Thursday, August 31, 2017

Talent Management- A strategy for the Aspiring Organizations

Organizations are required to make continuous efforts to ascertain that there are right people, at the right place, at the right time to accomplish its mission. Locating, recruiting, hiring, and developing the best talent is crucial, not just to support organization’s strategic planning, but also to contribute to a thriving work culture. Talent management is an organization's commitment to recruit, retain, and develop the most gifted and trained employees available in the job market.

While HR has been around since the dinosaurs, talent management is a relative newcomer. It is an important term as it comprises of the entire work process and systems that are related to retaining and developing a superior workforce. Failures in talent management are an ongoing foundation of pain for executives in modern organizations. Over the past generation, talent management practices, have by and large been dysfunctional, leading corporations to lurch from surpluses of talent to shortfalls to surpluses and back again.

An organization is able to attract and retain its best talent by entrusting its employees that they will have enormous opportunities to develop professionally within the organization. However, well before that an organization needs to be sure that it has the right pool of talent. Organizations, in order to never go wrong with the choice of talent and its management, need to follow simple process of Talent Management that is -

Step 1- Firstly, the organization needs to be aware of the type of talent that it requires to reach the goal of the organization. It is essential to align the talent management strategy with the business strategy of an organization.

Step 2-The Next step is to identify the essential skills set that each profile working for the organization requires. This step is achieved by structuring the levels of the organization and creating clear and coherent job profiles for each level.

Step 3-Later, the organization is required to identify the talent gaps within the system and to fill these gaps with the best suited talent.

Step 4-Once the right talent has been identified, the process of performance management needs to be applied, where the organization monitors the performance of each contributor and recognizes the achievements of its members.

Step 5-The last and the most important step of the entire process is managing the talent and retaining them with the organization. For this process to be effective, the talent needs to be provided with developmental opportunities and structured career paths.

Organizations with right set of tools and good talent management practices often have employees who are actively engaged and more satisfied with their roles. A strong and well aligned talent management culture also favorably impacts on how employees rate their organizations as places to work.

Ms. Priyanka Trakroo-Faculty

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

TA – TA Nano – A Shattered Dream?

‘Predicting future is Mission Impossible….. But not for the Gen X Nano’. If reports are to be believed, Nano will soon be discontinued in India owing to its falling sales and negligible market share. Introduced in 2008, Tata Nano swiftly became a global attraction. Despite its well-engineered design, Nano failed to transform the face of mobility in the country. This was primarily because of weak positioning, security attributes and lack of magnetizing marketing activities. Nevertheless, Tata Motors was quick to rejuvenate the product and re-introduce the Gen X Nano. In a market that is highly dominated by competing brands, Tata Nano created its own distinct image as a consequence of its pricing strategy. However, this fame was short-lived. Over the years, gaining market share and enhancing the bottom line has proved to be a daunting task for Gen X Nano.  Following are some of the most plausible reasons for Nano’s failure –
  • Branding – Tata Motors tried its best to create a positive brand image for the Gen X Nano. However, the organization failed to position the product on the basis of its style and comfort.

Despite Tata’s constant marketing gimmicks, the consumers continued to see Nano as a low cost ‘cheap’ product, an image that the company itself created in 2008.

  • Falling sales – Initially, Tata Motors was excited to see consumer’s positive response towards Gen X Nano. However, the organization failed to notice that Nano was again becoming a synonym to ‘Cheap’. Today, Nano sells less than 1,000 units on an average, which isn’t good news for a mass market car manufacturer (Financial Express Report, 2017).
  • Flanking attacks – Since its launch in the year 2008, the competing brands have also focused on revealing the dark side of Nano.  Competitors such as Maruti, Hyundai and many more have focused on ‘competitive advertising’ that showcased the weak points of Nano. This further strengthened the negative perceptions of the consumers.
  •  Availability of substitutes – With renowned individual brands such as Alto, Eon, Kwid, Datsun Go and many more, Tata Motors faces a stiff competition in the market. This is a roadblock that Nano is unable to overpower.
Regrettably, in a young and ambitious country like India, Nano was not the right recipe for success. With numerous challenges facing Nano, the future of Ratan Tata’s dream project appears to be in a fluid state.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Evolution of Sales as a functional area

A typical day in a salesman’s life starts with fixing appointments and following it up with meetings to close the leads generated with the help of the tele calling team. The trips in the city, the innumerable phone calls and finally filling of a Sales log, are highlights that mark the day. It’s a long & tedious day, but the efforts are all compensated by a sizeable salary & associated perks. There have been books written by umpteen star salesmen and management gurus on how to be a better salesman. Authors like Zig Ziglar have made millions by just selling their books on salesmanship.

Times are now changing and ‘sales’ is no longer the tedious set of activities it used to be before. The profile has received a massive upgradation in terms of the paraphernalia that has got associated with the job responsibility of a salesman, thereby rendering it a highly desirable profile across different industries. By paraphernalia, one tends to imagine equipments like gadgets and collaterals. Those are just some of the many. Sales calls are now done over Skype and video conferencing since travelling has become very time consuming these days. Detailed discussions are put in the form of bullet points and shared over emails formally, while multiple mini - discussions are followed up via informal WhatsApp conversations.

Sales earlier had connotations of personal selling, which required meeting clients on a regular basis to keep them connected, nowadays, there’s a team of pre-sales people who are responsible for all customer relationship activities. There are e-CRM softwares that assist the sales team to keep a track of the levels of interaction with a client pre & post sales closure. The after sales services are vital to ensure that the customer remains loyal and doesn’t start looking for options. This implies that just one salesman is not expected to be involved in the entire cycle from pre to post sales. He/she is assisted by a team from sales operations that are efficient in MIS management for all requirements of a client.

Digital platforms have further lessened the requirement of face to face interactions. Connecting with vendors via Twitter and ERP softwares, connecting with front end clients via CRM softwares has lowered the burden on a salesman, who is now just required to close leads and ensure customer satisfaction via provision of requisite services. We thus say that salesmanship has evolved to a level of “Consultative Selling” and “Relationship Selling”, where clients find it extremely convenient to remain in touch with their respective relationship managers to derive full benefit of the products purchased and services availed, after their initial interaction with the salesman. Thus we can say that the era of a Salesman has kind of come to an end and we can now talk of Business development managers, who bring revenue to their company and also ensure that the customer remains associated with their company such that the company can derive the Life Time Value from each of its customers.
Going further, in subsequent blogs, we will look into what terms like Consultative Selling and Life Time Value mean. Till then, be that bright spark that can help you succeed in all your endeavours.


A Craft called Digital Marketing

Social media, Search engine optimization, Pay per click, Websites, etc.. have become words/phrases used in common parlance. Yet there are many who are not tuned to these words. They may have access to smart phones and maybe watching videos or listening to music online, yet are they truly familiar with the business model of Digital Marketing?

So what according to them is digital marketing? Majority would answer with statements like “I can book tickets online”; “I can post pictures on Instagram”; or “I can Snap Chat or WhatsApp with my friends”. Yet the true meaning of Digital Marketing comes from the second word in this phrase, i.e “marketing”. Digital implies the online platforms that are at our disposal these days. Ranging from the ubiquitous Facebook to the selectively used Apps like Viral Shots. The term “digital” also deems it imperative that there has to be internet connectivity, and since it’s an era of smartphones the availability of adequate amount of “data” is essential. Marketing on the other hand refers to the monetization of all sources of media, online or offline to ensure that the outreach to prospective or existing customers is successful. Does that result in increased sales, is a matter of separate discussion, but the narrative around Digital Marketing primarily focuses around increased eyeballs and better positioning of the brands or products or services in the minds of target audiences.

Definition of Marketing Management, according to Kotler & Keller (2008) is “the art & science of choosing target markets and getting, keeping & growing customers through creating, delivering, and communicating superior customer value.” If we look deeper into each element of this definition it will reflect the enormity of the definition and that of each word in its singularity.

The first question that arises when one reads this definition is the usage of the dyad ‘art’ and ‘science’. Art has its connection with creativity and the craft associated with marketing, whereas Science is all about the logical and numeracy aspects of marketing. Yet the twain has to meet and it does especially with advertisements and the design aspects of the product or service. There can’t be a better and more effective, monetarily as well as creatively, platform than digital.

As we explore the definition more acutely we come across the phrase ‘superior customer value’ and we are immediately drawn to the images and texts that are put together like stories for consumption by target audience. For a customer who by the click of a mouse or a scroll along the phone screen can decide what content he or she wants to associate with, it’s become quite a tedious task to keep them engaged effectively. Where the traditional forms of marketing like TV commercials are becoming slightly laggard in their approach, digital is slowly & steadily racing ahead in correlating with an increasingly young audience. Superior customer value therefore, in the case of digital marketing does seem achievable as digital marketing itself evolves to touch new heights of glory and innovation.

The canvass for Digital marketing is wide and bright, and new players in the market are writing new discourses and are breaking more & more barriers while effectively reaching out to the right audience at the right time. Many would also argue against Digital marketing especially due to the presence of a humongous quantum of online platforms and easy accessibility to unwholesome content, one of the worst examples being the Blue Whale Challenge, the jury is definitely out there on the utility and successful utilization of Digital marketing.

Watch this space for more such discussions on this effervescent & intriguing topic of Digital Marketing.


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Orientation Week July 2017 Batch

Last week saw INLEAD opening its campus doors to its new July 2017 batch. Every quarter INLEAD welcomes new students into their classrooms, and before classes begin students are put through an Orientation Week. During the course of the week, multiple activities were conducted for the newly christened INLEADers to encourage them to get to know the institute, the faculty members, and most importantly their batchmates.

Through the various activities that were conducted over the span of a week, students get an idea of their courses, the placement opportunities, their teachers, their mentors and facilities in the campus.

Day 1 to Day 2 was all about Registration, Orientation about Life at INLEAD, as well as Corporate orientation. There were sessions conducted by Ms. Monica Mor telling them about the various activities and course modules that they would be undergoing in their stint at INLEAD. They had sessions with subject faculty experts who introduced students to the various streams they had taken admission in, as well as the type of placement opportunities that would be available for them. 

This was followed by two days of Ice Breaking sessions comprising activities in the domain of Team Dynamics and Mental Abilities. They formed teams, chose a captain each and tried to work on their mental faculties to get their brain cells working overtime. 

Day 5 was when students were required to get a hold of their teammates and compete intensively with other teams to win hampers. This session was a celebration. A beginning of a new journey for all the students present.

The session began with the INLEADers getting to know each other better by playing an Ice breaking game called 2 Truths and a Lie, where students participated fully with enthusiasm and energy. Thereafter, Ms. Monica, Ms. Priyanka and Ms. Sakshi initiated the first activity titled-Land Mine. One student from each team was blindfolded and had to, with instructions from his team members, collect as many plastic balls as possible. Students participated with enthusiasm that was so palpable that there was  so much noise that it was sometimes getting difficult to control them and ensure that they aren’t violating rules.

Next, the students engaged in a craft activity where with newspapers and a scale they had to create circles, squares and triangles, and the team with the most number of shapes won. Students united as teams and came out with innovative and intelligent ideas to maximize their team score.This game was a game changer, where a winning team lost the game and eventually the competition. They were beaten by a team of underdogs who worked very hard on their team dynamics and finally got their act together at the nick of time.

Overall, the Orientation Week comprising Faculty and T&P team interactions as well as the Team Dynamics session was a grand success and a great start for all the students paving their way towards a brighter future.

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