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My career in Sales – Elisabeth Tegneby

Elisabeth Tegneby

Elisabeth Tegneby

Read about Elisabeth's career in sales.

Tell us briefly about the job you do and in which company
I work as Key Account Manager (KAM) at Orkla Foods Norge (OFN), with Rema as my customer. Since OFN’s portfolio is so big, two of us work with Rema, and we have divided the portfolio between us.

What is your educational background?
I have a Master of Science in Business and Economics (Siviløkonom) from BI Norwegian Business School.

Tell us a little about yourself
I am a person with a lot of energy and a substantial capacity for work, and I therefore need to have action or I get restless. I love being outdoors, whether I’m walking my dog in the woods, hiking in the mountains, cross-country skiing, or just hanging out at the playground with my children. I work out a lot, both at the fitness centre and outdoors, and have done so my whole life. As a person, I am independent and efficient and structured in everything I do. I am unafraid, honest and am probably often considered to be very direct. I enjoy being with friends and family, but am also happy in my own company.

Tell us about your career at Orkla, from day 1 to where you are today
My first job was as Assistant KAM at Nidar. The job mainly consisted of making analyses, preparing presentations, drawing store shelf planograms, and acting as a customer contact (KBS + ICA). After just a few months, I became project manager for what is now Nidar Smågodt chocolates and sold at ICA. That was an amazing process, which affected every part of the value chain. After a year as project manager, I was offered the possibility of taking over as KAM for KBS, and have been KAM ever since.

When I first started out at Orkla, I soon realised that a KAM position would be right for me. I have now been KAM for close to four years, and have worked with several of the chains, and I can see myself working as KAM for many more years. This is because I really enjoy the combination of internal tasks (analyses, operatIons, presentations, projects, etc.) and external interaction with customers (cooperation, negotiations, operations, projects, etc.) I see the job of KAM as a long-term process, because in my opinion it takes several years to become a good KAM. In the first few years, it’s all about getting to know the customers and getting the partnership to work, but after a while you can really leverage the relationship and achieve things that create growth for both parties.

Why did you choose this career direction?
After two years as a consultant, I wanted a job “in the line”, where you have greater, more direct influence than you do as an external consultant.

Why did you want to work at Orkla?
Orkla was a natural choice because I’ve always been interested in the grocery sector, combined with the fact that a large Group offers many opportunities.

What is a typical working day for you?
When you work as KAM, no two days are alike. I usually have a tentative plan for what I should get done every day, but all of a sudden the customer might call me, and then other new tasks pop up that have to be given priority. Some days are purely office days, often with various internal meetings, while on other days I spend part of the day in meetings with customers. Several times a year, there are also regional meetings at the customer’s office, sales meetings at OFN and visits to stores.

What does it take to succeed in your job?
You need to have the ability to collaborate with others, have good business understanding and be able to build up good customer relations. It’s important to be a little thick-skinned and fearless because the climate can be tough, especially in negotiations. It’s also a major advantage to be analytical and structured.

What’s the best thing about your profession, and what, if anything, do you dislike?
The best part is the combination of customer relations and “office work”, the fact that the work is very varied, the flexibility and the numerous career development opportunities.
There’s really nothing I dislike.

Orkla’s new vision is “Your friend in everyday life”, supported by the values “Brave”, “Trustworthy” and “Inspiring”. How do you relate to the new vision and values in your job?
In my job as KAM, you have to be brave and trustworthy because it’s crucial if a negotiation and collaboration are to function. To be an attractive partner in the long term, I also think it’s important that the customer perceives us as inspiring.

Are there any special requirements for working in your profession (personality, academic qualifications, fields of study, etc.)?
I think it’s an advantage to have a degree in business, but there are many excellent KAMs who have made their career in the company without any formal education. As a person, you should be sociable, enjoy hectic working days with many balls in the air, and like the fact that your day often turns out entirely differently from what you had planned.