Thursday, March 8, 2012

Coming of Age of the SalesProfessional in India

Rocket Singh the salesman was an impressive celluloid effort by one of Indias largest production house with one of India's most promising actors at lead and a sensible director at the helm of the mega phone. Now this is not a blog about Bollywood, but a movie with sales as a subject in the backdrop on the second fastest growing economy in the world and you can begin to assume the importance of the Sales Profession.

In India during the 80's and thru the 1990's the only respectable professional status that an average middle class family wished upon their children was a PERMANENT Government desk job. ( Clerk ) , a doctor,engineer. These three options made the prospects of grooms positioned as most eligible bachelors and bridegrooms father certain of a stable life for their daughters.

If the above wasnt to be then there were secondary professions like a practicing advocate, teaching, journalism or any other itsy bitsy professional.

But Sales and the role of a salesman was viewed as a a condemned professional status of an unfit graduate ( unfit for the above list of professions by the then society ).

But then in India things started to change.

The 80s saw the emergence of the never say die persuasive "Eureka Forbes" sales man armed with a demo unit and loads of confidence hit the road with a vengeance.

During the late 80's the nattily dressed , white shirt , dark trousers and a tie symbolized the coming of age of a salesman. A leather bag and 5 appointments with the doctor the "Medical Representative" soon became the symbol of salesman.

The early 90's saw a new breed of companies building their companies thru a quintessential sales culture. A breeding ground for the culture which became iconic with superlatives like "Hire a Xerox professional- They understand sales process like no other " or "HCL guys win a sales campaign at any cost " ( Mostly pass on the price advantage when all tactics fail"

The rise of the indomitable HCL Sales Professional was truly remarkable in the corporate echelons.HCL-HP during the early 1990 was the bluest of the bluechips trading on the bourses. HCL alongside its compatriots Wipro Infotech started the practice of inducing cream of talents for their topmost job- An entry to scale the sales management ladder..

This prompted a lot of FMCG, Office Automation and consumer focused companies began hiring sales professional prospects from prestigious B Schools and Tech Varsities.

Today India is though not in the same league of USA in terms of being a uber capitalistic market for Sales Czars to create and rule their clientele fiefdoms , India sure is the backoffice base for most technology and marketing companies to run their global sales operations from.

A few of our undergraduates among our children are christening their sales abilities by being baptized by fire to manage sales cycle 1,2,3,4,5 online and pass the baton to their US field reps to close sophisticated IT Solutions for firms such as IBM,DEL,HP, Oracle & SAP.

At the field the top B school grads are electing sales careers & calling on CXX folks with telling impact. In the growing emergence of India as an economic super power the once pesky sales professional is coming of age .

The advent of social networks and smart data analytics is paving way for the math number crunching graduate to apply himself contextually to sales scenarios and deliver incisive impact. Business are benefiting thus by blooding young talents and even paying them a premium.

But then , Sales Profession is still to shake of the image of the Tamil Brahmin families hell bent on having their children soar in intellectually stimulating careers such as Healthcare , SW Engineering and academics . I believe that in times to come , in a world increasingly wired by social networks the most sociable sales professional is best equipped to leverage the prowess she|he has at wielding social intelligence beyond brainy intellectual quotient. Its an age when the duo of Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence combine to create markets and serve them handsomely with the products that our already rich Intellectual Quotient High folks build.

More needs to happen beyond a liberal fathers encouragement supportive and in some cases egging his daughter to a high quality sales jobs at midnight.

Its also time to pay the high quality work put in by high quality sales leaders with higher economic incentive as well as higher societal recognition - After all , arent they going to play a huge role at being architects of India's rise as a Global Economic Superpower ?

For that to happen in certain ways there need be strong foundations nurturing sales leadership as a part of main university curriculum and sales centers of excellence where sales process excellence is innovated in tune with market demands. More specifically a ethical way of selling business values based on the firm foundations of ethics and principles.

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