From left to right: Dennis Mehas (Territory Manager NorCal-NV-UT), Margaret Armstrong (Territory Manager International Accounts), Steve Harp (Territory Manager), and Shane Nider (Territory Manager Northern Alberta).
Career Focus | The right “S” word
“I’m a safety expert,” politely corrected one of the Territory Managers (TMs) after having been asked how long it took to become a glove expert. “Gloves are the end result of what we do, but what we actually do is act as safety champions, helping our customers evaluate their workplaces to solve existing problems and make improvements for the future.”
From the outside looking in, the TM position has all the hallmarks of a traditional sales position; however, the work itself has very little to do with sales – that is simply the end result of the TMs’ efforts. “We act as the liaison between our distributors and the end user,” explained one TM. “We’re solution providers – promoting a culture of safety and helping end-users create safer workplaces.”
That’s really the crux of the TM’s role – performing on-site Advocacy Partnership Programs for end users and promoting a culture of safety. One TM admits he shows up to first meetings without any gloves at all.
“I’m not there to sell gloves,” he explained. “I’m there to solve safety issues and look for hazards the end user may not have caught. By arriving without any gloves at all, I can keep the conversation focused on safety and partnership towards a safer workplace.”
The Advocacy Partnership Program not only helps improve safety in workplaces, but also often results in cost savings.
A TM recounted a time he was touring a client’s facilities and discovered a part of the manufacturing process where employees were going through gloves at an exceedingly high rate. Upon further inspection, he found that it had been hard for the company to find a suitable glove because the task being performed had several hazards to protect against. Not only was cut resistance required, but also a high level of dexterity and protection against a very specific chemical.
The owner explained that they had no luck in finding a glove that could successfully tackle all hazards, so the solution was to change out the gloves as frequently as possible, at substantial cost to the company. The TM went straight to work brainstorming different gloves for the job. He brought back several for the company to trial and the gloves they ended up adopting provided over 50% more use than the former gloves, resulting in better safety and substantial cost savings.
It was the late Steve Jobs’ philosophy that business doesn’t win by selling people what they want, business wins by selling people what they need – even if they don’t know they need it yet! That’s essentially the business model followed by TMs. Getting to know the customer, getting to know their business, and then guiding the safety conversation.
Compared to the old inside-out sales philosophy of “how can I sell more gloves?” the TMs take a more holistic, outside-in approach that results in partnership and asking, “how can we improve safety?”.
One TM is particularly proud of his first visit to a mushroom grower where, after a careful analysis of the manufacturing process, he discovered a hazard that had been completely overlooked. Several gloves were trialed and one ultimately adopted, drastically decreasing the incidence of injury.
Margaret Armstrong, Territory Manager International Accounts, sits down with a member of the marketing team to talk about her role.
About the Role | Territory Manager
In California, it’s the traffic. In Atlantic Canada, it’s maintaining a stellar reputation amongst a small and highly connected group of customers. In international accounts, it’s coming off an all-night flight and heading straight to a client meeting in a foreign country. Regardless the challenges, all TMs could agree that they love what they do and the company they work for.
“Much like anything, you’ll get out of this position what you put into it,” commented one TM. “It’s a relationship business, so you have to invest the time into developing and nurturing those relationships to see results. If you don’t put in the work, you won’t get much back; but if you do, you’ll be really impressed with the results.”
Building relationships means keeping in constant contact with both customers and prospects – the service doesn’t end with one visit.
To stay top-of-mind with her customers and prospects, one TM flies over 100,000 miles a year! Another spent almost two years developing and cultivating a relationship with a prospect before they became a customer. This long lead time is more typical than exceptional within the industry, which is why TMs must be diligent, focused, and customer-centric to succeed in the role.
As the face of the company, the impression TMs leave can make or break the customer’s relationship with the entire company. That’s why training is paramount. TMs must not only be product experts, but also safety experts in order to earn the trust of customers and develop the meaningful relationships that create long lasting partnerships. The training TMs receive is top-notch, ensuring they are not simply presenting themselves as safety experts, but that they actually are safety experts.
A TM gleefully recounted a time when a client mistakenly thought he had been working in the safety industry for decades. The length of time he’d been working in the industry? 90 days.
About the Company | Working at Superior Glove
Overwhelmingly, TMs cited the family-based culture as the best part about working for Superior Glove.
One TM recalled a time when she and company president and owner, Tony Geng, were having dinner in Germany at the home of a large yarn supplier. The supplier asked her, “So, do you work for Tony?” As she nodded her head yes, Tony politely interjected with, “No, she works with me.” Although it was years ago, she still remembers that encounter and how it made her feel like she was truly part of a family.
“If I didn’t know Superior Glove was a large company, I wouldn’t know it’s a large company,” commented one TM. “There is such a warm, welcoming atmosphere. The you’re-a-part-of-our-family bit is not a bit, it’s how Superior Glove treats its employees.”
In addition to the welcoming, family atmosphere, TMs also touted Superior Glove’s stellar reputation within the industry. New and seasoned reps alike agreed that in the marketplace, Superior Glove is one of the most trusted names in quality, service, and safety.
Join Our Family
Superior Glove is always looking for candidates that are passionate about safety and have the relationship-building skills needed to succeed as a Territory Manager. Click the button below to learn more about our company and view our open positions.
We look forward to welcoming you to the Superior Glove family!