COVID-19 Response Update: How SPI is Keeping Field Sales Agents Safe During Summer Surge

SPI led the US in corporate responses to defining safety standards and protocols for field operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. We worked directly with public health departments and the CDC to determine under what circumstances field representatives could safely be in the field and interact with customers. That commitment to safety allowed successful field relaunches into more than 200 US markets while protecting our personnel and customers.

Field Sales and the Delta Variant

After vaccinations became readily available, like most companies, we hoped to begin the journey back to normalcy. Unfortunately, case counts have increased dramatically since May as a new surge of COVID, fueled by the Delta variant, has ravaged the less vaccinated areas of the country.

There’s no getting around it… face-to-face selling during a pandemic poses unique challenges. As a sales outsourcing company, the clients we sell for have exceptionally high expectations around brand integrity.  Maintaining that integrity along with rigorous safety standards as highly contagious variants of COVID-19 continue to move through the population, particularly among the unvaccinated, drives us to continuously re-evaluate and reassess our approach to safe field sales operations in hundreds of markets across the US.   

SPI Maintains Health and Safety as #1 Priority

SPI’s executive leadership team, along with a specialized internal COVID task force, is dedicated to ensuring the health and safety of our own team as well as the communities in which we operate. Since the beginning of the pandemic, SPI has adapted and revised our COVID emergency response based on the conditions in the markets we serve. 

SPI’s Recommendations for Safe Field Sales Protocol During Surge

Increasing COVID case counts post-vaccine availability this summer prompted us to revisit our approach. We made the following changes and recommend any field sales organization consider doing the same:

  • Push all employees, especially field agents, to be fully vaccinated. We found a combination of positive encouragement, including incentives and constant engagement on the subject, helped drive higher vaccination rates.

  • In 2020, we implemented a COVID symptom tracker that agents must use each day before heading out into the field, reporting any sign of illness before engaging with customers, and staying home until well. Even for fully vaccinated reps, this remains in place since recent data shows vaccinated individuals can still catch COVID and transmit the virus, even if they don’t get seriously ill themselves.

  • Since we now know that the Delta variant poses risk to vaccinated people who can still spread the virus, we still require all of our field agents to wear SPI-approved KN95 masks regardless of vaccination status. 

  • When case counts eclipse 25 per 100K population on a 7-day rolling average for a consistent period of time, NIH and CDC guidance still applies: it is time for unvaccinated individuals to be removed from the field until the case counts drop. 

  • Remember, case counts are driven by testing. With less testing, outbreaks are happening without as much advance notice. Watch Covid ICU hospitalizations and ICU capacity. Often, you’ll see evidence of outbreaks there before the case counts are consistently high.

  • Consider required COVID testing on a weekly or biweekly basis for anyone who is still unvaccinated but engaging with customers. As case counts increase in their areas, this becomes even more important.

  • Keep communication channels open. Do your research, and follow the scientific guidance especially as new information is discovered. For the most reliable, up-to-date information about COVID-19, we suggest consulting the CDC’s Covid Data Tracker and Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.


Need help safely operating your field sales team during COVID-19? Reach out to SPI to see how we can help.