In an interactive session with the students of TAPMI, Sanjeev Marya, Associate Vice President, Key Accounts of Coca-Cola India, outlined the major focus areas with regards to marketing, sales, distribution and strategy.
Mr. Sanjeev Marya initiated the session by questioning the difference between a customer and consumer. He expressed the importance of understanding the behavior of customers, quoting – “There are many books on consumer behavior but none on customer behavior.” He urged the Management students to visit retail stores personally and converse with customers so as to get a better understanding of their thought process and behavior. “Unless you understand the mind of the person you want to sell it to, you can’t sell.” He said.
Moving forward, he broached the subject of sales and distribution. The guest said it was critical, as a salesperson to gather as much data as possible about the target market and use that data to apply appropriate marketing and sales strategies. “As a salesperson, you are in charge of knowing what to sell, where to sell and how to sell.” He said. He also commented on the cooperative relationship between advertising and distribution, emphasizing that product availability is of utmost importance.
Mr. Marya also spoke about the importance of selecting and retaining an efficient distributor. “If an area manager is lost, nothing is lost. But if a distributor is lost, everything is lost.” He said, quoting a 20% attrition rate among distributors. He emphasized the key point to be kept in mind while selecting a distributor – the distributor’s ownership of assets. Every distributor, the guest said has to invest in three major resources – Manpower, Storage and Transportation. Retaining a distributor involves strategizing and promising a higher return on the said three investments.
Mr. Marya concluded the session by reiterating the importance of keeping customers happy as they bring the products to the consumers and help build a company’s consumer base. He also touched upon cost management as a challenge in sales and distribution and the need to plan investments accordingly.