“Senior Personitis” – a sometime challenge with senior sales reps

Selling Best Practices

In a recent blog post, Sales eXchange introduces the concept: “Senior Personitis”. In some companies it may set in early – after five years; far later in others. In some corporate cultures, fortunately, the “disease” is diagnosed before coming into full bloom. While it may manifest in many ways, one of the most noticeable is sales people “doing little more than playing concierge to their accounts.”

Unfortunately, the problem is not only are these sales reps playing a “concierge” role to those accounts they choose to service, they are also paying little attention to the remaining accounts in their territories.

However, as the blog shares, too often their managers fear if they “lost” the rep they would lose the account. But how much is the sales manager leaving on the table by retaining the “concierge sales rep”? How much business is being left behind inside the “concierge” account and inside the territory? Potential revenue in the “concierge” accounts may be left behind since the sales reps are focusing on working only with their preferred buyers as well as potential revenue left untouched in other accounts within the territory that haven’t been called on.

One company we worked with in the medical devices industry creatively addressed this issue in a way applicable to almost all companies. The company had some territories with large volume potential that wasn’t being met because the sales rep was producing big numbers from a small number of accounts by providing concierge service – but neglecting the rest of the territory. In these situations, the reps’ sales were sufficiently high that the company was concerned about splitting the territories, and thereby the sales rep might walk.

In response, the company assigned a new sales rep to partner with each of the established sales reps who were operating in these situations. The new sales reps had two responsibilities: develop new accounts in the territory that were not being serviced and develop relationships with people inside the accounts the established sales person was serving, so if he/she left, the new sales person would be recognized inside the account and would be able to pick up the pieces – or at least some of the pieces.

Check out other posts on sales effectiveness at the Sales Training Connection. 

©2011 Sales Horizons™, LLC

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About Janet Spirer

For more than 30 years Dr. Richard Ruff and Dr. Janet Spirer - the founders of Sales Horizons - have worked with the Fortune 1000 - such as UPS, Canon USA, Smith & Nephew, Boston Scientific, Owens & Minor, Textron - to design and develop sales training programs. Janet has followed two different, yet complimentary paths. First, as a B-School Professor she taught marketing, sales, and business strategy courses. She also managed a consulting practice focusing on sales productivity and marketing – working with a variety of clients ranging from Xerox to IBM. She translated those experiences into a book – “Parlez-Vous Business” – that helps sales people develop the business savvy to sell successfully. Since co-founding Sales Momentum® in 2000 with Richard Dr. Spirer received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, an M.P.A. from The University of Texas at Austin, and a B.A. in Economics from Brooklyn College. She holds the appointment of Professor Emeritus at Marymount University.
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