Divide and Conquer by Working Together
Our industry is shrinking. Not by dollars, not by the number of pets served, and not by the number of hospitals – our industry is contracting due to mergers and acquisitions amongst manufacturers, distributors, and even the ownership models of the existing practices. Many of the largest distribution companies are growing more rapidly through acquisition than they are through organic growth. The same holds true for several of the manufacturers. The options buying groups and management groups offer for hospitals are becoming more enticing as owner/practitioners look towards retirement and ponder exit strategies.
What drove the good old days
I have recently been told that margins are tight for distributors. Incentive programs are not what they used to be, and the relations between manufacturers and distribution have become less friendly and far more formal. I have not directly experienced these changes, but I trust the opinions of my sources. Many have reported that they sure miss “the good old days.”
May I have your attention?
Successful reps stratify their customers and set an interaction schedule that focuses heavily on the folks that do the most business with them. This is common in almost every sales industry.The “A” practices get the most attention and the most visits to keep the competition at bay. The “B” practices get a large amount of attention in hopes that they may someday become an “A” level practice. The “C & D” level practices get sprinkled in when a rep is caught up with their normal workload, driving past to get to an “A” practice with a little extra time, or during the slower periods of the year. With territories expanding and competition consolidating it seems like this would be the best recipe for success. Is it?
Creating a team between inside and outside reps ensures that you both have much more success than you would if you try this alone. The best approach is a team approach based on the concept of “divide and conquer.” Inside and outside reps should talk frequently to establish who is going to focus on what and the tactics to be employed. Inside reps touch the customer far more frequently than the outside reps. So, outside reps should be conveying information about practices that are looking to join a buying group or looking for retirement options while the inside rep finds out more details and offers assistance with the practice’s focus.
This seems like a lot of work. It is all based on trust between reps and the practice and rep to rep.If executed properly, everyone involved will feel more unified. Sales will increase, commissions will increase, and customer loyalty will increase. Ten years from now, people might look back at today an call it “the good old