An interview with Nick Maskrey, Head of Sales

What inspired you to pursue a career in sales at Robinsons? 

My journey into sales, particularly in the brewing industry, has been quite dynamic. I've spent 25 years in the alcohol industry, starting with field sales in wine before moving into account management and eventually landing in the beer sector. I've always been drawn to the dynamic nature of sales, the challenge of building relationships, and the satisfaction of seeing products succeed in the market. 

Can you tell us a bit about how the general sales department works at Robinsons? 

Our sales department operates as a close-knit team, with each member playing a vital role. Dean oversees the Trooper brand and manages key accounts, Triece handles national accounts, and Andrea manages administrative tasks. We also work closely with other departments like marketing, production, and brewing. 

Could you walk us through a typical day in your role as Head of Sales? 

My day usually starts with a review of sales performance across various departments: export, off-trade, national sales, and contract. This gives me a snapshot of our monthly progress. I then work closely with my team, reviewing yearly dealings and analysing bottling forecasts for the next 12 weeks. A significant portion of my time is spent engaging with customers, suppliers, and internal stakeholders. Whether I'm in the office, on the field, or working remotely, each day presents unique challenges and opportunities. 

Have you encountered any particularly challenging sales situations that turned into unexpected successes? 

The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges, but it also led to unforeseen successes. We had to adapt quickly, supplying our own off-trade channels and prioritising our contract customers. Despite the constraints, we managed to retain all our customers and even onboarded new ones. Now, as the industry adjusts to post-pandemic norms, we face new challenges such as cost price increases, but we're confident in navigating through them. 

How do you foster strong relationships with clients and distributors? 

Regular communication is key. We maintain open dialogue, especially during challenging times. Being transparent about changes and challenges helps build trust. Ultimately, it's about forming genuine connections because, in the end, people buy from people. 

Can you share a memorable moment from your career? 

I would say continuation of trading during the COVID-19 pandemic, working closely with our production team we were two of the few departments that worked through the pandemic. The long days and constant calls with customers, buyers and logistics contacts, ensured that we produced as much packaged beer as possible for consumers. 

Which skills are necessary for the role of Head of Sales? 

Organisation, mathematical acumen, relationship-building, and excellent communication skills are essential. Being personable and adaptable is important too. 

Q: Are there any upcoming projects or initiatives in the sales department that you're particularly excited about? 

I'm particularly excited about the Trooper re-brand and the increasing demand for our de-alcoholised beer offerings. As the industry evolves, we're constantly exploring new avenues for growth and innovation. 

How do you see the future of sales evolving in the brewing industry? 

With advancements like our de-alc plant, we're poised to offer more diverse products and cater to evolving consumer preferences. The ability to provide custom solutions, such as personalised branding for clients, will be crucial in staying competitive. 

What advice would you give someone aspiring for a similar role? 

Be prepared to work your way up and gain experience in various aspects of sales. Understanding every facet of the job is key for success. Additionally, mentorship and fostering talent within the team are important for growth and development. 

Outside of work, what are some of your favourite hobbies or activities? 

I enjoy spending time with family and friends, exploring the outdoors, and indulging in good food and drink. 

What is your favourite Robinsons beer? 

My favourite Robinsons beer is the Citra Pale Ale!