I heard a wonderful tale from an accomplished Indian sales manager the other day.
He used to work for behemoth Tata. One of the world’s largest conglomerates.
I often rail against how too many a salesperson claims that they are a “sector specialist”. When in reality all they know about a particular market segment is from the single customer they may have from it and occasional flicks through an industry mag when waiting in receptions.
Tata clearly understand this failing. They had a programme they called “Climate”.
Their telecoms division selected three sectors. Manufacturing & Distribution, Pharmaceuticals, Energy.
Each rep was assigned to a specific one. Then you were sent into a Tata business that operated in that arena for two weeks work experience.
The chap I spoke with themselves went to Tata Motors to learn about manufacturing/distribution issues.
I love this approach.
When I first worked in a similar place a couple of decades ago, I spent a day in the sales order processing department of a wallpaper maker, and manned the stall of a toy company at Europe’s largest show for their industry.
Both proved invaluable.
What can you do along these lines to make you truly get to grips with your sector and genuinely stand out against your competing salespeople?