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Suresh’s Dilemma – Managing the Team

ET Cases, 9 Pages
AUTHOR(S) : Kiran Mahasuar, Assistant Professor, International School of Business & Media, Pune and and P. Subramanian, Adjunct Faculty, Chetana’s Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai

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Suresh’s Dilemma – Managing the Team

Mapin Confectionery Ltd. (Mapin) is a confectionery giant and the country’s 2nd ranked player in the hyper-competitive confectionery category. It enjoys dominant market shares in the Chewing Gums, Soft-Mint and Hard-boiled candies (HBC) segment as per the industry data. It had multiple brands and SKUs in sync with regional preferences and market operation dynamics. North Region was one of the most lucrative and a high-revenue zone within the Mapin ecosystem (Exhibit I).......

Suresh Sharma, the newly promoted Area Sales Manager (ASM) of Mapin was a worried man. It was the sixth month (June 2017) of his new assignment as the Area Sales Manager for the Delhi NCR territory and he was finding it extremely difficult to navigate through the intricacies of managing a critical territory..........

Ashok Rane (Central Delhi)

Ashok is a senior sales executive and has been with Mapin since 2007 He was promoted to his current role in 2015. He is not interested for the next level role of Area Sales Executive (ASE) since the position entails transfer and has been in the same location for last 5 years. He has excellent relationship with the trade & his 6 exclusive salesmen. He prefers to coordinate and control his activities virtually on phone. He has a consistent growth rate but plays the passive-aggressive card with respect to his targets........

Balakrishna Sawant (West Delhi)

Balakrishna was a young recruit and had been with Mapin since 2015. He is a sincere and hardworking person but is relatively weak in selling and negotiation. He is poor in distributor management and lacks the authority in getting them to drive the desired outcomes. He has four exclusive salesmen under his tutelage and they are known to take him for a ride. His salesmen are highly experienced and often use the classic trick of querulously highlighting their problems and escalating them thereby forcing Balakrishna to spend a lot of his time in solving their problems...........

Chandrasekhar Kumar (East Delhi)

Senior Sales Executive Chandrasekhar had been with Mapin since 2015. Prior to that, he worked with a global renowned MNC for over four years. He had an excellent reign at Mapin and excelled in all parameters be it the targets, new product launches, adding infrastructure, developing the channel partners and frontline sales-force or increasing the channel depth and width. He had successfully appointed distributors in troublesome and volatile pockets in his territory and increased coverage by 2000 outlets..........

Dhanraj Singh (South Delhi)

Dhanraj was a senior sales executive and had been with Mapin since 2010. Recently he got promoted to Senior Sales Executive role. However his performance has been on slippery grounds post his promotion. There is high salesman attrition in his territory and consequently his entire team of four exclusive salesmen comprises mostly of new and inexperienced youngsters. This is affecting his retail sales and salesmen efficiencies.........

Eknath Bhandari (North Delhi)

Eknath has worked in a reputed MNC from 2008 till 2016 and got inducted into Mapin in 2016 as a senior sales executive. In cognizance with his experience and an enviable track record, he was assigned the North Delhi territory dominated by the wholesale trade contributing to 22% of Suresh’s total turnover. He has two exclusive salesmen reporting onto him. His performance has been abysmal and he has been unable to meet the expectations of the organization.......

Farid Alam (NCR Noida)

Farid Alam is the senior most resource in the team and has been with Mapin since 2005. He started as a salesman and has risen through the ranks by virtue of his hard work, dedication and passion. A highly motivated and passionate salesperson, he is a stickler for systems and processes, relationship driven, ambitious about building distribution and coverage and..........


Armed with the Mittal’s insights, he prepared to survey the working style of his executives to validate the hypothesis. He also made up his mind to base his blue-print for the turnaround of territory on two planks: Personnel Improvement Plan (person specific insights) and Self Improvement Plan (Insights on his own style of working).

However, there was one dilemma that he was unable to resolve............

Assignment Questions

I. What do you think on ASM’s deployment of his market-working days in last 6 months. Substantiate your comments.



Exhibit I: Mapin Confectionery Ltd. North Region Organization Structure

Exhibit II: Career Graph of Suresh Sharma (Area Sales Manager)

Exhibit III: Territory vs Region Performance Summary (Last Year Vs This Year)

Exhibit IV: Executive Wise Performance Summary (Jan–June 2017)

Exhibit V: Suresh Sharma’s Market Working (March to May 2017)

Teaching Note Preview

Suresh’s Dilemma – Managing the Team


Suresh is a prodigal achiever from the ranks of Mapin Confectionery’s stellar salesforce. Like most of the rankers1, he is having teething issues in managing his sales team comprising of six executives. Each of these executives has a distinctive style of working with a set of strengths and weaknesses. Suresh being the ASM of an important territory like Delhi NCR has had a miserable six month reign with the growth rates lower than region average. In distress, he approaches Pankaj Mittal, his former reporting manager and the current Regional Training Manager to assist him in resolving this impasse. Drawing from his wide experience and goodwill in the organization, he prepares a comprehensive dossier outlining the key traits and competencies of each executive backed with performance data. How Suresh addresses the shortcomings in his working and leverage the strengths and masks the weaknesses of individual executives in his future game-plan? What shall be the blueprint for turnaround of the territory? There are several dilemmas that Suresh has to address to succeed in this herculean task ahead.

Pre-requisite Conceptual Understandings

• Understanding of the sales and distribution structure and various players involved thereof
• Concept of sales-force management. Idea of the myriad executive roles in a distribution structure and their key responsibilities

To build a conceptual understanding of sales and distribution structures, various channels and sales-force relationships, it is recommended to study the relevant chapters from a text book.

• Venugopal P., Sales and distribution management: an Indian perspective, SAGE Publications India, 2008
• Venugopal P., Managing Your Sales Force: A Motivational Approach, SAGE, 2006

Instructors are advised to facilitate a discussion with a sales manager from consumer goods industry for building clarity on concepts and demonstrating the thought processes of practitioners.

Case Positioning and Setting

This Case Study is designed for post-graduate students of Sales and Marketing, Behavioural Studies and Human Resource Management

Assignment Questions

I. What do you think on ASM’s deployment of his market-working days in last 6 months. Substantiate your comments.

Rs 0
Product code: SDM-1-0005, SDM-1-0005A


Suresh Sharma (Suresh), the newest Area Sales Manager (ASM) in Mapin Confectionery Ltd. is a worried man. His territory i.e. Delhi NCR has become an Achilles’ heel in North region. The top management wants a swift turnaround and Suresh seeks the help of his old mentor and the mercurial Regional Training Manager of Mapin Pankaj Mittal (Mittal).On subsequent probing and analysis of performance metrics of his team members, Mittal realizes that things are not in order in the territory with multiple problems in the attitudinal traits, approach, efficiency and competency of his frontline sales-force, which are not in cognizance with Mapin’s high standards of excellence. He also uncovers misdoings of some sales executives. He prepares a detailed dossier for his adroit protégé. How does Suresh leverage the strengths and mask the weaknesses of individual executives in his future game-plan? What shall be the blueprint for turnaround of the territory? There are several dilemmas that needs to be resolved by Suresh to succeed in this herculean task.

Pedagogical Objectives

  • The case study exposes the participants to intricacies of sales-force management and engagement and how an Area Sales Manager plan his itinerary and priorities
  • Participants will be able to plot strength, weakness & challenges of each member of the sales-force under SWC framework and how to deal with individual shortcomings by training needs assessment and subsequent coaching and mentoring
  • Participants shall be able to analyse inter-personal behavioural issues of frontline sales force and design effective customised standard operating process (SOP) to deal with deviations

Case Positioning and Setting

This Case Study is designed for post-graduate students of Sales and Marketing, Behavioural Studies and Human Resource Management

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