Personal growth leads to business growth

6th July 2015 |   Gustavo Mancera

As part of his MSc Professional Practice in Sales Leadership, Sony Mobile’s Gustavo Mancera describes how research and reflection led to a new mind-set and approach that created differentiation in the marketplace.

Personal growth leads  to business growth

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Background

I started in my current role as a key account manager at possibly one of the most challenging times this company has faced. Senior management had left for other companies and Colombia’s office was on the verge of being closed. Our main client had lost confidence and trust in the local branch. In spite of the difficulties and the brand change we were going through, I managed to build a value-added proposal that resulted in two years of amazing sales growth, even to the point of becoming the second account in margin contribution for the region. Sony was back in Colombia and we became an important supplier for our client, and a strategic account in Latin-America.

On 1 July 2014, the CRC (Cámara de Regulación de Comunicaciones or Chamber for Communications Regulations) resolution 444 (2014) became effective. It mandated that “permanence clauses” in mobile services contracts were forbidden. As a consequence, carriers ceased subsidising mobile phones, as they could not be confident a customer would stay for the time needed to ensure payback. This initiated a downward trend at the high end of the mobile market, which shrank 53% versus the first semester of 2014.

This dramatically affected Sony Mobile´s sell through, as high-end mobile phones became inaccessible to customers who now had to pay the full purchase price. SOMC (Sony Mobile Communications) has continued to gain market share at the high end – our natural, but decreasingly addressable, market; in contrast, the below-US$200 segment is gaining ground and we had not been performing well in that segment.

Our client focused their efforts in growing the low-end segment in order to avoid losing market share; Sony became irrelevant to their business model and needs.
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The problem to be addressed

The rapidly changing market affected the entire team´s mind-sets including myself. We had fallen prey to negative mind-sets (Squire, 2009) while struggling to deliver the company’s sales goals. At the same time, our client turned out not to be very helpful.

This downturn and the first module of the Consalia MSc in Sales Transformation have led me to critically reflect on my own practice, and ask myself how I can return to those differentiating mind-sets (Squire, 2009) that would enable me to create value for our client along with a return to the consistent sales growth path we had previous enjoyed over the past two years. I was seeking to recreate that differentiation in the client’s mind through a more challenging account management approach.
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Gustavo Mancera is a professional in finance and foreign trade with a specialisation in strategic marketing management. A MSc candidate in Professional Practice in Sales Transformation, he has nine years’ experience in commercial and marketing direction with recognised multinationals companies within the highly competitive technology industry.

Mancera joined Sony Mobile in 2011 as product marketing manager and currently holds the KAM position for the largest carrier in Colombia. His career in technology started at Microsoft, where his last role was as Xbox category manager. He was in charge of the successful launch of the new Xbox and Kinect System and the Xbox Live platform in Colombia.