LOBBYING FOR GROWTH The 5-30 a.
m. beep from his wristwatch woke up Anurag Saxena. In characteristic style he jumped out of bed and headed for the bathroom only to stop at the door. Memories of the previous day came rushing back and Saxena realized that there was no need to hurry. Yesterday he called up Tim Leed, director for India and West Asia of the New York-based Denver Instruments, to say that he was quitting the company. “Wait for a day Anurag.
We can talk about this again tomorrow,” was all that Leed said. Twelve years ago, Saxena was the brightest star at Denver Instruments India, company manufacturing office equipment.He was than the sales manager of the western region, which account for over 50% of Denver’s turnover. It was his sales acumen that made Denver’s foreign parents optimistic about its plans for India.
Whenever the monthly sales figures were faxed to New York, accolades poured back. Saxena’s counterparts in other regions watched his performance with unconcealed amazement and secretly envied his abilities. Saxena was workaholic. Week after week, He calculated the deficit in his target and scanned the territory map to figure out where the balance would come from.He poured over the targets of his area salesman, watched every order minutely and pushed his team till it was delivered.
Not that they resented his pushing and chasing. All members of the sales team had worked with him closely to know that Saxena thrived on the pressure his job created. When sales target slipped, his paranoia was at its...
height. For instance, when rival co. Remlen India launched its brand of printers; Saxena quickly assessed his own region’s performance.
He examined the status of orders in each territory and groaned when he saw that Pune was lagging. “What is the problem with Pune? he asked Sharad Dani, the area salesman. “There’s been no cyclone, no rains, no transporter’s strike, no power cuts, and then what is it? I am coming with you, we need to push Pune, Saxena declared summarily. Dani grinned. “I am doing ok, Anurag.
I’ve 8 orders and Breckel electronics’ order is also coming, “he said. “So is Christmas,” thundered Saxena. “I’ve been hearing about Breckel for too long. We last heard from them 3 weeks ago. Sorry, I must go with you,” it worked.
That week, Dani finished the sale with Breckel. The days turned into months and months into years as Saxena pushed orders, arranged demonstrations, wooed lients, closed deal and painstakingly inched toward his goals-both of sales as well as personal excellence. All this required hectic traveling though, Saxena was virtually hoping from one town to another. The mixed cuisine played havoc with his ulcers. But bigger loss was in his desperations to meet targets, Saxena slowly got distance from his family.
A quite silence developed between his and his wife while tours filled the void he had left in his son’s math lessons. All this hurt Saxena, but hardly had the time to feel the pain. One day he would make up with them, he was sure.If appreciation was lacking at home, it
was more than made up by his boss. Sudhir Rai, the general manager of western region. Sexena was the blue-eyed boy Rai had groomed as a traniee.
Later, Saxena graduated from customer service to sales manager while their relationship improved with time. Overtime Rai empowered Saxena to work in other line functions. So Saxena got involved in factory operations and marketing also. This transgression of sales function bothered the other line managers, but they knew the region depended on him. Every quarterly results only reinforced his ability as a salesman.
Rai wasn’t the only one enamoured by Saxena. The managing director, Vasant Jain ,openly lavished praise on ‘this bright young lad of the western region. ’ Even down the line, Saxena was very popular. He could motivate a sales team to put in their best and achieve even the most impossible of target. Saxena loved selling. He allowed a standard lapse of time for every state in a sales deal.
If a particular stage look longer than what he had planned, it was typical of Saxena to roll up his sleeves and do the job himself. That typified Saxena’s style of management.Then after delivering his sales line and closing the deal, he would look triumphantly at his team and say:” That is the way to sell” The team indulged him-they had learnt a lot from Saxena. ”He is natural,” they’d say in unison. Rai too, indulged him. If Saxena wanted a particular field staffer to get three increments in one year, Rai did not protest.
He was so confident of Saxena’s success rate that he had given him the license to handle his team in whatever mannered he pleased. It did not bother him that he had to battle with corporate accounts over these increases. After all he always had the numbers to back his case.The western region led the country on every score, be it volumes, value, profits or morale. Meanwhile, Rai was made director (Exports) and shifted to the head office.
Within a few months of that, Saxena was made manager (customer service) of the northern region. He hated moving away from his pet function-sales-but Rai cajoled him. “Just accept it for now. I can’t displease Jain. He will soon find something better for you,” he assured. To some it seemed as if Rai’s shifting to export has taken wind out of Saxena’s sails.
But nothing had changed. Rai was closely monitoring Saxena’s career, just as Jain was monitoring his.For, Rai was to Jain what Saxena was to him. And just as Rai has promised, within six months Saxena was made the sales manager of northern region. Two years later Jain took ill.
When his condition did not improve even after three months in hospital, Denver decided to get him treated in London. There was a widespread speculation over Jain’s health and the succession issue came into the limelight. But the foreign parent of Denver was firm: the situation was too delicate for a race to the managing director’s post. After several meeting with Jain on his bed, it was decided that Rai should be made the new managing
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