I wasn't ever the primary sales rep at my (former) brewery, but even in an ancillary capacity, I experienced enough of it to feel this guy's pain.
Unfortunately, there probably isn't a solution. Let's hope the colleges and universities continue to produce cannon fodder; meanwhile, I intend to curl up with a growler from the brewery down the way.
Death of a Brewery Salesman, by Matthew J. "Heff" Heffernan (DCBeer)
... It's a strange dynamic that leads many people to believe that being a beer rep is quite possibly the best job on the planet. That's what the buying public generally sees us doing: drinking beer on an expense account. They don't see us awake until all hours of the night building presentations to show at wholesaler meetings (which are often at 7am the next day). So they think this job is great. They don't see the truly unfortunate amount of time you have to spend analyzing sales data to make any sort of headway at retail, or with your wholesaler partners (about all of whom, I don't think it's any secret to anyone who knows me, I've openly had some very negative things to say about in the past, but we'll get to that in a minute). The public definitely doesn't see the embarrassing and regrettable conversations that sometimes go on out in the market or during a sales call. The horse trading, the sucking up, the falseness, agreeing when you actually disagree, smiling when you actually want to judo chop the person in the neck. These are some things I'm pretty good at. None of them are sexy, but I guess they do separate me from your average homebrewer. Still though, it's the cool shirt that must make them want me there. Or maybe the hope they will receive a cool shirt of their own simply by hosting?