A Day in the Life of a Salesperson – Case Studies on Marketing Management

9

A Day in the Life of a Salesperson*

Kunal Seal, a 30-year-old married salesperson working for a bank, leads a very hard life. His mornings are wretched, as he has to wake up early every morning. He always sets his alarm clock at 6:00 a.m. so that he wakes up on time for work, but as usual, he wakes up with a phone call from his boss!

MONDAY MORNING, 8:00 A.M.

Santosh (Branch Manager): Kunal, at what time will you be reporting to work?

Kunal (Branch Sales Manager): Yessssssss sir……………..(still sleepy)

Santosh: Kunal, I am asking you something (scolding him).

Kunal: Yes! Yes sir! Good morning, sir!

Santosh: We have an important meeting with one of our HNI (high networth) customer Sanjib Agarwal. Don’t be late to work!

Kunal: Yes sir. I will be there on time.

Santosh: OK then. See you in office. Bye.

Kunal: Bye sir.

After hanging up the phone, Kunal said to himself, ‘Gosh! My boss is so irritating, man! Kunal, do this; Kunal, do that. He does not even allow me to sleep well and just makes my life a living hell!’ Kunal looks at his clock and dozes off again for 5–10 minutes until his alarm starts ringing at 8:15 a.m. He then starts brushing his teeth, but as soon as he puts his brush into his mouth, the phone starts ringing again.

Kunal: Hello!

Ganesh: Kunal, I need to withdraw a huge amount from my account today. I’ll be going to your branch at 10:30 a.m. and would need your help. Would you be going to your branch?

Kunal: Don’t worry, I will be there.

Ganesh: OK. Thank you.

Kunal: Welcome.

Kunal needs to reach office at 9:00 a.m. everyday. He begins to rush, has a shower and a quick breakfast, and leaves for work at 8:40 a.m. It takes him about 30 minutes to reach work, which means that he is already late for work. However, this is a usual thing for him as he is always late.

Santosh: Kunal, will you change your habit, please?

Kunal: Sorry sir, I was stuck in traffic.

Santosh: You tell me the same story everyday! Why don’t you leave home early?

Kunal remains silent and has nothing to say to his boss as he knows that it is his fault.

Santosh: Come for the morning meeting. We are waiting for you.

Kunal: Yes sir, I am coming.

Kunal drops his bag in his cabin and tries to sign into the attendance system, but the server seems to be down. Kunal asks his colleague, Pradeep, and his branch operations manager, but neither of them seem to have been able to sign in since morning. Kunal then tries to contact his neighbour branch but it is the same story there as well.

MORNING MEETING BEGINS, 9:15 A.M.

Santosh (Branch Manager): Kunal, how many Savings Accounts and Current Accounts will be sourced by your team today?

Kunal begins asking his team members who are all present in the room and are silent.

Kunal (Branch Sales Manager): Rajib, Sayantan, Yogesh, Papiya, Subrato and Shetal, please write your commitments in this diary.

Everyone starts writing their commitments one by one.

Santosh (to all outbound team members): Are any of you facing any kind of problem while calling customers?

Sayantan: Yes sir, I don’t have my visiting card.

Santosh: Kunal, please look into this matter. Send a mail to the concerned department.

Kunal: Yes sir.

Santosh: Does anyone else have any problem?

Everybody remains silent.

Santosh: Alright then, I want everybody to fulfil their commitments. I will see you all again at the evening meeting at 5:30 p.m. You can now leave and start calling customers. Kunal, you stay here, we need to discuss today’s plan.

Kunal: Sure sir.

Everybody left the room except for Kunal. The people outside the room began discussing amongst themselves about how they would have to source a new account. Some of them were fed up with the sales quota and account sourcing, as they all knew that if they were unable to meet the target by the end of the day, it would be a bad day for them. So all of them rushed to their cabins, collected the product brochures and flyers, and went to the market for customer calls.

MEETING CONTINUED

Santosh: Kunal, I have to meet the regional head today regarding our productivity, and so I will leave the branch early.

Kunal: Sir, we have an appointment today with ITC’s Senior Manager at 10:30 a.m.

Santosh: Oh yes! I absolutely forgot about that. I cannot attend that meeting today. So you would have to sit with him for the meeting and keep me updated about the same. We will fix a day for the final meeting on some other day.

Kunal: OK sir, my schedule today is also very hectic. After attending the ITC meeting I need to come back to Lake Town for Territory Sales Officer’s (TSO) interview.

Santosh: OK, and keep monitoring your team members’ activities. Today is a Maha Login Day. We need to do at least 20 (15 Savings Account and 5 Current Account) I-Track by today.

Kunal: Yes sir. I’ve received the mail on this.

Santosh: OK Kunal. See you in the evening meeting.

Kunal: OK sir.

Kunal left his room and along with the inbound sales team he entered the branch manager’s cabin at 9:30 a.m. He had a cup of coffee and asked Pradeep (Branch Operation Manager), ‘How was last night’s party?’; Pradeep replied, ‘It was wonderful! Cocktails, soft drinks and different types of continental food—everything you would need was there. Tripathi spent 5 lakhs for last night’s party’. Kunal sat at his desk and logged into his computer to check his mail. Soon he became involved in arranging documents for the meeting.

9:45 a.m.: Kunal starts driving to the meeting.

10:25 a.m.: Kunal reaches ITC Office.

MEETING BEGINS, 10:30 A.M.

Kunal: May I come in, sir?

Arun: Yes Kunal, please come in. Take your seat.

There was silence for 5 minutes. Arun finished his work quickly while Kunal was thinking about how to go about making the sales pitch.

 

How do you think Kunal should start his sales pitch?

MEETING ENDS, 11:35 A.M.

Once the meeting concluded, Kunal realized that he had received several missed calls as well as many text messages—some were from his team members, and some from his customers. Kunal was in a hurry but he still called his team members to check what the matter was.

Kunal: Hello Sayantan, you called me?

Sayantan: Yes sir. A customer wanted to speak to you regarding his confusion.

Kunal (walking towards his car): Can’t you solve his queries? How many accounts have you sourced till now?

Sayantan: Sorry sir, I couldn’t source any account yet. I tried my best to solve his queries.

Kunal (scolding): I am not here to listen to your excuses. I want an account by today. If you perform like this, I will rate you as poor in the PMS (performance management system) for this month. Do not come back to the office until you can source an account.

Kunal hung up without listening to his reply. He reached the car but could not find the keys; ‘Oops! I have left it in the meeting room,’ Kunal grumbled to himself. ‘This boy will make me mad.’ He went back, got his keys and finally drove towards an Indian restaurant for lunch. In the middle of his lunch, he got a phone call from his boss, and he was a little late in answering the call.

Kunal: Hello sir.

Santosh: Where are you?

Kunal: I am in a restaurant having lunch.

Santosh: OK. I am putting you on a call with Pankaj Srivastav (Eastern Regional Head).

CONFERENCE CALL BEGINS

Pankaj: Hello Kunal. How are you?

Kunal: I am fine sir. How is your health?

Pankaj: I am fine. What was the outcome of the meeting?

 

How do you think Kunal should summarize what happened in Arun’s office? What factors should he keep in mind when summarizing the outcome of his sales call?

Kunal quickly finished his lunch and drove to the Lake Town branch.

KUNAL REACHES LAKE TOWN BRANCH

Kunal was on his way to the HR room but was stopped by a security guard who asked him whom he wanted to meet. Kunal immediately showed him his ID card and went in.

Kunal: Nilanjan, is the interview panel ready?

Nilanjan: Yes. We were waiting for you.

Kunal: OK. So let’s start the interviews.

Present at the interview panel are Kunal Seal (Branch Sales Manager), Nilanjan Saha (HR Head–East) and Suresh Nayek (Branch Manager–Lake Town Branch).

INTERVIEW SESSION STARTS WITH FIRST CANDIDATE, AJIT SAHA, 1:45 P.M.

What questions do you think Kunal should ask Ajit Saha, who is looking to become a member of his sales team?

Interview session concludes at 3:15 p.m. It was then time for Kunal to have a conference call with his team members. He called up all his team members and put them on conference call.

CONFERENCE CALL WITH TEAM MEMBERS BEGINS

Kunal: Where are you all? Papiya, Subrato and Shetal?

Rajib: Sir, I just met a client at Girish Park and picked up a savings account.

Kunal: After spending the entire day out, you picked up only one savings account? You are supposed to give two savings accounts by the end of the day. What happened?

Rajib remains silent.

Kunal: Sayantan, where are you? How many accounts did you pick?

Sayantan: The customer wanted two to three days to arrange all documents and photos.

Kunal: Why? Didn’t you explain to him about the documentation on your previous meeting? Why didn’t you call him before the meeting? You are just wasting your time and my time. Instead of that customer you could have met some another new customer (scolding him).

To everyone, please tell me how many accounts you have in your hands with full documentation?

Rajib: One.

Sayantan: None, sir.

Yogesh: One savings account.

Kunal: Yogesh, you are supposed to give me two accounts.

Papiya: One savings account and one current account.

Kunal: Good work, Papiya!

Subrato: Two savings accounts.

Kunal: Well done, Subrato!

Shetal: No account, sir.

Kunal: Why Shetal? You are almost eight months into the system; I don’t expect this from you. Why don’t you still have a proper timeline for your work? Instead of 14 accounts I have only 8 accounts in my hand. Can you tell me what am I supposed to reply to my boss? It’s almost evening now. Do you all think that you can reach the target? It’s just impossible. You are all going to be in a big problem at the evening meeting. Why do you all commit to something and don’t deliver! I am sending this score to the Branch Manager (BM). Rajib, Sayantan and Shetal, you guys are going be in big trouble. See you all at the evening meeting.

Kunal text messaged the score to his boss. He took a cup of coffee and was interrupted by a call from his boss who wanted an explanation for the low score.

Kunal (hesitantly): ‘Yes sir’.

Santosh: Kunal, you know that today is a Maha Login Day. We should do 20 I-tracks by today. The inbound sales team have already met their targets. What’s wrong with your team?

Kunal: Rajib, Sayantan and Shetal have performed badly today.

Santosh (scolding): Why? They have been into the system for a long time. They knew very well how important today was for us. Let’s put them on a con-call.

Kunal realized that if he started a con-call now, his team members would be in big trouble. He cleverly handled the situation and said, ‘I am going to meet Kothari at Rabindra Sadan. Hopefully I will pick a family account. We will take action against them in the evening meeting’.

Santosh cooled down and replied, ‘OK Kunal. Good luck. See you in the evening with your team’.

It was already 3:35 p.m. and Kunal knew that there was no schedule to meet Kothari. He now started to think about his next plan.

Kunal started his car and continued to think about how to spend the next few hours. All of a sudden, he saw Yogesh roaming with someone in the front of Jaya cinema hall. He stopped his car and caught him red handed.

Kunal: What are you doing here?

Yogesh: (All surprised and trying to hide his girlfriend). Sir, I was passing through this place and suddenly saw my friend and so I just stopped by to talk for a while.

Kunal: Don’t lie. You have picked only one account today and you are romancing here. Shame on you!

Yogesh: Sorry sir. It will never happen again. Please forgive me.

Kunal: Go and do your work. I will report to the BM about your behaviour.

Kunal drove away towards City Centre in Salt Lake. It was almost 4:00 p.m. now. He thought to himself that the day’s score had not reached the target and in such a situation if he had to go to the branch he would get a scolding from the BM.

Kunal then decided not to go back to the branch and went to KFC instead, where he had a sumptuous snack. It was soon 5:00 p.m. and Kunal felt that it would be very irresponsible to miss the evening meeting and so returned to the branch. Santosh also returned to the branch and called Kunal to his cabin.

Santosh: I picked up three savings account today. Where are your team members?

Kunal started calling up his team members instead of replying to his boss. His team arrived at the branch within 5–10 minutes except for Sayantan and Shetal.

Kunal (to his team): Where are Sayantan and Shetal? Their phones are ringing but they are not answering the calls.

Everybody replied that they did not know where they were!

Santosh: I guess they were unable to source and that’s the reason they have not come for the evening meeting.

Before Santosh could finish what he was saying, Kunal interrupted, as he wanted to avoid the topic for the meeting.

Kunal: Sir, I found Yogesh in front of the cinema hall today, roaming with his girlfriend.

Yogesh was there, as he sourced an account.

Santosh: What? We will take action against Yogesh. I will send a mail to the HR department based on your feedback.

Yogesh: Sorry sir. Please don’t do this. Let me go for the last time; it won’t happen again.

Santosh: We have only 17 accounts instead of 20. Kunal, do you know that it is because of your team’s failure that we are unable to participate in the contest.

Kunal remains silent.

Santosh: Team members please go and start I-track. Send the document to RPC (regional processing centre) in time. I am requesting you all to please check the documents before you send. I do not want to see any rejection.

Everybody leaves and get started with their work.

Santosh: What about the last meeting, Kunal?

Kunal: I told the client about all the different types of savings accounts and facilities but the client did not seem pleased and declined to open an account with us.

Santosh: It is all right. It happens sometimes.

Why do you think Kunal failed to achieve his quota of 20 accounts?

6:00 P.M.

Gates are closed for customers. The rule is that all the bank staff should leave the branch by 6:45 p.m. This is time to do pending work and to get some relaxation.

Kunal continued the conversation with Santosh.

Kunal: Sir, how was your meeting?

Santosh: It was good. We discussed various parameters about the increasing productivity for next month. Our bank is going to launch a new programme for employees. I will discuss this in tomorrow’s meeting.

Kunal: OK sir.

Kunal left Santosh’s room and sat at his desk.

Papiya: Sir, I have applied for my reimbursement. Can you please approve it?

Kunal: Yes, surely.

Subrato: Sir, please do mine also.

Kunal: Can’t you see I am doing something (in irritated voice)? Everybody will get reimbursement. Don’t worry.

Kunal was checking his mail box and replying to his mails. Kunal’s phone was ringing again; this time it was his wife. Since morning, she had called him up four times but Kunal was too busy to receive her calls. Kunal realized that if he does not pick up the phone this time, it would take him one day to make his wife happy again.

Kunal: Yes Rupa. I am sorry I could not attend your phone call.

Rupa: Stay with your work. Do you remember at all that today we had planned to go for a movie?

Kunal: Yes dear. I do remember.

Rupa: When will you come to City Centre?

Kunal: I will come as soon as possible.

Rupa: Okay. I booked the show ticket for 7:15 p.m.

Kunal: Okay. See you there.

Kunal knew that it is impossible to reach there by 7:00 p.m. because his office ends at 6:45 p.m. He made up a fake story. He came back to his desk, shut down the system quickly and rushed to his boss’ cabin.

Santosh: Yes Kunal. Please come in.

Kunal: Sir, can I leave early today?

Santosh: Why?

Kunal: I have some unexpected guests at home. I really need to be there.

Santosh: OK Kunal. See you tomorrow. Come on time tomorrow. Good night!

Kunal: Good night, sir!

Kunal informed his team members that he was leaving early due to some family work. He was about to leave the branch when he saw cluster branch manager Anirudh Patel entering the branch. The moment he entered, everybody stood up. Kunal kept his bag in his cabin. Anirudh Patel was observing everybody and talking to them. He then entered the branch manager’s cabin and called Kunal for a meeting. It was 6:30 p.m. Kunal messaged his wife that he will not able to come on time due to an urgent meeting. Time ticked on and Kunal was feeling restless. The meeting finally finished at 7:10 p.m.

Kunal left the branch and drove his car towards City Centre. He was already late. He drove rashly to City Centre, parked his car and almost ran towards Inox. It was already 7:30 p.m. ‘Oops! The movie was supposed to start at 7:15.’

When he finally reached Inox, he could not see Rupa. He called her up but could only hear the irritating voice: ‘The number you are trying to call is busy. Please call after some time.’

Damn! Kunal did not know what to do. He knew Rupa was angry with him. They had not gone to a movie theatre even once in the last six months. Today was their anniversary, and he had promised her that he would not fail today.

Kunal did not know what to say to Rupa. He remembered the college days. He was so happy then—he had less money but much more freedom to live his life.

 

How do you think salespersons such as Kunal should plan their day?