Avoiding Torrid Times

I had a long chat the other day with a fella that ran a dozen reps in the field.  The team were smilingly talked of as ‘long in the tooth’.  This time last year, he finally opted (using his words) to switch from manually kept sales records to an electronic database.  He described the ensuing transition as “almost torrid, definitely hard” before allowing himself congratulations that after a full year, his charges were eventually engaging as instructed.

Upon further investigation, this state was exposed as a mirage.  I asked him how he’d got to such a pleasant position.  Firstly, he said a major reason for perseverance was due to his own IT resource producing the system.  The benefit to him was that this meant it was “free”.  Strange (wildly incorrect) logic I thought, but there you go.

Then he said that it was reducing reporting to a minimum that was the key.  Whereas they’d started off asking for chapter and verse on each visit, he subsequently realised that it was counter-productive asking for full details of an hour-long call.

Resistance was compounded with the upgrade of a sales analysis tool that was made available ‘mobile’ in the field.  This initiative was quickly shelved as being too time-consuming (and possibly intrusive).

Only once he settled for a one-line description and notice of next action did he achieve the buy-in and take-up required.

I’m certain he missed several tricks here, as the implication was that he’d practically given up on further recording efforts.  His tone was very much that the level of intel held was a bare minimum, but he’d resigned himself to let the salesteam get away with it because “they aren’t losing me any business”.

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