Shivanna has followed a rigorous schedule of reaching to the market to meet retailers for his job. As a sales representative for Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages (HCCB), when he is on a regular visit to the market, he gets a first-hand understanding of the demand, critical for the company to plan ahead.

As the peak months for the 2017 season was about to begin, he got an opportunity to upgrade his skills. Along with hundreds like him, HCCB organised a two-week training to enhance his familiarity with the digital ecosystem and also for the use of tablets to help the pre-sales team to focus on their job better.

Now, with a connected tablet in hand, Shivanna can offer the best deals to his customers (retailers) as and when he is on the daily rounds in the market. If there is any customer about who he needs to know more, it is just a click away on his always-connected tablet.

Shivanna’s customers are finding it a great way of working too. When he has completed taking an inventory of all the products that are needed by the retailer, the final spend and margin for the customer is displayed on his tablet screen. Vinay Kumar, at Teertha Bakery in Bengaluru, endorses the utility of Shivanna’s device and finds it a very transparent way of working.

“Sales representatives like Shivanna,  show us the schemes and discounts as well as the margins on the tab. It is very good for the retailer,” Vinay says.

To make Shivanna and his colleagues do their job better, the top managers at Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages (HCCB)  have had to burn the midnight oil in trying to give the digital edge to the sales team. Over the last one year, the entire process was mapped and the software being used on the tab was customised to the needs of the Indian market.

It was launched just ahead of the peak summer season and it has been smooth sailing so far for the company. Once real time sales data was being uploaded through these tablets, and with the first phase of the plan having been rolled out, paper usage for the pre-sales team has been eliminated.

“We took cognizance of the fact that skilling, reskilling and upskilling would be a very integral part of not only the launch of Sales Force Automation (SFA), which happened in Q1 2017, but more importantly in the socialisation and the institutionalisation of SFA as a tool of empowerment,” says Malay Anil Shah, National Manager, Sales, IT & Automation at HCCB.

HCCB’s new, digital way of working is also in sync with the Digital India and Skill India plans announced by the NDA government. Skill India mission was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to train 400 million people in various skills by 2022. Digital India, also launched in July 2015, aims to improve digital literacy in India and connect rural India with high-speed Internet.

With the upskilling of the teams like those of sales representatives, Coca-Cola  is preparing for the launch of more products, for which the always-connected tablets will be critical.