MYPRODUCT10 Transform Weakness in Strength

1.Situation

One of the best definitions I know for a good manager is the following: a good manager has the ability to analyse and to synthesize, the science to transform conclusions into an action plan, the determination in implementing this plan and diplomacy to receive support from all the people involved in the project.

I often looked in the mirror of this description and I questioned myself what I might miss to be a good manager.

2.Task

The sale of veterinary products to the community of veterinarians involves, as a rule, technical competences resulted from the practice as a veterinary doctor or information obtained be graduating the veterinary medicine faculty. Without these anchors it is difficult to address commercial or technical discussions with a veterinarian.

At my 2010 debut as a sales manager responsible for managing the sales and marketing team on the veterinary product portfolio distributed by Veteco, I went through the above mentioned introspection and I realized my main weakness: the lack of anchors might place me as a non-trustable partner in relation with veterinary doctors, no matter how well prepared I was on business, commercial, marketing, or how many MBAs or faculties I had graduated.

This represented a key problem that required a quick and complete solution.

3.Action

It has been clear to me from the beginning that in order to strengthen the reputation of Veteco in the market it is mandatory for the company to have a strong technical voice for presenting and supporting in front of the veterinary community all the problems, situations, technical and medical advices that are related to the use of our products.

The first temptation was to find a Technical Medical Manager from outside the company. But I looked inside the company and I was surprised to find a sales agent whose profile recommended him for this position. Graduate of veterinary medicine faculty, practitioner of this profession before entering the sales area, attracted by medical specialized themes and technical issues, having socializing and presentation skills.

We decided that he should continue as a sales agent for a while, but simultaneously to start exercise the responsibilities of Technical Medical Manager in the company and following after a certain period to promote in the new position.

We have started actions to strengthen its professional presence on the medical and technical area through articles signed by him in specialized publications, presentations in front of veterinarians at the launch of new products, technical trainings at Merial, product trainings for Veteco sales agents and distributors agents, active participation in regional technical meetings with Merial and its distributors and, last but not least, position as the company’s unique interlocutor in relation to veterinarians on technical and medical issues.

4.Results

Doubled by his continuous study and dedication to his profession, this plan proved exceptional results, Dr Laszlo Dane – Technical Medical Manager Veteco being today one of the most authorized voices from Romania in companion animals segment, respected by veterinary community and trustful source for medical professional advices and recommendations.

5.Key Learnings

This situation is an eloquent example of transforming a punctual managerial weakness into a valuable asset in a way that company’s performance and reputation are strengthened and not affected.

You must know as a manager your strong and weak points. Try to find solutions to boost your strengths and compensate for the weaknesses. Be open and accept you are not a perfect manager. It is the first and most important step. Then everything is perfectible if there is determination and interest.

Notification: MYPRODUCT reflects my real professional experience and expertise as well as my subjectivity. I do have a profound respect for all the companies I collaborated to and for all the people I worked with. It is not my intention to approach any sensitive, confidential or offending information related to companies, projects or people. If you the reader deduct or recognise companies, projects or people in my examples, I kindly ask you to respect MYPRODUCT and my professional and ethic approach and to not share any detail, information, situation, name, company