IIM Shillong – That Eureka Moment!
When you first come to a B school, you have certain plans about how you are going to be more productive, how you will make the most of this opportunity, how you will brainstorm with your fellow colleagues and come out with some really innovative solution to a persisting problem, how you will be able to gain some really good insights with case discussions taking place in the classroom and so on. However, you somehow survive your first year and ponder whether it was all worth it? And have I really achieved what I came here for? As in the rest of the cases, you will be seldom satisfied and pledge to commit and work more for yourself.
Fast forward a year and you find yourself sitting in the classroom, still questioning yourself whether you will be needing and applying this stuff when you graduate when you start your corporate journey. A couple more lectures pass, and suddenly you have your eureka moment. YES! this is going to really help me somewhere down the line and provide me that extra edge and flair, which people often associate with IIMs. A similar thing happened to me in a B2B Marketing session.
After spending around two years working in manufacturing firms, I had the perception that every deal the sourcing guy strikes is mainly based on price. Its easy for firms to float a tender, shortlist a couple of suppliers and start a ‘Gladiator Styled Combat’, watch them fight over prices while the buyer enjoys his bucket of popcorn. Both the ‘Gladiators’ are gravely injured, only one survives and barely so. This is a common practice which I had experienced while working, and it had blinded my view. A string of sessions made me realise that when it comes to B2B selling, there is so much more at work than just emotions, impulses and brand affinity. It is so much more value driven and only utility & functionality of the product helps you forge long term, fruitful relationships. Making the consumer realise about the value of the product in question and how it will not only serve the required function but fetch additional revenues is not an easy job. However, once you get hold of the things, selling becomes fairly easy. But a whole host of other factors also matter – sales channel, sales executives, dealers etc. Execution is important as it can make or break the deal, irrespective of how good your product actually is. This is of course not to say that price is secondary or something which is not that important. By discussing the value that the product offers and how it can affect your top line by X %, you shift the course of the dialogue which is focused on how you arrived on that figure. And eventually the customer realises through the dialogue, that it actually will increase his/her productivity and top line. Arriving and digging up the numbers which will help you in communicating the value is the toughest aspect. And this is when we as managers come into the picture.
My prior experience with the manufacturing industry and particularly with the purchase department, has helped me to reflect and relate with the stuff which was discussed in the class. It is seldom that a particular subject holds your attention till the end, and more so in the age of ‘millennials’. But kudos to the facilitator, Mr. Rajesh Pandit for keeping us all engaged with his humour and insightful illustrations. Attending this course, made me realise that this is what B Schools are meant to do. Inspire minds to come up with innovative solutions. As someone rightly said “Marketing is all about making your customers feel smart about the product that they have chosen”
Which ABG company would you like to work for and why?
I would like to work with Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited. Fashion and Retail Industry is yet to realise its full potential and in the years to come, data analytics & digital marketing will play a very important role in acquiring and sustaining customer relationships. Since my interest lies in these fields, I would prefer working for the same.
PGP 2nd Year