Direct Sales in the Business Market of Bangladesh
Subject: Marketing | Topics:

An overview of direct sales in the business market of Bangladesh:

a study on Grameenphone Ltd

Grameenphone Ltd (referred to as GP) is the leading telecom service provider in Bangladesh. It has better network with better services. Its wide coverage of network and flawless Customer service makes it the pioneer. To reach this position the most important is the workforce of Grameenphone. The skilled workforce and their tremendous work make a difference with the telecommunication service provider companies.

A survey is done with the help of well designed questionnaire to get the necessary primary information. The survey is done within the GP sales personnel of Direct sales department. The Direct sale of GP is also known as corporate sales. According to GP sales direct sales incorporate with the corporate markets of our country. They are classified according to different parameters like revenue, turnover, reputation, and brand name & various other factors, discussion of which are beyond the scope of the report. The rest of the business organizations are considered as SME and Individual according to GP sales. According to GP the corporate market is also classified as two different types, they are strategic and general.

Grameenphone has launched Business Solution in the year of 2006. Business Solutions is a complete, quality business communications service from Grameenphone – designed especially for the business community in Bangladesh. Direct Selling Cycle is of GP shows its business to business (B2B) sell. From the bellow cycle I find seven steps for a mature and quality sale. In the first step the sellers establish contact with the potential customer and try to take an appointment from the prospective customer. Then in the second step the seller organizes himself or herself for the next step based on the need of the customer. In the third step the sellers meets with the customer at the convenient time of the customer and negotiate about the product and its price and other related services. Fourth step includes internal approval and supervisor’s involvement to make proposal for any particular customer. In the fifth step the seller submit the proposal to customer along with an agreement paper depending on the need of the customer. In step six, the seller delivers products and activates the products. In the final step the seller keep long term relation with the customer and provide further required service for up dales and more revenue generation.

The direct selling process in GP directly related with the clients and the key account managers without using any third party. So the key account managers (sellers) of Business Solutions have the real experience of direct selling of GP.

Background:

As the leading telecommunications provider in the country, Grameenphone covers a wide consumer base. Representative of wide consumer demographics, geographical and economic diversity, most of the organization’s revenue stream is sourced from direct customers. 4% of the revenue approximately, is generated from corporate clients, including leading local and multinational businesses and corporate houses, government agencies, the defense sector and embassies. The Direct Sales department under the Commercial Division at GP oversees corporate sales. The department further consists of functional teams divided based on geographical, financial and strategic parameters. Irrespective of the small portion of the revenue composition, the significance of corporate sales lies in the following:

Strategic value of clients: Corporate clients are a source of high strategic value to Grameenphone. Ranging from the largest businesses to government agencies and defense sectors, clients are of immense strategic value for Grameenphone to build and consolidate relationships with. These relationships can bring long-term prospects of partnership and support for both stakeholders.

Financial value of clients: In spite of generating only 4% of overall revenue, the number of corporate clients, compared to the number of regular clients (subscribers), is limited. This gives each corporate client high average revenue per unit (ARPU), thus, increasing the significance and financial importance. Furthermore, the continued service to corporate clients allows prospects of attracting more future clients through referrals and the growth of client services through business expansion.

The core elements of corporate sales are account managers, who represent Grameenphone as sales agents and liaisons for building relationships and securing and retaining deals with corporate clients. The very success of securing a corporate client rests in their shoulders, which provides them a wide span of work responsibilities. The report addresses these responsibilities, which make the account managers successful in securing corporate clients, and also the relative challenges they face. These challenges, skills and responsibilities involved are not entirely systematic and not only are technical aspects involved in client management, but also, a wide range of interpersonal skills and acumen are involved.

Furthermore, the integration and embedment of the value pillars at GP into the roles and responsibilities of account managers provide much insight into how they operate and also contribute to their success. These aspects are analyzed in the report and the entire value chain of corporate sales is identified.

 

Objectives:

Broad objective:

The broad objective of the report is to closely examine the role and significance of Account Managers in corporate selling and Business solution products impact in the Business Market to maximize the organizational value at GP.

  • Specific objectives: The specific objectives include:
  • Analyzing the organizational framework of Direct Sales
  • Identification of the role and responsibilities of an Account Manager
  • Impact of Business solution products in the Business market.
  • Skills required by Account Managers and the balance of those skills (art and science of corporate selling)
  • Value addition by Account Managers
  • Employee perception of roles and organizational values

Overview of the Company:

Grameenphone (GP) is the largest telecommunications service provider in Bangladesh. It’s a Joint venture enterprise between Telenor (55.8%), the largest telecommunications service Provider in Norway, and Grameen Telecom Corporation (34.2%), a non-profit sister concern of Grameen Bank. The other 10% shares belong to general retail and institutional investors. The company has the largest cellular network in the country with over 13,000 base stations in more than 7000 locations. Presently, nearly 99 percent of the country’s population is within the coverage area of the Grameenphone Network. The Company received a license for cellular phone operation on November 28, 1996 and started its operations on March 26, 1997. At that time, cell phone was a luxury, and restricted only to the elites in urban areas. Grameenphone started its journey with the Village Phone program; a pioneering initiative to empower rural women of Bangladesh. The name Grameenphone translates to “Rural phone” in Bangla and this is symbolic of the intention behind the existence of Grameenphone.

Brand Promise: Go Beyond

The right and contemporary use of technology is the key to the progress of a nation. Keeping this in mind, Grameenphone always brings the future proof technology in order to facilitate your progress. The possibilities in this new world are immense and someone as bright as you should not be behind in anyway.

At the end of the day, all the individual progresses accumulate to the progress of the beloved motherland. Grameenphone promises you to bring the best of communication technologies so that you can

 

Objective & Strategy:

‘Good Business, Good Development’

Grameenphone basic strategy is coverage of both urban and rural areas. The Company has devised its strategies so that it earns healthy returns for its shareholders and at the same time, contributes to genuine development of the country. In short, it pursues a dual strategy of “Good Business, Good Development. Serving the mass market is one of GP’s primary goals. By serving the general public as opposed to niche markets, the Company plans to achieve economies of scale and healthy profits.

Company Service:

Grameenphone believes in service, a service that leads to good business and good development. Telephony helps people work together, raising their productivity. This gain in productivity is development, which in turn enables them to afford a telephone service, generating a good business. Thus development and business go together.

Service for the Rural Poor: Establishing a nationwide network gives fair access to all geographical areas. From a business point of view, this strategy serves both the long distances as well as the rural markets. This emphasis on rural coverage brings a much-needed infrastructure in the underdeveloped rural areas.

Share Holders:

The shareholders of Grameenphone contribute their unique, in-depth experience in both telecommunications and development. It is a joint venture enterprise between Telenor (55.8%), the largest telecommunications service provider in Norway with mobile phone operations in 12 other countries, and Grameen Telecom Corporation (34.2% ), a non-profit sister concern of the internationally acclaimed micro-credit pioneer Grameen Bank. The other 10% shares belong to general retail and institutional investors. The technological know-how and managerial expertise of Telenor has been instrumental in setting up such an international standard mobile phone operation in Bangladesh. Being one of the pioneers in developing the GSM service in Europe, Telenor has also helped to transfer this knowledge to the local employees over the Years. The international shareholder brings technological and business management expertise while the local shareholder provides a presence throughout Bangladesh and a deep understanding of its economy. Both are dedicated to Bangladesh and its struggle for economic progress and have a deep commitment to Grameenphone and its mission to provide affordable telephony to the entire population of Bangladesh.

Grameenphone Network Coverage Areas:

Grameenphone Ltd. has covered all over the country includes 64 districts and about 500 thanas. Recently GP covered three districts because previously it was restricted by the Bangladesh government. When the government gave the permission then GP established its strong network there.

About Grameenphone Direct Sales

Overview: As briefly mentioned earlier, the Direct Sales department is part of GP’s Commercial Division and works on corporate client operations. Starting from client acquisition to client retention, the entire process is overseen by Direct Sales. Corporate clients are essential to GP because of the strategic and financial value they provide and also because building strong relationships with corporate entities expands the growth opportunities for GP itself. These clients exhibit immense diversity starting from local and multinational corporations, NGOs, SMEs to the Armed Forces and government agencies.

Organizational structure of Direct Sales:

In a word, Direct Sales deals with the efficient management of all the stages involved in the corporate client life cycle, starting from the seek out and negotiation to the acquisition and retention of corporate clients. Each corporate client in turn belongs to a certain category in terms of geographical location of the business, revenue and business scale and strategic importance.

Therefore, within the DS department, several units operate which categorically divide the businesses based on the aforementioned parameters and form a revenue pyramid structure. Corporate clients are referred to as accounts and GP representatives handling accounts are called Account Managers. Account managers are involved throughout the entire customer life cycle starting from search and acquisition to relationship building and retention. The following diagram shows the organizational structure at DS.

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The units are further categorized under two functions:

  1. Sales and
  2. Support

Sales functions consist of the following:

  1. HVKA (High Value Key Accounts): Clients in this unit are of the highest financial value because of their scale of operations and market share. BRAC and Square Group are among the clients of HVKA.
  2. KCA (Key Corporate Accounts): Clients of KCA are also of high financial value and have a substantial market presence. However, their operations and business transactions are not as massive as those of clients under HVKA. DHL and Akiz Group are among some of the KCA clients.
  3. HVSA (High Value Strategic Accounts): Clients of this unit are of high strategic value because of the nature of organization and the scope of their work. They include the Armed Forces, police, most ministries, LGRDs and some embassies.
  4. BS Dhaka (Business Sales Dhaka): These include businesses operating in Dhaka. Within the unit, the businesses are divided geographically which yields the following zones:
  • Zone 1: Gulshan – Baridhara – Old DOHS
  • Zone 2: Baridhara – Uttara – Gazipur – Mymensingh
  • Zone 3: Kawranbazar – Shahbagh – Tejgaon – Mohakhali
  • Zone 4: Dhanmondi – Mirpur
  • Zone 5: Motijheel – Old Dhaka
  • Zone 6: Narayanganj – Munshigonj
  1. Tele-sales and Business Service Management: Deals with tele-sales, lead management for new clients and business service activation
  2. BS Regions (Business Sales Regions) – These include businesses operating outside Dhaka. Within the unit, the businesses are divided geographically which yields the following zones:

Chittagong Zone – also includes a Chittagong Key Accounts zone for companies such as Abul Khair and BSRM and Chittagong BS for clients such as S-Alam.

Other regions – Rajshahi-Bogra, Khulna-Barisal, Sylhet-Comilla.

Support functions consist of:

  1. P & E (Planning and Execution Support): The scope of this unit involves supporting the sales function, securing the total revenue target of the entire Direct Sales department through developing processes, campaigns etc.
  2. NBD (New Business Development): The scope of this unit involves the implementation and management of tenders, presentation and proposal content management, coordination with stakeholders, people management and competency development and ensuring business development with partners for increased use of telecommunications services in the partner’s own solution.

Grameenphone Business Solutions:

Grameenphone has launched Business Solution in the year of 2006. Business Solutions is a complete, quality business communications service from Grameenphone – designed especially for the business community in Bangladesh. Our Business Solutions team is here to help provide you with customized telecommunications solutions through consultation with you. At office or on the move – stay connected through Business Solutions.

Business solution Products:

  • Internet SIM: Internet SIM is a SIM card that allows you to use internet and avail data services. Using this SIM you can send or receive SMS but can no avail any voice services. Whenever, wherever you want to get online access to the internet, Grameenphone has got the coverage & right solutions that will suit you.
  • Internet Packages: Internet is the most convenient medium of information, through which people can enhance their knowledge, spread the same form one corner of the globe to whichever place they wish with a single click. Grameenphone internet is another step towards fulfilling the goal to help people stay close to their dear ones and to enlighten their lives through free and flawless access to information. With this step, Grameenphone so far brought internet to people in the following ways:
  • Desktop and Laptop browsing: by using the mobile as modem or by internet modem
  • Mobile screen browsing: WAP/internet browsing on the mobile
  • Data Card: Grameenphone has introduced a new generation high-speed Internet modem capable of supporting GPRS/UMTS/HSDPA. This is a multi-mode wireless terminal with which you can browse Internet, send/receive messages/emails and use voice services without requiring wired connections. The new Grameenphone Internet Modem is a faster, reliable and easy to use device.
  • Vehicle Tracking: Vehicle tracking service is a GPS based vehicle tracking solution that provides instant location information to the vehicle owner/ authorized person through web/SMS with other flexibilities. Through this comprehensive solution, a subscriber can learn the real-time position of this vehicle, and apply rules on the vehicles (e.g.: speed limit, No Go Area, etc). In addition, subscribers can also secure their vehicles by subscribing to security features like remote immobilization, panic alarm. Some of the other features are: Speed Violation Alert/Report (speed of all vehicles can be controlled, monitored, and hence when violated, immediate contact can be made to reduce such violation.
  • M-Reporting: Grameenphone introduces “Mobile Reporting”, a customized SMS and web-based application developed for field service professionals to help automated report dispatches, scheduling, and delivery and thus optimize efficiency of your business. It enables the field sales force to report their daily tasks, place order at the inventory, and send sales report through their mobile phones to their head office in real- time from anywhere in Bangladesh.
  • Team Tracker: Grameenphone Team Tracker is an enterprise solution for business organizations which enables the business managers to improve the speed and quality of field force activity. It ensures better field-force management by tracking employees through web and managing tasks in a faster way through both web and SMS. It is designed using the LBS technology which provides information using our BTS location. It is a new value-added solution for the Business Market.
  • Business SMS: Business SMS is a web based SMS broadcasting application through which GP Business clients can Send, Manage and schedule message broadcasts to single or multiple recipients. Business SMS an extremely flexible and well-developed service, so it offers a multitude of ways to help strengthen your business while saving your time and money. The use of Business SMS will make your business more efficiently managed.

 

Advanced solutions for business:

GP WAN: Wireless and secured intranet to provide you data connectivity. With your private APN, you can access the corporate server from anywhere.

Voice Mail: Your callers can leave messages in your voice mailbox when your phone is unreachable. Now you can even retrieve the message through e-mail and website.

SMS Reporter: Get report on sales, distribution, etc. as per your needs.

Stock Information: Updated information of stock exchange, your own stock portfolio and recent price changes

BlackBerry:

Grameenphone Business Solutions, the complete communications solution for business, introduces BlackBerry services in Bangladesh for Grameenphone subscribers. BlackBerry Smartphone’s enable users to access the proven BlackBerry wireless services with support for email, phone, internet, instant messaging, organizer and much more. Discover a larger life with BlackBerry Smartphone’s. It is much more than just work and email. It helps you connect with friends, family and others and gives your life a much needed balance.

BlackBerry® Internet Service (BIS):

BlackBerry® Internet Service (BIS) is an out-of-the-box service that comes ready to activate with every BlackBerry® Smartphone from Grameenphone, and when integrated with your ISP mail service, it provides you with seamless mobile extension to your existing email service.

SWOT Analysis of Direct Sales:

Strengths and weaknesses are the micro environmental factors influencing a business which are within the organization. Opportunities and threats are the macro environmental factors that influence all the firms in the industry. They are present in the whole industry. The following figure shows the strengths and opportunities that Direct Sales Unit of Grameenphone Ltd. Enjoys as well as weaknesses and threats that the company faces.

Strength:

  • Large number of specialized and experienced Sales people with broad industry knowledge.
  • Priority Service for the Business Customer.
  • Internal network coverage setup for BS customer.
  • International roaming with priority treatment.
  • Pre-Paid service with low cost.
  • Low tariff during business hours.
  • Low price handsets with quality and variability.
  • Relationship with the customer can be enhanced through different events/programs e.g. Iftar Party, BS Live, various competitive program arrangement.
  • Customize Service in response to technological change.
  • Door step services to customer.

Weakness:

  • Documentation is not very flexible for Business Solution Subscription.
  • Due to process limitation, response time is slow compared to that of other operators.
  • Stock unavailability in some cases when urgent product requisition is required.
  • Takes time to activate postpaid product and services.
  • Bill distribution team took much time to generate the bill.

Opportunity:

  • New technology arrival for the BS Customer e.g. BlackBerry (Enhanced Handset Service).
  • Huge demand in the market especially in the SME sector.
  • Good opportunity for upsale since majority of the customer belongs to GP.
  • Top of mind factor due to market leadership.
  • Different industry exposure by the account managers.
  • GP is the pioneer to spread countrywide network whose leverage direct sales is still enjoying.

Threat:

  • Strong corporate sales force of competitors.
  • Aggressive marketing by competitors.
  • Large sales force can be burden for the company if quality sales are not assured by the sales people.
  • It is very difficult to keep relation with all BS customers as there are large number of customers are existing in the market.
  • Possibility of new entrances using GSM Technology.
  • Difficult to respond to diverse customer demand.
  • Insufficient knowledge about the BS product among the new business people.
  • Need to correspond to different stakeholders to come up with a single solution.

Theoretical Review on Direct Selling

The Direct Selling Process:

Direct Selling Cycle is of GP shows its business to business (B2B) sell. From the bellow cycle we find seven steps for a mature and quality sale. In the first step the sellers establish contact with the potential customer and try to take an appointment from the prospective customer. Then in the second step the seller organizes himself or herself for the next step based on the need of the customer. In the third step the sellers meets with the customer at the convenient time of the customer and negotiate about the product and its price and other related services. Fourth step includes internal approval and supervisor’s involvement to make proposal for any particular customer. In the fifth step the seller submit the proposal to customer along with an agreement paper depending on the need of the customer. In step six, the seller delivers products and activates the products. In the final step the seller keep long term relation with the customer and provide further required service for up dales and more revenue generation.

 

Direct Selling Practice at GP:

Lead Generation: Leads are generated by the following procedure:

  1. Telemarketing: The Newspaper Add of GP BS contains some numbers which are dedicated for the enquiry of any sort information regarding BS. That makes the interested customer to make call to those help lines. So the call receivers get Lead information from those inquisitive calls. This is one of the efficient ways of lead generation for BS.
  2. GP Sales Team: The sales channel of GP is spread throughout the country. So each business clients may contact one of them and which is regularly diverted to the BS department which is generating regularly handsome amount of lead. Moreover the GP BS sales team frequently makes visits to different business organizations it also helps generating Lead.
  3. Personal Reference and Campaign: The existing clients of GP BS suggests about the product to their personal attachments. More over the employee of GP has personal references which also generate leads. Again the employee of GP BS department may have personal attachment with different business organizations through themselves and their attachments. GP direct sales team also hold campaigns along with rewards to encourage employees of other divisions to provide lead; this is also a prime way of personal reference for the generation of lead.
  4. Directories: Each industry runs under some kind of rules and regulation of their own. There may be some watchdog to take care the industry. Like in Bangladesh these kinds of watchdog or associations are BGMEA, BKMEA, BTMEA, ISPAB, DSE etc. When there are some associations in any industry an exhaustive list of each company is enlisted there. This kind of directory is also a successful source of generation of Lead.
  5. Websites: Now a day’s internet is the source of all information. But most of our local companies don’t have any websites. Only a limited number of local companies have websites. Those limited number of companies’ websites are the source of lead. So the websites of the company hence are used in lead generation.

Fixing Appointment over Phone: While making the first call to the contact person of any company introduction of the caller and Grameenphone is done every time. Then they awakening the customer by saying that, we have a very attractive corporate offer of mobile telephones, which we think very much beneficial to your company. Then the customer may become very much interested about learning the corporate offer on that conversation. It is desirable that phone conversation will only limited to awake the customer interest which will roll in a meeting. Telling too much about the offer is strictly avoided. Because the customer may take a negative decision instantly without having any clear understanding of the detail benefit of the offer or the customer may be overloaded with unrelated information to him.

 

First Visit to the Customer:

In direct sales the seller has to visit customer office premises to meet the client. So after fixing the appointment the next step is the First visit to the customer. The first visit to the customer is very crucial with respect to sales prospect. As there is an old saying that first impression lasts till end.

  1. Preparation: The impression is dependent on the gesture, posture, attitude, politeness & other personality related parts of the seller. More over understanding of the customer’s personality, understanding precious time of customers & listening to the customer is very important. Understanding beforehand the above factors the seller gets prepared for the first meeting. So according to the customer class the seller maintains a dress code for the meeting. Obviously a seller must be prepared mentally to talk with same level of the mentality of the customer. These are the essential part of the preparation that should be taken before visiting a new prospective client.
  2. Customer Need Analysis: The seller approaches the attractive benefits of the offer with a very limited view. Then the seller asks to know about the company and its business. The customer must understand why the seller wants to know about the company. The reason should be cleared by the seller to the customer. The reason is GPBS provides a customized offer which is unique to the company and based on the client needs. The customer may talk about unrelated issues about the product. It is seller’s responsibility to divert the customer to the area of concentration which is the mobile telephony and wireless data service’s need of the customer. This information includes total number of employees, number of cell-phone users, number of cell-phone users who are paid by the company, the growth function of the company, the most frequent call receivers, number of offices in the country, employee mobility, existing data service usage & future needs.

Proposal Submission Assurance: After the customer need analysis, the seller must assure that very soon the customer will get a customized offer for benefit of their company. The customer must feel that much sure that the company is going to get a unique offer very soon. In this regard while collecting customer information the seller must note all the information told by the customer. This makes the customer that the seller is paying serious attention to give a customized unique offer.

Fixing Next Appointment: While closing the meeting the seller have to remind the key issues discussed in the meeting. Just make it easy to remember by the customer. Then the seller must fix an appointment with consultation of the customer’s convenience for the proposal submission. If the customer is unable to give next appointment then the seller must tactfully inform that he will fix the next appointment over phone again.

Proposal Submission:

The proposal submission is the next phase of the Direct Selling Practice. The proposal usually contains the introduction, brief description of GP, Special Benefit of GP-BS, Tariff Plan, Dedicated Customer Service Round The Clock, Meeting Minutes, and Total Startup Cost for acquiring BS.

Focusing Customer Need: Usually GP Business sales team of Dhaka and Region maintain a common format of business proposal for their clients. The common format is latterly modified according to the customer needs. The customer pays serious attention and feel comfortable when the proposal contains need related information and benefits. More over the promotional offer is highlighted in the proposal which further more attracts the customer.

Customizing the Proposal: In business market both the SME and Corporate market of GP-BS are very much diversified. So proposal for any company has to be unique if customer need is focused. As the business industry varies the need varies even within the same industry the need varies according to the market position, turnover, number of employees, usage of information technology and other related issues. So customization of the proposal is essential to feel comfortable with the proposal.

Subsequent Visit to Resolve the Arising Issues:

Listening to the Raised Issues: After submission of the proposal the management of the company is allowed to go through the proposal. Then the seller fixes next appointment to resolve the raised issues. The market is highly competitive so the customer is aware of the competitors’ offer. That raises the bargaining power of the customer. So there will be always some issues which will have to be resolved. The most common issue in selling GP-BS is that costs a startup cost where as the competitors are providing Sims Card with no startup cost. In this issue the common point of defense for the seller is the Brand Image of best quality of network which is really helpful to resolve the issue. To resolve the arising issue it may take several visits. The reason is that the establishment of corporate connection is related with the whole organization and the whole number of employees. So a visit with the key decision maker may resolve the raising issues raised by the key decision makers’. But as the employees hear about the GP-BS the raise issues regarding number change, call rate other inconvenience related issues. So it is necessary to pay more visits to the customer premises.

Mitigation of the Issues & Settlement: The raised issues are too mitigated to get attention of the customer with a feel of co-operation. Only when the raised issues are mitigated then the sale is possible. Otherwise the customer may feel neglected on their demand. By this time some solvable issues may be relaxed with interference of the higher authority of the seller end. Those issues are to be assured to be mitigated with the knowledge of the high officials of the seller end. Then the customer may be in a settlement about being a corporate customer of GP-BS. So here the seller has to consider some demand of the customer to reach a settlement.

Diverting Uncompromising Issues: There are some raised issues which are far beyond of the company policy. Like in the market the competitors are providing free SIM cards to the business clients. While GP is charging startup cost for each of the connections. Most of the customers usually raise this issue. Then the seller has to disagree with customer, saying that GP does not provide any service for free. More over the seller has to make the customer understand that free stuffs do not have any commitment as they are free. But GP is charging startup cost for which they are providing the best value for money. This is a very common uncompromising issue which faced with each of the customer in these days. The seller must handle the situation very tactfully to divert the uncompromising issues at the same time it has to be kept in mind that the customer should never be feel neglected which will negatively affect the buying decision.

Creating Win-Win Situations: This is the final stage before the buyers wants to take the buying decision. Only when the Win-Win situation is created the customer feels comfortable and agrees to buy the GP-BS. Now-a-days it is tough to create Win-Win situations & getting tougher day by day. In this regard the current market scenario presentation is desirable and there are many potential customers in the market especially

Websites: Now a day’s internet is the source of all information. But most of our local companies don’t have any websites. Only a limited number of local companies have websites. Those limited number of companies’ websites are the source of lead. So the websites of the company hence are used in lead generation.

Fixing Appointment over Phone:

While making the first call to the contact person of any company introduction of the caller and Grameenphone is done every time. Then they awakening the customer by saying that, we have a very attractive corporate offer of mobile telephones, which we think very much beneficial to your company. Then the customer may become very much interested about learning the corporate offer on that conversation. It is desirable that phone conversation will only limited to awake the customer interest which will roll in a meeting.

Telling too much about the offer is strictly avoided. Because the customer may take a negative decision instantly without having any clear understanding of the detail benefit of the offer or the customer may be overloaded with unrelated information to him.

 

First Visit to the Customer:

In direct sales the seller has to visit customer office premises to meet the client. So after fixing the appointment the next step is the First visit to the customer. The first visit to the customer is very crucial with respect to sales prospect. As there is an old saying that first impression lasts till end.

Preparation: The impression is dependent on the gesture, posture, attitude, politeness & other personality related parts of the seller. More over understanding of the customer’s personality, understanding precious time of customers & listening to the customer is very important. Understanding beforehand the above factors the seller gets prepared for the first meeting. So according to the customer class the seller maintains a dress code for the meeting. Obviously a seller must be prepared mentally to talk with same level of the mentality of the customer. These are the essential part of the preparation that should be taken before visiting a new prospective client.

Customer Need Analysis: The seller approaches the attractive benefits of the offer with a very limited view. Then the seller asks to know about the company and its business. The customer must understand why the seller wants to know about the company. The reason should be cleared by the seller to the customer. The reason is GPBS provides a customized offer which is unique to the company and based on the client needs. The customer may talk about unrelated issues about the product. It is seller’s responsibility to divert the customer to the area of concentration which is the mobile telephony and wireless data service’s need of the customer. This information includes total number of employees, number of cell-phone users, number of cell-phone users who are paid by the company, the growth function of the company, the most frequent call receivers, number of offices in the country, employee mobility, existing data service usage & future needs.

Proposal Submission Assurance: After the customer need analysis, the Account Manager must assure that very soon the customer will get a customized offer for benefit of their company. The customer must feel that much sure that the company is going to get a unique offer very soon. In this regard while collecting customer information the seller must note all the information told by the customer. This makes the customer that the seller is paying serious attention to give a customized unique offer.

Fixing Next Appointment: While closing the meeting with the Account Manager must repeat the key issues discussed in the meeting. Just make it easy to remember by the customer. Then the seller must fix an appointment with consultation of the customer’s convenience for the proposal submission. If the customer is unable to give next appointment then the seller must tactfully inform that he will fix the next appointment over phone again.

Proposal Submission:

The proposal submission is the next phase of the Direct Selling Practice. The proposal usually contains the introduction, brief description of GP, Special Benefit of GP-BS, Tariff Plan, Dedicated Customer Service Round The Clock, Meeting Minutes, and Total Startup Cost for acquiring BS.

The Final Decision:

The final decision occurs after the Win-Win situation. In this stage the key decision maker of client-company agrees to become the subscriber of GP-BS. Then the key decision maker asks the seller about the documents which are necessary for the purpose. Then the key decision maker fixes the date of delivery of the products and activation of the service & mode of payment & time of payments with consultation of the seller. More over some good clients requests for the signing ceremony & subsequently the press release. If possible the final date of each and every activity is fixed during the final decision with consultation of both parties.

Collection of Work Order:

When the final decision of the key decision maker is done then the issue comes which is the collection of the work order. It is enviable to collect the work order on the same day of Final decision. If the work order collection is delayed the customer may meanwhile change the mind. So collection of the work order immediately is practiced here.

Delivery of the products and payment collection:

In this stage the seller becomes satisfied as the sell has become matured after a long series of procedure as practiced in GP. The seller then lifts the product from the logistics department and delivers to the customer & collects the payments in check. And then give those checks to the finance department.

Recommendation:

  • Generated Lead should be distributed among the salespeople.
  • In a zone the clear work area should be defined so that a single customer should not be approached by more than one sales people.
  • Exhaustive and updated information of the companies of the industries at any zone should be prepared.
  • An environment should create where within the organization no employee becomes a rival of others.
  • Always keep informing the salespeople about the product offering & service given which is modified recently with the explanation.
  • Importance should also give to the other key factors rather than only towards number of connection sold and revenue generation.
  • More and more branding should be done for the business market with proper communication.
  • Flexibility in product offering should be maintained as the product claims to be customized for each client.
  • The salespeople should be trained frequently to learn the skills & tricks in handling crucial situations.
  • After ending of each quarter there should be sales conference in tourist locations to gain the work rhythm for the next quarter.
  • Some lengthy in house task processing should be reduced to give better service to the customer.
  • Logistics finance & other support functions should be arranged zonal basis to reduce the unexpected hassle.
  • After each attempt of modification of the process the feedback from every sales personnel who is directly influenced with it must be taken.
  • Delivery of product and collection of money must be done by the logistics department so that sales people can focus on sales.

Above discussed points are the solutions for the problems those faces by the sales force of Grameenphone Ltd. If these solutions are implemented within very short time then the sales force will be able to work with more satisfaction. At the same time this employee satisfaction will increase both the quantity and quality of sales which will help to increase the revenue for Grameenphone Ltd.

Conclusion

GP has the largest workforce in the industry who is working for the company. Same goes for the business market. The business sales department is operated mainly regional basis. And in each region there are number of zones. So the workforce is sufficient but the process is not developed that much as the business sales has completed 12 years. GP has process development wing under direct sales department. This team is working hard every day to modify the existing process to gain maximum operational efficiency. Their development initiative must be supported by the salespeople. That is why involvement of direct salespeople must be ensured. This is not done currently. Unlike other products in the market the telecom products are largely exposed by the media and the competition is very much high in this industry. So, the customers are very much aware of the product offering of competitors’ product.

Now-a-days customer has bargaining power. As a result the salespeople faces tough situation to motivate the customer & eventually make the sale there. So, process development alone may not work to gain the maximum profit. In addition it is necessary to respond with the existing competition to make the product more competitive and presentable to the customer.

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