I worked with the Lubricants-Downstream division of Shell. My role was akin to that of a Key Account Manager. In order to understand this, one must realize that the work at Shell Lubricants division is divided into 2 units as B2B & B2C. In both departments, the distributor is the key stakeholder who acts as a dealer of Shell lubricants to customers. Working with the B2B team, I was involved in consulting one of Shell’s distributor for an end to end activities.
First Impressions @ work:
The on-boarding process was very smooth and we were given 3 days briefing at Delhi, about the project background & deliverables to be submitted before being sent to the distributor location. Shell gives a lot of emphasis on safety of employees and value work-life balance. These are two rare qualities of Shell which I liked the most.
I have been assigned to the project in B2B sales & marketing role in Coimbatore. The project is to increase the distributor sales representative productivity by developing new sustainable lead generation & lead qualification process. It also states that we need to decrease cycle time of Sales Conversion Cycle & increase the Hit Rate.
Most interesting and unique aspect and challenges faced over the course of the internship:
Most interesting aspect of this project is it’s not only suggesting new ideas but it involves the whole cycle of suggesting new innovative ideas & implementation on the ground and see the impact of your effort on the company. The main challenges faced in the project is since I am working for a distributor who is in the family-owned business for the past 20 years, convincing them to adopt the new approaches & show value in the same. Another major challenge is getting buy in or mind share from distributor sales representative to spend time on your project and keep him motivated throughout the project.
Differences w.r.t. previous roles and work environment at the corporates:
In my earlier organizations at Honda or ZS Associates, I do not find must resistance from the colleagues or project team since everyone with whom I was working is from a similar education background. Whereas at Shell I was needed to work with multiple stakeholders ranging in designation from Vice president with great educational background to a Sales representative who just completed 12th class. And in my earlier organizational roles, I am working at my own company colleagues whereas at Shell I worked with distributor workforce who are employees of a different company. So, in this case, it was challenging to overcome the resistance from the distributor team and getting mind share from them.
Broad takeaways from the internship:
My broad takeaways would be working with multiple stakeholders with different backgrounds and learning about the typical B2B selling process on the ground. Other major takeaways would be how leads are generated & qualified in B2B industry.
A piece of advice to the incoming PGP batch:
The best advice I can give to the incoming PGP batch is that you should come out of your comfort zone and push your limits. I would suggest everyone to be proactive rather than waiting for delegation of work. Do not shy away to take initiatives, company management always like people who can take initiatives and put an effort in implementation even though it is not successful. Take feedback from every stakeholder at as many instances as possible and try improving the same. I am reminded of famous quotation “Taking initiative pays off. It is hard to visualize someone as a leader if he or she is always waiting to be told what to do. Be ready to take the responsibility.”