For computer maker Lenovo to increase the share of its business from the small and medium business segment in India is certainly not an easy task. While Lenovo is quite strong in the enterprise space, the SMB segment is dominated by players like HP, Dell and Acer.
Lenovo had just 3.8 per cent share in the SMB segment. Given this, when the company appointed Rajiv Rao to head its SMB business recently, it did not come to many as surprise.
Rao, who holds an MBA from IIM-Calcutta, is a good choice for the company, as he brings in a blend of experience in sales and marketing and also as an entrepreneur.
Rao, who was the National Head (SMB segment) of Dell India, resigned in 2009 after listening to the call of an entrepreneur within him.
He, along with four other friends, including former IBM India president Pawan Kumar, started a company in the energy consulting business.
"I am joining Lenovo with corporate and start-up experience. To head Lenovos's SMB business is also like building a company, since this segment forms a small portion of our business," says Rao, who believes in grabbing the opportunity as it knocks at the door.
Earlier, in his role as the national head of SMB business for Dell India, he was instrumental in setting up the complete channel operations for the company's SMB practice.
The short stint in the start-up and the experience he garnered from there may boost Rao's confidence in understanding the SMB business model in India.
"Now, I know the challenges faced by small companies in India and this will help me develop strategy for this business," says Rao.
Rao who holds a bachelors degree in electrical and electronics engineering, has worked as country category manager for consumer peripherals at HP, besides having played various roles with Coca-Cola and Philips.
The company believes that with Rao's 18-year experience in sales and distribution will help it to narrow down the huge gap between its SMB business vis-a-vis competition.