product P – Category C
 Outlet Universe: Number of retailers in any particular area/town
 Relevant Universe: Number of retailers selling similar category products(Similar to C)
 Covered Universe: Number of retailers selling product P(either direct coverage or indirect through wholesale)
 Direct Coverage: For companies this is DRCP. This includes retailers which are directly covered by the company
 Active Coverage: This KPI is subjective. For most companies Active Coverage is the number of retailers which are billed at least once in every 3 months or 1 month
 There are few organizations that track Net Coverage or Effective coverage which is Active Coverage/Direct Coverage


Why should we focus on increasing coverage?

 Cover the newly developed residential and commercial areas
 Gain share of market from competition
 Convert indirect coverage to direct coverage to increase range in the outlet


 How do you shortlist retailers?

 Relevancy(Similar category and products)
 Throughput(Capable of doing certain threshold of business – Competition benchmarking helps)

How many outlets should be added?

 The easiest method employed by most organization is DPL(Dealer per Lakh). The formula for this is the direct coverage for every 1 lakh of 100000 population of that area. If Nashik with population of 20 lakhs has 5000 stores, it has a DPL of 250

 To find out the ideal DPL for a town like Ahmednagar with a population of 5 lakhs, the easiest way is to find the DPL of similar pop towns and benchmark

 There are other parameters which can be considered like area of tehsil and number of households etc.


What are the challenges in adding new retailers and how do you address them?

 Unavailability of new retailers – Clustering of areas in a town to find underutilized areas and carrying a focus drive
 Capability issues of Salesperson – Better training along with standardization of outlet opening process
 Wholesale affinity – Communicating the total earning potential, range and TOD plans
 Lack of motivation – Incentive linked expansion plans

 FMCG Salesman’s Interview Question on Distributor ROI 


Distributor ROI, arguably, is one of the most important topics and the most ‘asked-about’ one. Let’s see the topic from an interview lens. Know these concepts and you would do good in your interview!

 What is Distributor ROI?

 As the name suggests, it is Return on Investment for any distributor which is calculated as
ROI = Net Income/Total Investment
where Net Income = Revenue – Operating Expenses

 Terms Explained
 Revenue is the total margin earned from the sale of goods
 Operating expenses are the expenses incurred by the distributor to run the business on a monthly/periodic basis
 Investment is the total money invested in the business


 Expenses Deep-dive
 Salesmen’s salaries(if not paid by the company/3P)
 Delivery Unit costs which include costs for the delivery person, drivers, petrol and maintenance
 Office staff
Admin costs which include godown rent, stationery, electricity, telephone charges, CA charges, and other expenses
 Interest on borrowed capital(many of us miss this)


Execution-meets-Imagination-Fmcg-Food-service-brand Investment Deep-dive
 Dealer paid stock which is holding stock minus company paid stock
 Market credit which is credit given by distributors to the retailers in the market
 Outstanding claims

 Ideal ROI
 There is no such thing as an ideal ROI as the figure may change for different industries and markets
 For a large-sized FMCG business, an ROI of 18% may be considered a good whereas for smaller businesses in industries like lighting and switches we see ROIs as high as 35%+
 General thumb-rule is to make sure that is better than FD returns!!

Fmcg Consumer Offtake depends on stock availability

How do we increase ROI?

Simple answer is to increase income, reduce expenses and optimize investment(But that’s easier said than done)
Increasing revenue may look like an attractive option but inorganic growth(new outlets) comes with the risk of having additional investment(bad paymasters + stock loading)
The key should be to optimize investment through the following measures
 Retailer payout management to be efficient by clearly having paymaster categories and period review of market outstanding
 Stock in hand should be reviewed for SLOBs and damage. Warehouse management and FIFO implementation go a long way in maintaining distributor stock health

 Productivity improvement measures like optimum utilization of salesman’s time, PJP adherence, high daily productivity, range selling, and effective coverage analysis lead to better organic growth thereby improving the numerator part of the equation
 Delivery model optimization is a game-changer in maintaining ROIs as it can drastically bring down the operational costs

 How do Salesmen stay updated on the Fmcg target market?

Possible answer:

To stay updated on the target market, I like to read blogs by experts, follow trends on social media, and listen to several sales podcasts.

This helps me understand various possible strategies, and how they can be used to connect with the target market.

 During last Fmcg position, how did you balance maintaining current relationships with generating more leads?

Possible answer:

In sales, while it is important to generate new leads to enhance brand recognition, forming relationships is also key to the growth of the company.

Balancing the two can be a delicate task and is decided based on the cost-benefit impact to the company.

 As a salesman your method of handling customer objections?

Possible answer 1:

Acknowledging the objection and suggesting a workaround with the product can help the customer feel heard.

At the same time, it gives me the chance to explain another feature of the product.

Possible answer 2:

I feel that being considerate is a good way to handle any customer objections. In such cases, over-talking or dismissing the concern raised by the customer should be avoided.

One should take the objection as a feedback for a clearer dialogue. One can even use the point of objection to elaborate on a specific benefit of the product.

 As a Fmcg Sales manager What role does social media play in  selling?

Possible answer:

Social media is a great platform as professional sites like LinkedIn allows me to better research the targets to identify their needs.

Twitter and Facebook are great for finding a common social ground to build a rapport.

 What is the best way to research possible sales channels before a sales call?

Possible Answer:

Researching clients on social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter can help identify their needs.

Competitor testimonials can also be a great learning as they can help identify what exactly worked for the customers with respect to the product or service.

 What according to you is a company’s USP?

Possible answer:

The relationships that the Company has with long-standing clients is something I admire.

In sales particularly, it is important to have a good rapport with clients as not only does this encourage regular sales but can also work as a reference for potential clients.

How long should you pursue a Retailer?

Possible answer:

An important factor for successful sales is need. If the client has absolutely no need at the time for a product, constant perseverance may be taken as annoying.

Here, it is best to stop pursuing the client but be sure to check with them occasionally.

In fmcg what is the difference between a short sale and long sale cycle?

A short sales cycle calls for quick action and an ability to close the deal quickly while a long sales cycle promotes extensive dialogue and building of rapport before the sale is confirmed.

 In your career what would be your most significant sales deal, why?

Possible answer:

I had been dealing with a senior level manager in a company for my product and the sale was almost finalised, when he went on a sabbatical.

His replacement was someone quite different in personality and didn’t seem eager on continuing the deal.

I had to modify my approach and reconnect with him in a way that he found suitable.

Although it took a while, I felt rewarded when I closed that deal as my perseverance paid off while cultivating two business relationships.

 Share an example of a sales deal that failed. What was your key take-away?

Possible Answer 1:

In one instance, I was too focussed on selling the attributes of the product rather than understanding the client’s requirements.

Instead of taking a step back and letting the client explain his need, I kept pushing the product.

I didn’t get the deal, and I realised that even though I may know how perfectly the product can be integrated in their business, it is important to respond to their questions and hear their requirements first.

Possible Answer 2:

I was working in a team and we were pursuing an important client. However, as everyone wanted to be the one to win them over, we often stepped on each other’s shoes.

The client got irritated because he would receive calls from different team members saying the same thing without moving forward together.

I learnt that communication within the team is crucial to put a united front for the client and to avoid overloading the client with information.

RelatedHow to answer ‘what is your greatest failure in life’?

 Do you have a follow-up system with horeca customers,if so what?

Possible answer:

Yes. Regularly checking in with the clients after the sale via email or call is important to build a healthy relationship while supporting better customer service.

How do you cultivate a rapport with a prospective wholesaler?

Possible answer:

I prefer to study the prospects before speaking to them. I generally look for common grounds online on their social profile or company website. Finding a shared sport or business idol can help break the ice and bond easier with the client.

 In fmcg what excites you most/least about sales?

Possible Answer:

I love meeting new people and finding new ways to communicate with different people.

I also love being the go-to person. Sales is a great fit as it allows me to engage with clients and offer them solutions for business problems they may be facing.

My least favourite part is turning away a client when they are interested due to stock problems. I also dislike leaving a potential client midway as I love closing the deal.

In Fmcg industry some of the core values every salesperson must have?

Possible answer:

There are many important qualities that a salesperson should possess.

  • Listening skills
  • Networking skills
  • Ability to relate to customers from different backgrounds
  • Adaptable to different situations
  • Enthusiasm and perseverance

What are the top factors that you would attribute your success to in Sales?

Possible answer:

My perseverance and ability to adapt to difficult situations are my key strengths. The support of my team also helped me improve my overall sales pitch and tactics.

 Explain to me what a branded company does as if I am a prospective customer?

Possible answer:

We are a leading player in the Financial world. Our products benefit consumers by providing them the required financial security without having to sacrifice much of their earnings.

We have been awarded 2 Premier national awards in recognition of your services.

Sell me something.

Possible answer:

Earlier during the interview, you mentioned that you have been facing an obstacle in your business process. I would like to take a moment to share how it can be resolved with this product. (Product details)

Sell me this pen

Possible answer

If I’m not mistaken, you are currently using the ABC pen. Are you satisfied with it?

I would recommend our QPR pen which is not only light-weight and writes seamlessly, but is also long-lasting and doesn’t leak, as you mentioned is a problem you are facing with the pen you are using now.

You can also choose from our wide range of colors to make sure your pen matches your personality.

You can read all you need to know about answering sell me this pen here!

Sales HR Interview Questions and Answers

 How can you contribute to this role?

Possible Answer:

My experience in sales is an ideal fit for this company. I am confident that I can bring a fresh and unique style to the company. I am good at analysing data and can help identify the stronger potential targets to close more deals. Also, I see that you have been trying to branch out in the Medical industry and 30% of my clients in my previous company were from the medical field. I am certainly eager to further my learnings.

RelatedWhy should I hire you?

 What are your strengths as a salesperson?

Possible answer:

A salesperson needs to have multiple qualities. Some of my strengths as a salesperson would be:

  • My ability to listen
  • My ability to ask the right questions at the right time
  • My social and interactive nature
  • My ability to stay motivated at all times
  • I am able to build a rapport with different people quite easily.

RelatedWhat are your strengths and weaknesses?

 How comfortable are you working in a team?

Possible answer:

I am a good team player as I believe that working in a team can help each individual member learn something from the other. Not only does it help the members to interact with each other and build a relationship, but it also helps them to grow on an independent level. All this can be done while accomplishing the common goal of the team.

RelatedDifference between group and team

 What is your main motivation for sales?

Possible Answer:

I am goal-oriented, self-motivated, and money-motivated – all of this fits perfectly with my interest in sales. I love challenges and tailoring each sales pitch to connect with different clients is a major motivator.

RelatedHow to answer ‘What motivates you’?

How important is money for you?

Possible answer:

Money is important for me as it can be a crucial source to accomplish a lot of my dreams. However, I also enjoy the challenges and dynamic nature of the sales industry which constantly allows me to meet people and converse with them. I love networking with people, learn new things, and explore business opportunities.

How do you spend your free time?

Possible answer:

I enjoy reading autobiographies and fiction books. Currently, I am reading XYZ. I used to play football in college and now enjoy watching it with friends. I also like to socialise on the weekends.

RelatedWhat are your hobbies?

Do you have any questions for us?

Possible answer:

  1. How many people are there in the sales team currently?
  2. How do you measure success in sales?
  3. What is one thing you would like to see this role accomplish in the first six months?
  4. What are some of the reasons why you love working here?
  5. Where do you see the company in ten years?

RelatedQuestions to ask in an interview


Tips for answering sales interview questions

Keep these interview tips in mind before going for your sales interview.

Practice your answers
Sales have a lot to do with confidence communication. Practice common sales interview questions and answers in front of a mirror or with a family member to gain fluency and confidence.

Refresh sales basics
As sales is a practical field, it can be easy to forget certain technical terms. However, before going for an interview be sure to read about relevant terms and trends in your field.

Takeaway-food-fmcg- salesman--brand-Biryani-by-kilo.

Give specific examples
Whenever possible, strengthen your answer with an example. For instance, if you are asked about the important qualities of a salesperson, give an example of how a quality made you close the deal.

Do not discuss details of clients
While giving examples is good, don’t discuss confidential details of your clients in an attempt to impress the interviewer. Be discreet and focus more on how you navigated a particular sale.

Be honest
Building a rapport with an interviewer is easier if you are honest. Don’t say something if it isn’t true as it can reflect poorly if you are caught.

Team DigitalGumma

A Professional Team Of Over 25 years of experience in Sales & Marketing operations, Channel (Direct & Indirect) Development and Distribution, and Key Account Management in the FMCG Sector. AREAS OF EXPERTISE Sales & Marketing: Conceptualizing and implementing sales promotional strategies as a part of brand building and market development effort. Business Development: Handling infrastructure development of sales & distribution systems and increasing coverage & penetration to have maximum market share. Channel Management: Identifying and networking with financially strong and reliable dealers/channel partners, Super Stockist, C&F resulting in deeper market penetration and reach. Ensuring cost-effective logistic operations & seamless materials movement to ascertain sufficient inventory levels at each sales outlet/ distribution channel. Evaluating performance & monitoring distributor sales and marketing activities. website has everything you need to create a fully personalized, high-quality free showcase website. Get the word out about all the amazing things you’re doing. Easily email your contacts or share on social media to tell everyone you know. Sell Anything Anywhere To Anyone. is a business development platform motivated to ideate connect propagate to millions of users worldwide. Create a beautiful, professional web presence. Our expert team members collaborate across digital marketing specialties to produce powerful results. Build your next digital marketing plan utilizing the latest internet technology, explode your online presence with a Fully Managed SEO program, and maximize your profits.

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