Internship Experience

by Onam Sair on Saturday 1 September 2012, 12:00 AM | Category: Summer Internship Contest| View: 1750 views

 Summers can be a very confusing time especially if one enters a B School as a fresher. And if the same one is to enter to DOMS IIT Madras with a passion for marketing, one is almost bound to feel what a polar bear might feel if it had landed up for a fun vacation during summers in Madras.

You don't want to go any other place except the Himalayas, for me it was marketing. But the bear is not allowed does that.  Why?? You see the Himalayan Inc. has a policy to only allow the vacations to the people who study in the institute which are at much higher altitude. So was the case for me.

But I was lucky somehow. BPCL turned up and I got what I wanted. The SBO in which I will worked in was LUBES (Lubricants), Just might possibly one of the most fiercely fought battlefields in the Indian markets. The place I have to report was their head-office   at Chandigarh, The city for me at least is heaven.

I show up in office the first day, half an hour early. Waiting for my guide, I spent another three hours at the reception. The office I can say was a pretty Hi-Fi “SARKARI OFFICE”. Time moved really slowly!!, But there was someone to the rescue.

I met Nitin Tulsiyaan, when I was really happy but more so was he. He had been working for a month now and with what all he told me had happened during his first month working here; it really looked like time for me was going to pass really slowly in this SARKARI COMPANY. For the Polar bear it was like when he was just about to reach the top of the mountain, someone told him ‘ Hey!! There is no ICE up there, Have you not heard about global warming'.

I was told that the guide wasn't coming to the office and I should come back after four days. But I decided to stay on as Nitin told me that the Territory Sales Officer (TSO) for the District PATIALA which was assigned for my project was going to join us after lunch. So I met the TSO, Mr. Ankur Bhattnagar AKA the SUPERMAN. He was just too good which I realized in the two month of my internship. He was very charming and pretty good at his work. He saw potential in everyone and even in everything.  It was like he was married to the LUBE SBU. All the brands of MAK were like his children.

The internship starts. In Lubes, the work field  for the salesman can be dirty, hot unorganized but the feeling one gets converting a counter, overcoming the competition is so overwhelming that it can drive you all the time. The first week we were brain stroming over how can map develop some flanking strategy to beat its competetives.. The week got planned up, I learned all the theory there was about LUBES. The subsequent days I headed up in the hot sun, in the huge organized motor markets in and around Chandigarh. I had to map buying processes for LUBES, of People of every vehicle segment. The hesitation, the questions, the formal dress, the gap of education and experience between me and the respondent did make it difficult, But I always feel triumphant by the end of the day . From all the knowledge I got, I was done with the consumer behaviour of different segments and all the stakeholders in the LUBES  market.

Second week, understanding the distributer. What can be a better way, to understand the whole process then for going distributor scouting, for map Lubricants. We were sent to Sangrur and Baddi scouting for rural distributor. The TSO was very keen on it as having rural distributor, he would be able to meet his targets real easy. How to Scout, well that's intresting. We had no clue. How we started was that we use to find population of the village or the small town which we were headed to and then guesstimate the number of bikes, trucks, tractors and pump sets around. Then we used to go to the market have small talks with the people around finding out who were the sub distributors for various FMCG's specially Fevicol, in that area. Gathering the cues and deciding up on the people that might be capable of doing the work we used to pitch in for the Distributorship, but with an authority, as we were working for BPCL, one of the Navratanas. Well one does get frustrated being kicked out some matric pass, but all this people had  good business sense. Though it was really hot and travelling so many places was very inconvenient, the euphoriaof being in sales for great. The experience would last a lifetime. With all the parties I did with my fellow intern Avneesh Sharma, I cant complain.

Two weeks went of like this, then the TSO told us to go visit Petrol Pumps at various rural sites. We used to go there and analyse how the lubes business was going on at the Pumps, usually bad. Then we used to come up with the promotional campaign for MAK at the pump and the near  by markets giving gifts and heavy discounts. We also use to note down all the types of customer and the type of lubes they used. Data collection seemed unending. Getting up five in morning and going back at Eight, it was tiring and boring week. The TSO had also told us that we required to come up with some plan to pep up the sales at the pump and intract with the attandents and know everything which was to be known about the lubes sales at the pump from them.

The 5th week, with all the data we had , we were required to make a Delivery Salesman (DSM) training programme. Making them learn all about lubes and telling them how to sell MAK. And making an incentive programme for them. This is what we did for next one week, teaching DSM's. Well I can say that we were pretty proud for developing a programme for the company.

The 7th week and the 8th week, we were doing the project called retailer wallet share-Analysis of their potential. In this we were required to find out all the margins for distributors retailers and the mechanics. But what we actually did, was to go at all the retailers which has stopped using MAK and analyse what they buy and why they buy now. My work was to actually starts the sales of MAK at these counters again. It was really an ASS KICKING experience, literally at some places. Some retailers cant stop complaining, some shoot you off directly and some will even offer you lunch. Whatever it was, by the end of two weeks with the help of sales incharge of Patiala District we were able to convert lot of counters. The TSO was happy and so was the distributors.

The last two weeks I spent doing the most important projects. MAK had come out with the new product “MAK PLATINUM” which was technologically very advance. The Territory Manager  wanted me to come up with a full fledge launch campaign for the product so that it can be sold at high market operating prices. I did all the data collection and recognized how to target every stakeholders. I met hundred of retailers and selected a few and designed a mechanic schemes, the customer's scheme and ways to gauge the price. I decided upon both ATL and BTL activities and even the market operating price. I designed the value proposition for different segments and did the budgeting for all the activities. It was hard core marketing this time, no sales. Well this project is just like a baby for me and after the wholesome experience at MAK, I am now totally indulge with lubes, my love. The polar bear might not have surmounted the EVEREST, but the happiness to get on the top of a small snowy peak is no less for him.

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