Dovetail 8

Dovetail 8
Suppliers of Products and Services Discover Rep Firms via Mutual Interest and Relationships with Target Customers and Key Accounts

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Rep Owners Straddle a Fine Line in Supplier Reviews

I had a conversation with David, the owner of a Manufacturer's Rep firm.
He told me that his firm is being considered to represent a new Supplier. It is good line and he wanted it.
However, the Regional Sales Manager wanted him to set aside 4 hours for him to evaluate the rep firm. 
He asked David for all-hands-on-deck because he planned to interview each SalesRep in the firm.

David decided that the request was unreasonable and unacceptable. He likened it to a TSA Pat-Down.
He told the RSM, "if you can't decide in 1 hour whether my firm is right for you, remove us from consideration."

In most cases, a Supplier will interview a number of rep firms, then select one to represent the company. 
For that reason, each rep owner must straddle the line separating Full Disclosure and IP Protection. In context, Intellectual Property (IP) is the knowledge that the firm's SalesReps have about their accounts/customers.
The significance and proprietary level of the IP correlates to the SalesRep's level of customer Access & Influence.

What details should a rep owner provide to a Supplier during the interview process?
How much information does the Supplier really need to make a selection?
What information about the rep firm is confidential, i.e. financials, ownership, compensation etc.?
What customer details are off-limits?
Should the firm's SalesReps be interviewed or merely present their account overviews?

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