We find ourselves selling our values and solutions far more than just products and services
In conversation with Martijn Tasma - National Sales Manager, Geodis, India
With a neat blue exterior, the GEODIS office is located in DLF Cyber City, Gurgaon. I enter the building, which radiates entrepreneurship and creativity - two characteristics I will come to see as representative of GEODIS culture. I'm there to meet with Martijn Tasma, National Sales Manager, India. Martijn hails from Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and he is a highly intelligent professional who now shoulders the responsibility of Sales & Marketing for GEODIS India.
I inquire if moving to India was a huge change for him. "Yes," he replies. "Everything is different, from the way of working, to the culture, the expectations, and even my responsibilities." Martijn's focus will primarily be on restructuring and building a stronger Business Development team in India to tap into the potential available in the Indian market. This is something he has had to learn and balance as he moved from GEODIS' headquarters to an operational office in India.
Martijn is full of energy - he works hard to enable his team to achieve their ambitious sales targets. Having been awarded a variety of Change Management certificates, he aims to build a strong team capable of handling the Indian market independently. He is responsible for generating a larger client base and growing the business according to a detailed plan, and jokingly calls the operational office in India 'the real world' compared to headquarters. This is something I can totally relate to. He has even adjusted the sales strategy to include 'values', 'services', and 'change' and given these ideas a constant presence in GEODIS' day-to-day business.
Change as a sales strategy
Martijn has been in charge for more than a year. He spent the first 100 days simply observing and absorbing the way things worked at GEODIS India. Then he decided to change direction to capitalize on the potential available and enhancing the performance. He broadened the outlook and approach, and built a core team to drive the key business strategy for achieving the desired results. Martijn and his team devised a new plan to conquer the Indian market, and aligned their goals and strategy with those of headquarters. His team understood the sense of urgency, but took the time needed to take on the challenge, which required them to bridge cultural gaps and be aligned as a single entity.
I ask him what the damage would have been if there had been no new plan to increase sales. "If you don't make greater profit than last year, if you don't generate more clients, and if you don't see new market opportunities, then you automatically suffer a loss," he replies. "This is why we use three key parameters to measure the implementation progress of a new sales plan: the hit rate (profit), (new) client visits, and market opportunities."
The plan has worked wonderfully, showing an upward positive trend on all parameters. Their average monthly client visits has risen to double and customer surveys indicate an increase in customer satisfaction. In fact, in 2015 they received the best performance award for customer satisfaction within GEODIS network. A shift in focus to Multinational companies has forced them to automatically embrace change and adjust their approach. They find themselves selling their values and solutions far more than just products and services.
GEODIS and its focus on India
GEODIS' Freight Forwarding division is the result of a merger between GEODIS (the air and sea freight arm of the GEODIS Group), and TNT Freight Management (formerly known as Wilson Logistics), a 167 year-old company with Scandinavian roots. In 2008, the GEODIS group became part of the French rail and freight group SNCF and is now present in 120 countries.
GEODIS, like many other companies, has a strong focus on - and great expectations for - the Indian market. "The growth possibilities are immense," says Martijn. "And with the current government in charge there is a lot of potential, especially in the automotive sector, retail, e-commerce, and the fashion/lifestyle business. India's advantage is that it is a politically centralized country. However, the states have their own regulations and taxes, which have a direct effect on turnaround time and smooth operations." GEODIS expects that the much awaited GST implementation should address these prevailing concerns and will improve the ease of doing business in the country.