My Name is Raghu Raj Kurup. I am from India, and am currently living in Ras Al Khaimah UAE.
I am the Regional Sales Manager for Middle East & Africa region, and have been with FTI since the early days of the company – a total of 11 years and 11 months.
My main responsibility is to build distribution channels for FTI Brands in Middle East & Africa and Private Label Business in South-East Asia. This is a role that includes many different activities and facets, however like many of my colleagues in the customer-facing side of FTI, the ability to communicate is a vital skill for my role.
Typically, my day starts with short meetings with the product management and sales support teams on pending orders and shipments. Then, I spend a considerable part of my day communicating with the clients, gathering market information, understanding competitor’s strategy etc., which I then discuss in-depth with the MEA sales team. Furthermore, I devote some of my time to contacting new prospects and promoting FTI products, highlighting the benefits of doing business with FTI. The need to maintain constant contact with new clients is crucial because the sales cycle behind a new client deal takes a minimum of 2 to 3 months, and some cases up to a year.
I think the MEA market volatility is a considerable challenge that I must deal with on a daily basis. The market volatility is related to the fact that end-consumers of our product are not always quality conscious, and the market is therefore influenced by cheaper competitors who produce lower-priced products from Far East Asian Brands. However, with FTI’s unique product range, consistent quality, proximity and customer relations we are able to overcome such challenges and maintain our positive market position.
The closest working relationship I have is with the product management team, who regularly update me on production capacity, lead times, new product information etc. Secondly I often interact with the marketing team, who is very active in social media and in supporting sales managers with catalogues, POP materials, banners etc. Overall, I would say that FTI has a very professional team across the board, who work hard to ensure that all processes happen very smoothly.
I like to be physically active and on week days I often play badminton, whilst at the weekends I enjoy cycling – Ras Al Khaimah has some excellent roads and tracks to cycle on and this is one of the benefits of living here. I also enjoy international cuisine, and whilst I would say that food from my home country of India is my favourite, I enjoy sampling cuisines from different countries, especially Lebanese and Iranian food.