Job Title: Vice President, Sales

Reporting to: Chief Business Officer

Location: Durham, North Carolina or Remote

About Pairwise:

Pairwise is a mission-driven, food+tech company dedicated to building a healthier world through better fruits and vegetables. Pairwise was founded in 2017 by scientists at Harvard University, MIT, and Broad Institute who are eminent in the field of gene editing, as well as biotechnology industry pioneers. Our team is tuned in to consumer food trends, and we believe that consumers deserve more variety and innovation in their fresh food choices. We are primed to deliver that innovation through one of the best gene-editing platforms in food and agriculture. Pairwise has an exclusive 5-year research collaboration with Bayer to develop products in corn, soybean, wheat, canola, and cotton. Plus, Pairwise is developing new types of leafy greens, berries, and stone fruit, with the first product expected in 2023. Pairwise is based in the start-up friendly Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina.

About This Role:

Our team is looking for an experienced and dynamic sales leader to launch new, differentiated produce items. These products will be top-tier branded produce items, with consumer and trade support reminiscent of other CPG brands.

She/he will establish and execute channel strategies to build relationships with national and regional retail customers in brick & mortar food, mass, club, and specialties of trade, e-commerce, omnichannel, and foodservice. This position offers the rare opportunity to execute launch of our company’s first consumer-facing brand and portfolio of products, and to breathe life, energy and innovation into the produce department through the exciting area of gene-edited fruits and vegetables.

The successful candidate will:

• Have strong relationship ties to high-level category managers/buyers and executive management across all major US food, mass, and club retail channels, ideally in produce.

• Track record of successful distribution build for multiple product launches, ideally in produce.

• Be a skilled verbal and written communicator who can build support for their ideas, drive progress toward organizational goals, and build win-win relationships with cross-functional partners and customers.

• Be energized by the fast-paced, entrepreneurial culture of our mission-driven company.

Essential Functions:

• Building key customer relationships and partnerships:

• Foster relationships and long-term partnerships with retail and foodservice customers and develop win-win solutions for their categories and our products/brands.

• Cultivate productive relationships with Commercial Vice Presidents and Marketing to align the sales organization’s objectives with Pairwise’ business strategy through active participation in corporate strategic planning, sales strategy development, forecasting, sales resource planning, and budgeting.

• Supports achievement of strategic objectives critical to other functional areas at Pairwise.

• Improves customer satisfaction by anticipating customer needs.

• Builds an effective and efficient sales organization:

• Accountable for effective sales organization design, including sales job roles, sales channel design, and sales resource deployment.

• Coordinates sales relationships and channel partners. Some products could be sold through brokers or partner sales teams.

Recruits, hires, and develops sales team.

• Establishes and governs the sales organization’s performance management system:

• Establishing guiding sales organizational principles for managing performance.

• Creating and prioritizing critical performance measures for all sales jobs.

• Overseeing the equitable allocation of organization objectives across all sales channels, markets, and personnel.

• Ensuring all key sales and sales management associates are held accountable for assigned results.

• Leads learning and development initiatives impacting the sales organization and provides stewardship of sales and sales management talent by developing sales training programs.

• Identifies and negotiates contracts with broker(s); oversees broker relationships, ensuring that performance metrics are met.

• Responsible for leading Sales Team to deliver annual sales plan (volume, mix, etc.):

• Develops channel-specific sales plans and strategies.

• Motivates the sales team to achieve workplace goals and personal objectives.

• Collaborates with Brand Marketing, Finance, and Commercial leads on distribution growth expectations for our Leafy Greens and Berry product lines.

• Co-leads development of channel sell-in presentations; participates in customer sell-in presentations as needed.

• Manages key customer relationships and participates in closing strategic opportunities.

• Travels for in-person meetings with customers and partners and to develop key relationships.

• Collaborates with Finance, Marketing, Category Management, and Commercial VPs to define annual Sales Budget inclusive of trade promotions and broker spend; manages and controls these budgets.

• Works with category product teams, Trade Marketing, Marketing, and Category Management to evaluate category pricing and help establish MAPS, optimize trade promotion strategies, and build synergies with consumer promotions and shopper marketing.

Required Education & Experience:

• 10+ years leading sales for either CPG or start-up food brands, ideally in Produce or other short shelf-life products.

• Bachelor’s degree required; MBA preferred.

• Annual sales planning experience a must.

• Experience with development and control of trade promotion budgets, sales teams, broker teams, category management, and MAPS (merchandising, assortment, pricing, and shelving).

• Experience collaborating cross functionally with marketing, finance, category management, quality, and logistics.

• Demonstrated excellence in communication and stakeholder management.

• Able to work in an unstructured environment, strong communication skills and able to build partnerships internally and externally.

• Public speaking skills and experience presenting internally company-wide, at trade events, and with customers.

• Strong organizational skills and attention to detail with the ability to set clear priorities in a fast-paced environment.

• High emotional intelligence and conflict resolution; able to effectively maintain relationships via flexibility, collaboration, and negotiation.

• Ability to build strong working relationships with clients and colleagues across departments, geographic locations, and time zones.

• Syndicated data experience (Nielsen, IRI, SPINS) is a plus.

• E-commerce or DTC experience a plus.


• This position is expected to travel for customer meetings (pre-COVID estimate of 50% - 70%).


• Comprehensive Benefits Plan, including Medical, Dental, Vision, HSA/FSA, 401k, Life Insurance, Short-Term & Long-Term Disability, and more!

• Flexible PTO (use what you need, when you need it), in addition to company holidays

• Casual work environment.

• Mission-driven organization focused on creating healthier fruits and veggies.

• A cutting-edge, driven community looking to lead the industry in innovation and nutrition.

EEO Statement:

We're an equal opportunity employer. All applicants will be considered for employment without attention to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran, or disability status.