The Dabangg Salesman’s Inspiring Story of Rising Through Challenges!

In this feature of WorkPlace Legends, we are very pleased to introduce Mr. Puttappa Shivaramu, who is the State Head at Eureka Forbes. Here are the excerpts of the interview we had with Mr. Puttappa Shivaramu.

We would like to know more about you.

I come from an agricultural family in Mandya. My father is a farmer. I studied in a boarding school in Kannada medium up to Xth. Having studied in Kannada medium I faced difficulties when I got into college but I managed by taking notes from my classmates. I have done B.Sc. (Agriculture) from Bangalore University and M.B.A in Sales and Marketing from East West College of Management, Bangalore. After doing my M.B.A., I started attending interviews with an intention to understand how the interviews are done irrespective of the fact whether I get the job or not. My dream was to get into FMCG companies.

I joined Max Life in 2009 as a sales person though I was not interested in the profile. When I was talking to one of my senior there about my inclination for working for FMCG companies, he put me across someone from Parle Agro. The same day I left for the interview. I got the job and joined as a probationary territory sales executive. Even after performing well at my job, when I wasn’t confirmed, I quit. After this, I joined United Breweries Ltd. as a Sr. Territory Sales Executive. I had a great experience working there and learnt a lot.

Then I moved to Coca Cola because I wanted to learn more about Sales in that industry. I really admire these two companies; United Breweries Ltd. and Coca Cola for the way they groom you, train and shape your career. I am grateful to these companies for the kind of exposure they gave me.

How you used to equip yourself for your sales job?

I used to do a lot of research about the product and understand the market and extensive details like M.R.P share and other things. You can do well only if you have extensive knowledge about a product.

Where and how do you work best? How do you solve problems when it comes to productivity or scheduling since you handle a big team?

All my work is usually in the field. Though I can sit in my cabin and work but I prefer to be out and see how the market is functioning. When you are in the field, you will be better able to understand what is happening there and
what are the challenges. Then you can guide and solve the problem. In a month, only 5 days I sit in the office. The rest of the 22 days I am in the market.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

Be true to yourself and work hard. I advise you should love your job and in turn, the company will also love you. Some people say love your job but not your company. If you don’t like the company, then you can’t survive there.

Who are your biggest influencers and whom do you admire most in your life?

My father. He always supported me and had faith in me. I am grateful to him for everything. On the professional level, I am grateful to my ex-boss in Coca Cola, Mr. Srishayala Balwai. I still remember when I worked with him, the way he taught, guided and took the team with him was simply awesome. He is a fantastic
person, and very friendly. I have learnt a lot from him.

What is your biggest challenge even now?

When it comes to the market, I don’t have much knowledge outside Bangalore. As a State Head, you are expected to have knowledge of the geographical area. I am working to improvise in this area.

What is your favorite book or movies that have inspired you?

I am more into animated movies. I am not an avid reader. Chetan Bhagwat is my favourite author, you can say, because of 3 Idiots. While I was doing my M.B.A., we were asked to read Philip Kotler’s book, ‘Book of Marketing’. I suggest everybody should read this.

What is your best advice for handling criticism?

Don’t listen to anyone is what I say. Do what you want to do. Trust your instincts and keep trying. You have to learn through your experiences. Whether you succeed or not, you must try and give it a shot. Listen to your
heart, work hard, focus and the rest will follow.

In these past 8 years including the 3 months of your job search, what are the surprising lessons you have learnt?

What I have learnt in this journey is to not take anything for granted. You should have a passion for your work. You must always give 100 percent. You must learn the basics first and then you will be a master. If possible, help
someone. If you can’t help, at least don’t hurt them. Guide and motivate your team. One must not have an attitude that I suffered, so the others too should suffer. Don’t ever do that. Let others also come up in life.

What are the stumbling blocks that came across during your journey and what did you do to overcome them?

A lot of senior managers who have been in the company for decades, don’t guide newcomers. That attitude should change. There will be a lot of people who may not help you, are negative and demotivating. But you
should never give up. You should have faith and the confidence to explore new challenges and opportunities.

What does your legacy to be? How do want to be remembered?

Passion, punctuality, and dedication are very important for any job. You need to work really hard and be true to yourself. I respect my job and worked hard. I guess I have been able to influence my team in some way in this aspect.

Being the State Head of Eureka Forbes, how do you manage your work life and family life?

Balancing is very easy for me. When I am at work, it is only work. But I manage to keep in touch with my parents, friends, and colleagues.

What is your last advice for a sales person today who is in his first sales job or someone who wants to get into sales?

You should take up sales only if you have a passion for it. If you don’t have a passion for sales, then it is very difficult to do the job. Getting into sales just for the sake of salary won’t help in the long run. When you join any company, you should leave your footprint there. Follow your passion irrespective of what comes your way. You will find a way to deal with challenges if you have passion.

In all these companies that you have worked, have your bosses given any
nickname?

When I was in Coca Cola, I had received a T-shirt with the line, ‘Being Dabangg’ salesman. I believe you will get recognition when you work hard and have a passion for what you do.

It was a great pleasure talking to Mr. Puttappa Shivaramu and the youngsters of today will draw inspiration from his journey.

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