Where’s my stuff?
One of the more frequent requests I get from clients is to get out in the field and capture “A Day In the Life” of the sales organization. The reason this approach is so effective is that it helps in-house employees see the big picture and shows how what they do on a daily basis impacts the company, the customer and their own job security.
Having spent a great deal of my career in sales, I can tell you first hand it’s not for the faint of heart. We can be the most neurotic, anxious and superstitious group of paranoids on the planet. You always have to have something going on and that means putting on a happy face in dire situations, especially when management wants to hear a good story. They always want to hear a good story. They want you to “always be closing.”
You have so many balls in the air you need to be half lawyer and half ballerina because someone in-house will mess up an order and pull your pants down. They won’t feel the impact of that error directly so an opportunity to reinforce their critical role in the company is lost. That’s why, if you can’t get them out in the field, you bring the show to them to give them a tour of the battle field.
They think you ride around in a nice car all day, tell jokes, wear nice clothes and pick up the tab in fancy restaurants. They don’t know about the sleepless nights at a Best Western in Deming, New Mexico.
I sold radiopharmaceuticals, where a missed order and even a few hour delay could wreak havoc. The isotopes were pre-calibrated for use that day and patients could be coming from quite a distance. This is where I learned tap dancing. You better have plan A, B and C ready to rock. Back then, you knew where every pay phone in the territory was located. Workin’ for the CYA.
I started my career at Dupont Radiopharmaceuticals in the distribution group and really had no idea what this stuff was used for. I knew generally, but not specifically. While filling in at a satellite distribution center, I missed an order that shut Phoenix down for the whole day and then some.
Our distributors were helpless and the competition low balled them right out of the picture. Huge accounts vanished into thin air. I knew I screwed up but never realized how badly until I showed up six months later as the rep and had to endure all the stories about “that clown in Dupont distribution.” (Glad no one ever gave my name)
The process I use is to interview the rep and use their story as a voice over to b-roll of them in action. Capture them interacting with customers, distributors and clinical support if that’s the case. Get him or her to discuss the importance of the quality and reliability of the product, it’s specific use(s) and what the competition might be like. Having them discuss pre-call planning and their overall general strategy can prove helpful also.
Fortunately (for them) in house employees will never have to to stand there in front of a furious (and threatening) customer, be dressed down and berated because the product or service has “shit the bed”, but I will get them as close as possible. They’ll get everything but the flop sweat.
The rep also has to be in the loop as to how the internal process functions. But that’s another project.
If you have any questions or need advice, please feel free to reach out to me here.