Article: Your people need to be superior in a competitive market: Manoj Kohli

Strategic HR

Your people need to be superior in a competitive market: Manoj Kohli

The secret to building a team that stays ahead of the market

The rule of the game in telecom is the need to win every day, every time, with quality


The market is extremely competitive and your people need to be superior - Manoj Kohli, CEO (International) & Joint Managing Director, Bharti Airtel.

What are the unique characteristics of sales teams in the telecom industry?
In the telecom industry, in the last decade we have built a machinery to create availability and reach of our services. There are several elements that are unique to telecom: Firstly, the importance of how you engage constantly with traders and costumers; our front-sales people should be able to pick up the clues on what are we good at, what are we weak at, and where we can innovate. Secondly, maintaining the speed and quality of service while keeping the commitment and delivering on promises. This means that the sales teams should have a very robust feedback mechanism to communicate with their supervisor and he or she should be empowered to take decisions to be able to win every day. The rule of the game in telecom is the need to win every day, every time, with quality. And finally, it is important to have a continuous focus on training. The ability to close the deal is a crucial capability that sales individually need to develop.

What are the challenges from the talent perspective?
As the market is extremely competitive, your brand and your sales people need to be superior. In India, we find availability of talent is much better than in Africa. Companies in this industry need to focus on using recruitment as a strong filter, focus on training, and finally create engagement with sales team through constant recognition programs.

What are the essential elements in building a successful sales team?
Firstly, the company needs to know the goal. For Bharti Airtel, the goal is to be market leaders and the organization is build around this goal. Secondly, this vision needs to be drilled down to sales targets. Thirdly, these targets must be linked to sales incentives and R&R programs so that vision, mission and goals, of the company and teams are aligned. This linkage needs to be seamless and this formula will then take you to achieve your goal.

How do you support your front-sales people to deliver quality at the right speed?
The complete sales process has the support of 3 teams; the HR team focuses on recruitment, induction and training; the marketing team focuses on managing sales targets, sales measures and metrics, and develops strategies for distribution; and the automation team, by the IT team, support the technology on sales and distribution process.

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Topics: Strategic HR, C-Suite, Performance Management, #ExpertViews

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