Tune in to what managers want

September 1, 1997

Pharmaceutical Representative

Although every sales manager's personality and work style is unique, there are similarities in what many expect from the representatives who work for them.

Although every sales manager's personality and work style is unique, there are similarities in what many expect from the representatives who work for them.

Understanding the importance of communication, trust and commitment are essential ways to nurture a successful relationship with a sales manager.

Talk smart, work smart

First and foremost, managers would like to have open dialogues with representatives. They want to hear that representatives work their territories and know each customer who is important to their business. They want representatives to be aware of and communicate any managed care changes or key customer changes that will impact business.

However, sales representatives are not only responsible for knowing their customer base and maintaining a high level of product knowledge; administrative duties are also an integral part of a daily routine. Sales managers appreciate when representatives submit their paperwork on time and pay attention to deadline dates for special projects. One of the easiest ways to upset a manager is failure to provide requested information since managers are also meeting scheduled deadlines.

Managers also appreciate employees who work smart and keep job priorities in order. Commitment to the organization is very important, as is honesty, trustworthiness, enthusiasm and a proactive attitude about career. Working as a team player is also desirable; many customers transcend territory boundaries, and companies with comarketing arrangements encourage teamwork.

Strut the right stuff

Maintaining the company vehicle is imperative. All company property should be in good working order.

When a manager has an opportunity to work in the field with a representative, a well-organized day should be planned. The representative should also be able to verbalize background information on each customer.

When a sales call is in progress, the sales manager may make the following observations: Is the representative presenting his or her information in a clear, concise manner? Is the customer receptive to the information? Does the representative have a strong command of his or her product knowledge? Is the representative listening to the customer? Does the representative handle objections satisfactorily? Does the representative ask for business?

Sunny side up

Finally, managers look to senior representatives to assist with new employees. They want the entire sales team to be positive and cohesive, so they expect senior members to be positive role models.

There are many responsibilities we take on when we decide upon a sales career. One of them is maintaining good relationships with sales managers. PR

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