Is that a squirrel or a well dressed rat !

Is that a squirrel or a well dressed rat !

Is that a squirrel or a well dressed rat !

You can’t be friends with a squirrel — a squirrel is just a rat with a cuter outfit,” Sarah Jessica Parker once quipped.

So why am I thinking of rats and squirrels? So first a disclaimer, I love all animals and I respect all professions and this reference is only to get your attention (😊) and use this as a metaphor so I hope you read this with the same spirit. 

So while both the rat and squirrel are rodent family the rat like to be indoors while a squirrel loves the outdoors. Their preference also gives them certain attributes which work best in their respective habitats. 

Recently in the past few engagements I have noticed that some sales organizations pick their inside sales / pre sales team members (rats) and make them field sales professionals (squirrels). Now while sales is sales and most of the attributes required are the same, assuming that someone who worked well in inside sales / pre sales will be as effective in field sales is not right. So the question is did you skill your rate to be a squirrel or did they just become well-dressed rats?

Field sales requires few attributes beyond the Inside sales / pre sales professionals cause while doing research, reaching out to the right buying influences with the right messaging or Valid Business Reason is important for both field sales is in the hot seat for the face to face engagement with the buyer vs the Inside sales / pre sales which sits behind a technology platform (e-mail / telephone). 

So just some information about squirrels and rats. Both are part of the rodent family and are intelligent creatures. In fact for many experiments related to brain laboratories often use rats. 

Rats are intelligent, can see in the dark and intuitively create rules to make decisions. 

The squirrel is the Native American symbol for preparation, trust and thriftiness. Squirrels are extremely intelligent creatures and are also tactful. They are known to put on elaborate bogus food burying displays to deceive onlookers. The fake burials are to trick potential thieves, such as other squirrels or birds, into thinking that they have stored their food stock there. 

Field sales professionals need to be comfortable with the outdoors, stay congruent to their brand positioning and should be able to navigate and network to find their way around in complex sales. They also need to be tactful and use their intelligence on doing the right things at the right time. Dealing with ambiguity of the outdoor realities is also a critical skill that they need to develop cause the impact of failure on cost of sales is much higher here. 

While grooming people for field sales it may be good to start them off from inside sales but as you transition them to the field they do need to learn the outside realities.

Do not let them be just well dressed rats but groom them to be the squirrels