He had found several ‘difficulties’ with the arrangement and had left the transaction hanging in mid air. Andre was busy chasing the market and retail, no doubt, but in the hotel chain sale prospect, there was opportunity for strengthening the brand presence. So felt Bawa and Arpita, but the Dubai office felt Andre was tacitly sabotaging any success so that he could prove that Belani was a stunningly bad idea.
Andre had also launched his ad campaign much before the products arrived from the US. Belani had fought that saying the consumer will demand the product once the ad appears hence it would be better to wait. But Andre had his marketing reasons, which also sounded reasonable. So, the classic marketing-sales tussle had begun. Raghuveer felt they needed to work together and not as separate beings, for Kloop needed both their skills and cooperation.
Come December, and sales were abysmal. Bawa in Singapore refused to talk to Andre and Andre refused to talk to Belani and Belani refused to waste his time talking at all. He said, “I am a seasoned distributor, I will work alone, what sells, sells; what does not is because your CEO was not cooperating.”
Haney was now on the warpath. Nothing was improving. He prepared to pull the Indian shutters down.
Belani refused to be bullied into performance by Andre, “It is your brand you should be concerned. You cannot sit in your office and dictate to me how to run my business! ” he said.
Andre, beginning to feel the heat as March approached, met Belani’s sales team and pushed them. They identified with Andre as they too were from MNCs, so some small bonhomie prevailed but somewhere they resented the fact that their boss was not in with them on this. When Reghuveer met
I will work alone, what sells, sells’
Andre for an overview, he cribbed, “Belani does not have time for me! ”
Even so, Raghuveer was keen to make it work, probably also because Kloop was his client and he had a sense of commitment. “Why don’t you go over the various ideas I had sent you? ” he said to Andre. “It will create positive motivation among your team of RSMs and that of Belani’s.”
But Andre was by now frustrated, fed up and also beginning to lose hope. He had enough to do, he barely slept, and now he did not want untested ideas. Andre was losing his composure slowly as his four RSMs began to fret too. “Maybe we are expecting results too soon?” he suggested. “ It is not even ayear! All MNC brands have taken more than eight years to break-eve”
Eight years? Haney’s global team even wanted Andre to make up for the six months he had lost. Andre realised that blaming Belani would land him in deeper mess.
That was also when Raghuveer had the onerous task of meeting Belani and Andre together for a very bad lunch session where he spoke in no uncertain terms howthe two had failed, even as both of them yelled over his head at each other. Raghuveer read out from a message from Haney and Bawa: “If targets are not delivered by mid May, India operations will be closed on 1 June.”
In a last ditch bid, the next day, Raghuveer called both mentoanew location right next to Belani’s office.
It was a small business centre. He showed them both into a room that was fitted with phones printers, fax machines and whatnot. “This is your new office,” he said to both of them as they looked at him, stunned. “Now, work together… sitting here. You need anything from your offices? Ask your fellows to fetch ittoyou!”
If Andre tried to protest, Raghuveer shrugged his shoulders very helplessly. “I wish I was not the one making you guys do this, this is a farmaan from Haney in the US,” he lied helplessly. But Belani laughed and said, “ Theek hai, bhai, if this is the Boss’ order, we will sit here and work!’ By evening that day, Andre’s Hindi was suitably diluted to be engaging enough so that Belani enjoyed. Raghuveer was disbelieving. How did the situation change so dramatically? Andre was discussing SWOTs, understanding Belani’s difficulties, offering solutions and before long even thumping him on the back with a cheer. …itbegantowork.
At the end of it, there were nine executives from large MNCs who stood to lose their jobs and the pressure got them to work to make it work!
That month they achieved the monthly target and in three months the third quarter targets were exceeded! Clearly the initial push itselfhad been missing, and once they came under pressure, they crossed even the targets.
Bawa was dumbfounded. No one was able to say anything. The only one who spoke was Andre, to Raghuveer, “Let us discuss your ideas soon and see what we can implement?” [I]
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