Rookies Recognized by PSS

Edition: December 2002 - Vol 10 Number 12
Article#: 1392
Author: Repertoire

Most rookie sales reps have been there: Nibbling cheesecake at the national sales meeting, they watch as the tough, seasoned veterans – the reps who own their accounts and have done so for the past 20 years – snag all the awards. The rookies can only dream of the day when they will be up there accepting those awards.

PSS doesn’t want them to have to wait so long.

Long recognized for hiring inexperienced salespeople straight out of college and giving them lots of training and responsibility in the field, PSS has thrived on a culture of youth and inexperience. But times have changed.

“When our objective was to be the country’s first national physician supply company, we hired a bunch of young people straight out of college and plugged them everywhere,” says Scott Helfrich, vice president of strategic sales development. “That was our primary method of growth.”

But today, the young reps who were hired during the “Wild West” days of expansion and pioneering have matured, and now drive the business. In a maturing culture, it is easy to develop programs just for the veterans and to lose sight of the new crop coming up. Recognizing that possibility, PSS has developed a recognition program just for rookies (that is, reps who have been selling in the industry three years or less) while maintaining a strong regimen of training and mentoring for all reps.

Maintaining the Balance

“Rookies provide excellent balance in our approach to growing market share,” says Helfrich. In fact, PSS has about 200 of them. They’re aggressive and full of energy, and they help motivate some of the vets, he says. What’s more, they make up a strong “bench” to position PSS for growth in the future. “An unexpected benefit from having rookies is the mentoring and partnering that takes place between them and the veterans,” says Helfrich.

“But rookies need recognition, just as everyone else does,” he adds. “Yes, what you pay people is important. So are the promotions, the prizes and other things. But people want to know that you care about them, that they’re an integral part of the organization, and that they’ll be around a long time. Our inexperienced people need to feel like that, just as our tenured people do.”

PSS’s Rookie of the Year program “is a way of going back to where we started, and making sure we’re teaching and helping inexperienced people while they bring in incremental business,” says Helfrich. PSS has taken several of its programs and tailored awards specifically for rookies. They include:

· Top Rookie in SRx, the disease management program.

· Top Rookie in the CLIA-Waived program, for physician office labs.

· Top Rookie in Can-Do, PSS’s premier incentive travel program for the sale of capital equipment.

· Top Rookie in the Gross Profit Dollar Program, a program put together with assistance from Spacelabs Burdick, Welch Allyn, Becton Dickinson and PSS private-label manufacturers. The program incorporates specific learning objectives, supported by the sale of certain products and the rookies’ understanding of their application.

In addition, the company has combined all these programs, as well as one other measure – highest percentage above plan -- to name an overall Rookie of the Year.

“As a rookie, now you have your own level in terms of being able to participate,” says Helfrich. “So we’ve taken the existing programs and given inexperienced people an opportunity to be rewarded.”


At the PSS National Sales Meeting, held in conjunction with HIDA 2002 in Chicago recently, Ben McClelland, PSS Western Region, was named Rookie of the Year. Other winners were:

· Scott Sinclair, PSS Chicago (SRx).

· Rene Torres, PSS San Antonio (Can-Do).

· Dave Gardner, PSS Kansas City (CLIA-Waived).

· Sean Miller, PSS San Antonio (Top Gross Profit Dollar).

In addition, Jon Ashworth from PSS San Francisco was awarded Top Trainer, based on the performance of the rookies in his area.

Totaling all the results, PSS named its Top 10 Rookies (actually, 11, because there was a tie for 10th):

· First place: Ben McClelland, PSS Southern Califonia

· Second place: Darren Grushoff, PSS Florida .

· Third place: Tom Small, PSS New England.

· Fourth place: Rachel Hall, PSS Raleigh.

· Fifth place: Rick Braun, PSS St. Petersburg.

· Sixth place: Jason Thomas, PSS Richmond.

· Seventh place: Michael Vega, PSS St. Petersburg.

· Eighth place: Andy Barrows, PSS Memphis.

· Ninth place: Troy Sloneker, PSS Phoenix.

· Tenth place (tied): Janelle Moore, PSS Dallas.

· Tenth place (tied): Matt Burns, PSS Phoenix.