Field Trainer Co-Travels With New Hires
Feature Story – By Cheryl Bucina
Your goal is to demonstrate and explain everything you do to prepare and execute your sales calls.
What was the last big purchase you made? A house, a new electronic gadget or maybe a car? Before you invested your hard-earned money, you wanted to ensure you would enjoy the experience your new purchase provides you, right?
Having the opportunity to be in the role of field trainer is similar. Before making the leap into a leadership role and the responsibility of leading a team, the field trainer role allows you to experience several aspects of what’s involved in leading a team, like seeing if you enjoy the experience before making a big purchase.
One of the largest parts of a manager or leader’s role requires being on the road conducting co-travels with your team. Now that you are a field trainer, you can experience this opportunity for yourself.
At Bausch Health, our field trainers are required to co-travel with new hires on two separate occasions. The first co-travel takes place during the new hire’s home study. Each new hire travels to their field trainer’s territory for two to three days. The second co-travel takes place approximately six months after the new hire’s start date.
Let’s focus on the first co-travel day and how you as the field trainer can partner with your new hire to prepare them for success in their new territory. The key is “see one, do one.”
Co-Travel Day One:
Your goal is to demonstrate and explain everything you do to prepare and execute your sales calls. Show your new hire how you use your data to analyze your territory and prepare a pre-call plan. Tell them the objective you want to accomplish on each sales call. Share the marketing tools you have selected to utilize and why.
Before you meet with each customer, verbalize your call in the car to the new hire so they can hear how you will open the call, use questions to uncover customer needs, position product messaging to meet those needs and, of course, how you will gain the customer’s commitment to follow through on your ask.
After each sales call, be sure to demonstrate to the new hire the importance of self-evaluating your call to see if you met your call objective. If you met your call objective, be sure to point out what went well. If you did not meet your call objective, discuss with the new hire what your post-call plan is for the next call.
Co-Travel Day Two:
Remember the key is “see one, do one.” On co-travel day one, you demonstrated and explained what good looks like to your new hire so they could see how to be successful in planning and executing their sales calls. Day Two is the opportunity for you to observe what your new hire has learned.
For your new hire to be successful in their new territory, they will have to learn how to self-assess their choices.
Hand over your iPad/laptop and ask them to show you how to pull up data and develop call objectives. Ask them what marketing tools will accomplish this objective. Have them practice verbalizing each step of the sales call.
Remember to provide your new hire continuous feedback during this process. If they are unsure how to do something, remind them of the first step and give them a moment to think and practice. For your new hire to be successful in their new territory, they will have to learn how to self-assess their choices.
To provide you examples of how this can be effective for your role as a field trainer, I asked field trainers from our team to share how they utilize this approach with new hires.
Here is an example of how Josette Azzaro, Bausch+Lomb Pharma field trainer, has implemented this process with her new hires.
“I have learned the more the new hire talks the more I learn! Keep the individual engaged and involved in the learning process and you will have better outcomes,” she said. “A hands-on approach works best when training individuals. Let them manipulate your iPad, set up the call and utilize your data. Ask them questions after each call, such as, how do you feel the call went? Did you understand the doctor’s questions? How would you have answered the question, or what marketing messages or resources could have been utilized and why?
“Asking questions not only helps the new hire but also me as a trainer,” she added. “I learn what the individual gained from the conversation or learning exercise and what was not. I can gauge the knowledge level of the new hire and work on areas of development. The more approaches that are utilized to educate, the better the outcomes!”
Munish Verma, Bausch+Lomb Pharma field trainer, has also utilized this approach when co-traveling with new hires.
“I understand that the more we practice verbalizing our products, the more confident we get with our conversations. My goal when I am co-traveling with new hires is to spend as much time possible on practicing verbalizing sales calls,” he said. “We progress from what good looks like in a training environment to what real-world scenarios will be encountered in their own territory. We look at pre-call plans by reviewing data, resources to utilize and objections that may arise during a customer conversation.
“Listening to the new hire practice sales scenarios will help identify gaps in their skills and allows me to customize their training to be the most helpful for them,” he added. “Practicing before a call and the different objections that may arise have prepared my new hires to have more confident conversations in the field.”
Wrapping It Up
After your co-travel days with your new hires are complete, ask yourself, what did my new hire learn and do differently? Did I provide continuous feedback for them to continue on a path to success?
Co-travel field time allows you as the field trainer the opportunity to experience what it is like to coach and develop a new sales representative. As a field trainer, these co-travel experiences will help you discover if pursuing a leadership role is in your future.
Cheryl Bucina is director, learning and development, for Bausch+Lomb, Pharma and Vision Care. Email Cheryl at email@example.com.