A Day In The Life Of A Market Growth Representative (MGR)
“This job is not for the go-getters, for the industrious and the bold. One has to be patient, persevere, and stay focussed on the end goal, each day, every day!” according to Kiran, MGR, Baroda GT Sales team.
It is a fact that field sales are one of the more demanding careers, with each day being a new challenge. An MGR or Market Growth Representative – an extended family of the sales force at HCCB - is an important part of the business, they reach out to the customers, taking orders, merchandising, bringing back market insights, and helping the company business grow. MGR is the bridge between the company and the market.
At HCCB, an MGR is entrusted with visiting the retailers as outlined in their journey plan (the “plan-o-gram”), taking orders, seeking feedback from the retailers, helping keep the outlet well-groomed, and ensuring that company products are arranged and showcased properly to attract greater sales.
Some people take up this role for the high that they get when they close a win; while for others it is about a sense of pride and belonging, of being recognized and appreciated for their hard work; and for others still, it is the long-lasting friendships and the camaraderie that act as motivating factors.
“A day without any tough situation to be dealt with, one in which I have not got a chance to apply my sales expertise for turning situation around to my liking, is a day wasted for me!” shares Yogi Sonawane, MGR, MHG Zone.
No matter what fuels their fire, MGRs step into the field highly motivated and positive each day.
What sets the MGRs apart?
A successful MGR thinks and acts differently. While the qualities or traits are the same across individuals, the ability to identify and cultivate these characteristics within oneself is what draws a line between a good salesperson and a phenomenal one.
Anusha, MGR, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana Zone elaborates, “some of the traits that our MGRs personify include the ability to think out-of-the-box and be solutions-oriented.” Patience, perseverance, and persistence form the three critical P’s in this job. Further, not only does one have to be a people person, he or she has to have good listening and communicating skills–an imperative for developing a strong market presence for themselves.
Naveen Kumar D, MGR, Chennai Zone adds that along with these skill sets, it is equally vital for the MGRs to have in-depth knowledge about the company and their territory at their fingertips. They need to know not just our product portfolio and marketing strategies like the back of their hand, they must also be up to date with the competitor’s strategies.
Daily Challenges faced by MGRs
…and while they are doing all this, they also need to be on top of their game to face the challenges that each new day throws at them.
Breaking-in and converting difficult prospects: This is one of the most difficult challenges, says Prabhasini Panda, MGR, East Zone. Potential customers may be hesitant to shift their loyalties or are uninterested simply due to the lack of knowledge and understanding of the brand, she adds. This is where an MGR plays an integral role in expanding the brand’s recognition and reach in the market by applying various marketing and sales strategies with strong intuitive and out-of-the-box thinking to convert a lead into an actual sale.
Expanding business opportunities: Whether it is a new product launch or schemes of existing products, the MGR is the person responsible for ensuring that the product journey from factory to market is seamless and impactful. According to Jabir, an MGR with Karnataka Kerala Zone, at this time different sales tactics come in play – from ensuring that the products are showcased in a prime position for clear visibility, in the visi-cooler or on the store shelves, to convincing the retailer to promote the sale of new products or schemes to his regular customers – patience and effective people skills remain the underlying factors to overcome such challenges successfully.
Dealing with gender bias: In many parts of the country people still believe that sales is not a woman’s job. Many of our female MGRs face this bias fairly regularly. In addition to this, they have at one time or the other, experienced instances of misbehaviour ranging from not being taken seriously regarding their work to personal remarks. Kiran had shared an instance of facing such a situation with one of the employees of her customer. She brought the matter to the attention of her ASM and the way the matter was addressed and the support she received helped her realize that HCCB treats its employees like a close-knit family where women are to be given utmost respect and assurance that their safety and security would always be a top priority. She is not the only one who has had this realization.
Tough sales routes or ineffective prospecting: While every day is a new challenge – the magnitude varies. Those stepping out to address difficult sales routes or ineffective leads have their own set of struggles to go through as they attempt to access remote areas where the hold of local brands is difficult to break and penetrate.
Braving the storm of negative publicity: Anytime there is negative news the MGRs have to step up to the plate to not just defend the company but to clear the air so as to negate the long-term impact of such media coverage. This requires them to connect deeply with the retailers, share company information and policies, address doubts and apprehensions in order to successfully re-establish their credibility.
So, what does a successful day look like?
With such a full plate in their hands, let us look at what makes their day…
Starting the day right: Despite the daily obstacles, an MGR strives to make each day his best one. And starting the morning right is crucial as it essentially defines how your entire day would pan out. Spending quality time with family, physical exercises, meditation, etc., is how most MGRs begin their day. Being professionally dressed is equally important-for self-confidence as well as to make a good impression in the field.
Be well-armed with knowledge before you hit the market: Preparedness is the key to success. Therefore, being well-equipped with their target for the day, the number of outlets to visit on a particular day, any previous day’s issues clearly discussed and resolved with the supervisor, getting the lowdown of any product cross-selling or company announcements from the gate meetings, etc., are some of the ways that ensure you hit the ground running.
Productive during the day: A successful day is defined when the MGR manages to convert a lead into a sale, effectively resolves any customer issues, ensures that product displays, distribution, and supply are being carried out seamlessly.
Wrapping up things before calling it a day: While beginning the day requires a clear-cut list of “to do’s”, it is equally imperative to ensure that all are ticked off from the same at the end of the day. An MGR log in each and every detail of sales done during the day targets achieved, any unresolved issues being earmarked to be discussed with the concerned official, strategize his next day’s targets.