A management Institute is frequent buyer of personal computers for his various users. In June 2008, the Institute facilities, MDC, delivering management development program wanted to purchase 3 to 5 PCS worth 1.35 Lacks for its computer centre.

A management Institute is frequent buyer of personal computers for his various users. In June 2008, the Institute facilities, MDC, delivering management development program wanted to purchase 3 to 5 PCS worth 1.35 Lacks for its computer centre. Requisition for the purchase of PCs was forwarded to the Store and Purchase Office (SPO) headed by Mr Kishore Pandya. Since PCs are purchased regularly, the store and purchase officer maintain a list of vendors representing various PC companies for sending inquiries and only MNC marketing firms such as Dell, IBM, HP, Compaq etc. are included in the list.  Enquiries are sent to the vendors after receiving the approved acquisition form (called the capital form), and the receipt of the capital from triggers the beginning of the purchase process at the sales and purchase office. However, on this purchase occasions non MNC marketing companies such as Wipro and HCL, who were vendors to the institute for other products got into action before the SPO formally dispatched the inquiry.  These companies enjoyed a healthy business relationship with the SPO and IT department

The purchase process for a PC is through tendering.  All vendors approved by SPO are sent enquiries with an expiry period of 20 days to a months’ time through the registered post and are asked to submit sealed quotation matching the specified configuration within the stipulated time frame.  BIDs received are scrutinize and bidders that field to meet the specified configuration are disqualified from the process. From the remaining bids that meet the technical specifications, the lowest bid wins the tender to supply the PC’s to the Institute. Once the PCs reach the Institute premises, the technical performance is verified by the IT department then gets the PC installed at the user premises with the help of the vendor.  After installation at users’ premises and satisfactory performance the IT department gives a go ahead to the SPO to process the invoice and make the payment to the vendor as per the agreed terms. The account Department then makes payment to the vendor by cheque.

The company HCL had 12-year-old business relationship with the Institute and its various departments such as SPO and it and had been supplying network products to them regularly.  However, for PCs, it was the first time that HCL was PC pitching to sell to them in spite of the fact that HCL was not an MNC PC marketing company, they pitched to the SPO for its inclusion in the approved vendors list. The company HCL was represented by ASM  Mr. Ashish Dave and his support engineer made presentation to SPO about HCL as a company, its clientele,  product range and provided several customer references.  Mr dev also had a healthy relationship with the SPO for last one year.  Finally, HCL was included by the SPO as a prospective vendor and enquiry was sent to them as well.  This can be attributed to the efforts made by the sales manager Mr dev.  Wipro which was HCL’s competitor in the tendering process also place to be included in the list of approved vendors.  Enquiry was sent to Wipro too.  However, Wipro head supplied few pieces to the Institute 3 years back, but user feedback were not very satisfactory.

in response to the enquiry received from SPO, HCL and another MNCs send their quotations.  The quotation from the HCL was the lowest at around 5% when compared to the other quotations. This was because the Institute end users were not using PC for any commercial purpose and hence HCL l could pass on tax benefit to the institute on this count.  The sales manager also made presentation to the engineer Mr Lakhani and the IT manager and later the purchase officer.   HCL send the detail product literature to the SPO. HCL finally won the tender to supply the PC to the Institute. The sales manager felt HCL won the bid due to several reasons, the most important ones being regular follow up with the SPO and the other departments like IT, be it face to face meeting or telephonic calls in addition HCL could derive benefit from his 12 years old relationship with the Institute and that has helped HCL in knowing early in the process when the institute was about to send enquiries to PC vendors for the quotation. Being close to the customer to understand their satisfaction level with the HCL products and services by being in constant touch for taking feedback from users and IT department and becoming familiar with the systems and people at the Institute, facilitated by the length of relationship were additional factors.  The past performance of sale with networking products has also helped. Similarly providing referrals of the satisfied customers helped to get new business because for a new vendor, the issue always checks for credibility and other indicators of vendor performance. However, HCL also played upon the weakness of existing supplier Wipro.  the sales manager found the weak spots of the current suppliers and paste the strength of HCL in addressing those weak spots better than Wipro. The current customer dissatisfaction with the current supplier magnified the impact of this effort.

Last but not the list the sales manager also made sure that HCL played an important role in educating the customer about the need to have a high PC configuration so that the quotations from other vendors remained high, and, as a result HCL could win the bid.

A.    Make a sales process flow chart to show how the sales process flows from the needed identification to closing the sale and follow up. (3 Marks)

B.    Elucidate 3 activities of the salespersons responsible to sell PC’s to the Institute. (3 Marks) 

C.    What are the most important competencies required of the salesperson in such a selling situation? (2 Marks)

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