Students of Jaipuria, Lucknow recently had the privilege of listening to Ms. Grace Arun, Zonal Head, of Vodafone (Distribution). Ms. Arun, who has over two decades of experience in the world of sales, delivered a talk on “Distribution in the Telecom Industry” on the 12th of September. She has climbed the ladder of success in the corporate world throughout her career, which includes stints with big names like Times Group and Bharti Airtel Services. Thus, there was a lot to learn from her experiences and achievements, especially for students interested in sales careers.
It was a highly interactive session and Ms. Arun set the tone for it right at the onset by asking the students how the sales domain was different from marketing. As the audience presented its views, she naturally, and effectively, highlighted the main differences between each field. She then shared anecdotes from her own prolific career to emphasize the competencies and skills required for professionals: according to her, B2B (Direct), B2C (Retail), and Distribution (Channel Management) are the three main streams of sales.
Ms. Arun covered different areas of sales in her talk, right from misconceptions about sales to what it takes to have satisfied customers. She then went on to shed light on the qualities one should possess to thrive in a sales job, which she believes is a great first job for a recent graduate. “High levels of intelligence, empathy towards customers, listening and communication skills, and the ability to learn are some of the prerequisites for a solid career in sales,” she explained, giving the students some encouragement as they continue their education. “You also need to have respect for your profession and whatever you do.”
Ms. Arun’s journey as a sales professional is also interesting because she made it into what was definitely a male-dominated industry just two decades ago. There were challenges along the way, and the way she surmounted them can be an inspiration to students. “When I first got into sales, I didn’t think it was my cup of tea; but, I somehow convinced myself to carry on and that was the turning point in my life,” she explains. “People wonder whether a woman can handle the rigors of sales or whether she has it easy because of her gender, but you should just let your performance speak for itself.” This last comment was met with a round of applause from the gathering.
According to Ms. Arun, the power of convincing her customers gives her a deep sense of fulfillment. But, she was also excited about talking to students, as they were buzzing with energy and filled with hope for the future. She offered them thoughtful advice, seen in her concluding remarks: “We have the asset of manpower, how you take it to the next level depends on the youth in the country. If each one of you has the right ideology and thought process, life in this country will suddenly turn out to be very different. Do whatever you want to do with tenacity and be truthful to yourself in everything you do.” Thoughtful and important words form an accomplished individual – Ms. Arun’s talk surely energized and inspired the students in attendance.
Student Contributor: Akansha Mishra, Sumit Chatterjee