Thursday, May 24, 2012

Should Modular Home Factory Reps Work From Home?

There is a debate among modular home managers about whether it’s better to have sales reps live in the territory they serve or work from a central sales office and make sales trips periodically through their sales area.  A lot of factories have a mixture of both but if the truth be told, most sales managers would like to have their reps close to the office where they can be watched and monitored.  UGH!

But if a modular factory sales manager thinks that having home-office based sales reps will work for the factory, here are some recommendations:
  • Don’t hire a rep for a home-office situation who can’t prove they’ve been successful at it in the past.
  • Some sales reps need the support and camaraderie associated with an office environment. Others aren’t capable of working from home due to lack of discipline or motivation.  Still others don’t have the knowledge, experience or skills to get the job done.  Make sure you know all the strengths and weaknesses of your own reps and anyone you are looking at hiring.
  • If the sales manager requires a fair amount of time in the office, then no one should be based at home. Maybe a day a week, fine, but no more than that.
  • Don’t let a good rep strong-arm you into allowing them to transition to a home-based office unless you’re certain they’ll get the selling job done.
  • Make sure you’ve got the right sales performance measurement system in place.  You need to be able to spot trends in individual performance before they impact your forecast.
  • If you’re going to have reps working from home, provide them with the equipment they need, including hardware (for example, a backup hard drive), the appropriate sales CRM software, a digital camera and a company supplied laptop and portable printer.

The biggest challenge is working out the metrics that will show which sales rep is able to be successful from home and which ones are better working in an office environment.


Anonymous said...

I have yet to figure out the modular home industry's business models. The closest manufacturing plant to me is more than 150 miles. Why would I want to deal with a company or sales representative that far away?

The industry needs to have sales reps assigned to territories and require them to live in that area. They can develop a better relationship with builders, realtors and home buyers by being close by and accessable. They should work strictly on commission.

Randy said...

Wow, I do not even know where to start with a comment like the above. 150 miles is damn close!!! Let's see at about $5m per factory, I think it makes great sense to have a factory every 50 miles or so?? Spare me. As for being only on commission...As a 30 year veteran of this business that is silly, you would never get any reps!! What kind of income would a rep have had over the last 3 years? What about all the work that goes into the average sale to see it fall apart thru no fault of the rep. Today with the way permitting and approvals and financing is handled it could take 6 months before you would see a pay day and that's closes. I better stop here.