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Caselet 1: All In a Day’s

Work Hannah Johanson manages nine sales representatives in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The majority of her sales reps are in their twenties and early thirties. Hannah was promoted to a sales manager’s position, not so much because of her sales skills but because of her outgoing, caring personality. In some management circles, she is known as “Helpful Hannah” or “Happy Hannah” because of her people skills. Hannah isn’t feeling very happy right now, though. She has scheduled meetings with two of her representatives to discuss their sales goals. The first meeting will be with one of her younger sales representatives, Ella Lynn. Ella is considered to have good sales skills and is very independent. However, at times she can be a bit outspoken. In fact, after just six months with the company, she sent the vice president of sales an e-mail complaining that the vehicles the sales force drives are “gas-guzzling SUV hogs.” “We don’t need cars this large when all we are carrying is ourselves,” the e-mail read. “Be a leader! Set the example, be green—buy us hybrids.” This action certainly raised eyebrows around the company and got people talking. By accident Hannah happened to talk with Claire Mendosa, one of Ella’s larger customers over the weekend. Claire commented that she wasn’t sure if she liked the new PC camera system Ella had set up for her in place of Ella’s biweekly scheduled sales visits (although Ella had told her several of her other clients liked the cameras). Claire told Hannah that Ella would visit once a month and then “link up” with her for a video sales call for the other visit. Moreover, Hannah had been calling on her account for two months, prior to setting up the cameras. All this was news to Hannah. In a series of premeeting e-mails with Hannah, Ella explained she had purchased the PC camera with her own money. She felt that the organization’s stewardship of the environment was poor,

and she was doing her part to cut down on the greenhouse effect. She had planned to tell Hannah this at their meeting. Ella believes that her “video visits” are as effective as being there “in person” and should be counted the same as making a physical call on a client as part of her goals. She says she has the sales to prove it. Hannah’s second meeting will be with Syd Vance. Syd has been with the company for three years and has had some up-and-down quarters. Everyone agrees that Syd needs to increase his number of new accounts as well as improve his “adequate” customer service ratings. Hannah has heard Syd say that he had been very busy and was really working hard. Syd commented that he would like Hannah’s help in establishing new goals that would help improve his performance.

Questions

1. If you were Hannah, how would you handle your meeting with Ella?

2. If you were Hannah, how would you approach your session with Syd?

3. What specific goals would you suggest for Ella and Syd to improve their performance?

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