Breaking into a new territory often requires obtaining government approval--a Byzantine process that can hold up sales. To help speed up entry into a new market, Infiltrator Systems, in Old Saybrook, Conn., has its sales representatives call on the environmental regulators that issue permits for the company's systems.
"We try to find out what makes the program in their area tick, what their beliefs are about how septic systems work, and what their problems are," explains Roy Moore, vice-president of manufacturing.
To adequately address regulators' needs, sales representatives go through an intensive training course. Engineer Randy May spends time with representatives in the field so that they can learn the basics of installation procedures. They also travel with more experienced salespeople and visit regulators with them. "We don't expect them to be effective for six months to a year," says Moore. "It's a big investment." But it brings in big returns: Infiltrator Systems' sales topped $60 million in 1997.