How This CEO Expanded His Company By Listening to the Consumers The CEO of this consumer electronics giant is initiating innovation at the execution level

By Punita Sabharwal

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Agarwal took over his current position as the CEO of Lenovo India almost two years back after being with the company for close to 10 years. When asked what kind of innovation he has been able to bring in, Agarwal says, "We are doing innovation even at the execution level. For example, how do we reach out to the customers, how do we sell and improve our internal structure to make sure we are more efficient."

One of the major initiatives he had taken was making his team interact with the consumers. Sharing the same he says, "We realized that as sellers we are more dependent on the retailers to tell us what the end consumers think about us. So we have made it mandatory for the sales team to spend more time in the market and speak to at least five to seven customers in a week.And we started receiving a much stronger feedback."

Speaking about his other initiatives he said that he found that there were some states where Lenovo's retail presence was low for no particular reason. "It was simply because nobody really looked at that direction. For example, if we look at Punjab or Ludhiana or any such big cities, we do not have enough retail stores. So we did the scanning of the top 500 cities in the country and compared our retail presence to what the market could be. So now, we are on the path towards driving our retail expansion," he adds.

Talking about the impact of offline stores while the retail world is moving online, Aggawal says, "For us online is growing. But we still need to have minimum footprint because what we can also sell through those outlets, especially tablets and phones which no other computer brand is offering. So, most sales of the tablet happen through our offline stores. ." Currently, Lenovo has 800 exclusive stores across India. Aggarwal has initiated opening of several new stores but has also closed a lot of non performing stores.

Talking about Lenovo's retail presence Aggarwal acknowledges, "We won't say that we are the most visible brand, if we compare with visibility of other brands in the malls and high streets, but that is a journey that we will continue for next two three years." 2017 was a difficult year for everyone in the IT sector owing to political changes like Brexit and US elections.

On how he keeps his team motivated, Aggarwal says, "We had expected the market to expand a lot last year because it marked the third year of digital India." Lenovo is also catering to start-ups like Ola and partnered with Assam and Maharashtra Government.

(This article was first published in the July issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)

Punita Sabharwal

Entrepreneur Staff

Deputy Editor, Entrepreneur India Magazine

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