Deenbandhu Gupta, alumni of the Jaipuria Institute of Management, Lucknow (batch of 1995-97)
With 17 years of work experience spread across three industries, Deenbandhu Gupta, alumni of Jaipuria Institute of Management, Lucknow (batch of 1995-97), started his career with a placement with Motor and General Sales Ltd., authorised dealers of Tata Motors. “I joined the company in 1998 and I was handling their Azamgarh branch,” he says. “It was the start of a job in which I had a great learning experience – one where I witnessed the launch of both the Tata Sumo, as well as power steering in trucks.”
With a career spanning durables to FMCG, and Insurance, which, as he tells us, “is really concept selling,” Gupta feels that he owes it all to his two years at Jaipuria Lucknow: “Our Founder Director at that time was Dr. NK Dhooper and his words to us hold meaning for me even today: ‘You are pioneers in maintaining the image of the Institute’. Consequently, I have always tried to live up to the exemplary standards set by my alma mater.”
Switching from the automobile segment to a career in the soft drink industry in 2001, the next four years saw Gupta as Area Volume Coordinator in Agra Sales and Marketing Services (P) Ltd. Here, he was responsible for the sales and promotion of products like Coca Cola, Fanta and Limca in Agra City. Talking about how his experience helped him grow in confidence, Gupta recalls the time when the CEO was slated to visit the market and he was assigned the task of increasing volume sales and the visibility of the products. “I managed 60-70 outlets in a period of two days for Brindavan Bottlers – bottlers for Coca Cola,” he explains. “At that time, we were facing some issues with 15-20 outlets. I managed to resolve the matter, with the help of some of my seniors in only one day.” Deenbandhu tells us that the focus was to persuade the shopkeepers to “keep their shops looking good for 72 hours as a goodwill gesture to solving their problems overnight.” In the end, the VIP visit went without a hitch. “It was a tough job but I managed it well.” For this, he thanks the lessons that he learned during his time at Jaipuria, Lucknow. “We were taught by an excellent faculty who was always at hand to guide us,” he says, reflecting on his time at the institute. “We learned that sales is essentially teamwork and if you work like the ‘boss’ you never get results. We also learned about leadership and how a true leader leads from the front.”
In 2005, Gupta decided to switch professional streams and join the Insurance sector – first with HDFC Standard Life Insurance as Business Development Manager and then with ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company Ltd., as Area Manager. “It was being touted as the toughest sell, but I took it on as a challenge. I not only passed the test but I also saw promotions come my way!” he says, explaining that the basics of sales never change. “There are challenges in every industry. However, the job requires you to sell to customers – the products may differ, but the objective is the same.”
Gupta is currently employed with SBI Life Insurance in Mathura as Senior Branch Sales Manager. He believes that dedication, a passion for the work one does, and a firm grounding in the basics are qualities that have helped him get where he is today. He believes that success is dependent on the relationship between the leader and team members during and after working hours. “You must have an emotional connection with other employees,” he says, adding that developing relationships is an important part of the profession. According to Gupta, other qualities that can help a professional climb the career ladder are: “The capacity to listen; to question if you have any doubts; to leave nothing to assumption and interpretation; to lead from the front and to fulfil your role with utter professionalism.”
Despite his busy schedule, Gupta says he still visits Jaipuria, Lucknow – though not as often as he would like. “I will always be grateful for the lessons I learned,” he says. Lessons in the art of marketing and of looking at problems and opportunities holistically, that have brought him as far as he is today – and those that will certainly hold him in good stead in the future.