Donald Mofokeng, Regional Sales Manager in South Africa, came to the HemoCue Sales team with a background in lab science and a drive to help people. He loves the daily challenges of leading a sales team and is motivated by knowing that working hard means more people will have access to HemoCue’s life-supporting technology in resource-poor settings. Read more about how Donald transformed from lab tech to award-winning salesperson in just two years.
I lead a team of five area sales managers who cover four provinces in South Africa. Basically, I oversee the team’s day-to-day sales activities and ensure that my team stays motivated. I help them remove roadblocks and sort out challenges that arise, and I make sure we use company time and resources to move us toward achieving our objectives. For instance, I frequently accompany area sales managers to crucial meetings with the customers to provide support. Or I might take action to assist the team to address any sales objective shortfall. Of course, all of this requires working collaboratively across functions. Of all my responsibilities, I most enjoy traveling to see different customers across the country.
In South Africa, we have a fair amount of public healthcare facilities catering to rural and underprivileged communities. Most people out in these areas don’t have the luxury of having a lab next to where they live. They sometimes need to choose between paying for transport to the clinic and buying food with the little money they have. I sleep well at night knowing that getting our point-of-care analyzers to these facilities is helping patients.
I’m a person who likes to try new things. I started out as a medical technologist in 2001, and then qualified as a hematology technologist and worked in a hematology laboratory. To diversify my knowledge, I moved to a clinical pathology laboratory, then a molecular laboratory.
I got to the point where I was pretty much doing everything a lab manager would do, and I felt I had hit a ceiling. My role included liaising with our suppliers, and that’s where my interests started to expand. I’ve always really liked taking care of patients, and I realized that I could continue to help people outside the laboratory by directly providing innovative solutions to healthcare facilities.
I was using HemoCue’s products in the lab, and the HemoCue representatives I worked with were very professional. They really cared about us as their customer, and they really cared about the patients, which made me think I’d like to eventually work for HemoCue someday. That was 10 years ago. Before joining HemoCue, the longest I had stayed with a certain company was six years. What has kept me here is the excitement of the new challenges that come every day.
I came to HemoCue with a strong medical device background from the lab, but I had zero experience in sales. Within two years, I was Area Sales Manager of the Year. I’m really proud of that. When I was hired, I made it my first priority to use every opportunity to learn as much as I could from my colleagues and from the company-offered courses so I’d be comfortable and confident when I went out to sell.
I also raised my hand and said, “I can do it” any time my manager wanted to delegate anything. And if I saw an opportunity to assist with something, I would go ahead and do it without being asked. Then I applied for the regional sales manager post because it would give me a team to work with. That was in 2019, and I haven’t looked back since. I feel fortunate to be part of Danaher because it means I’ll continue to have opportunities to learn and grow.
I like to collaborate and, luckily, in my job, I collaborate a lot. We move as a team, and as the team leader, I work hard to create a safe space where everyone is willing to speak their mind, share their ideas and challenges, and work toward solutions together. I always want to hear the thoughts of the people on my team before I start talking about what I think. Having open communication helps gain trust and buy-in, and it also encourages innovative ideas. I’m also always trying to learn more about the capabilities and potential of the people on my team because I want to find alignment between what they are good at and what the company needs and help nourish that.
I want to expand my impact. Though I’ve been with HemoCue for 10 years, I’m not comfortable doing only one thing for a very long time. I like being in a position where I’m able to pick up on potential opportunities for improving the company, and I want to be able to act on these ideas. For example, recently in South Africa, we’ve noticed an interesting trend where more professional nurses are acquiring clinics, and more medical laboratory technologists are starting to own labs. And we think this trend will continue. Because of this changing landscape, we are now talking to customers—nurses and technologists—that we’ve never spoken to before, and we are doing it in a very systematic way. This approach is in the infancy stage, but I know it’s going to grow and because we are on top of it, the company will grow too. That’s exciting.