[Podcast] Winning in a More Competitive India

With China’s slowdown and trade tensions with the US now a reality, many of our clients are evaluating India with greater purpose and intensity. While there are some short-term macro headwinds, over the medium- to long-term, India is growing over 7%, is relatively insulated from the China slowdown, and offers an increasingly business-friendly environment. In fact, India is now ranked #77 on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index (up from #142 when the Modi-led government took power in 2014), is the easiest place to do business in South Asia and remains only behind China among the five BRICs nations.

FSG recently released a new flagship study for its clients: Winning in a More Competitive India. This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Pratima Singh, FSG’s Practice Leader for South Asia and author of the study, to discuss:

  1. The current outlook for India
  2. Four key forces driving increased competition
  3. FSG’s proprietary “Four Ps framework” for understanding, evaluating, and managing competition in India
  4. 10 tactics MNCs should deploy to outperform competition in India

It’s a fascinating discussion that can be heard below or downloaded from iTunes.


FSG’s India Expertise

Over the last 12 months, in addition to the study mentioned above and our regular market intelligence-centric coverage of the Indian market, FSG has released the following four flagship studies for clients to assist them in planning and executing their successful growth mandates in India:

  • Digital Customer Engagement in India: India’s digital landscape is evolving rapidly. Driven by a number of factors, including the government’s focus on digital development; a young and digitally aware population; and, most critically, better connectivity due to the expansive reach of mobile phones, India is steadily moving toward a digitally powered economy. Companies that have a strong digital growth strategy in place today—particularly one that focuses on effectively engaging customers—will be better positioned to edge out competition as the country’s digital landscape transforms. With this in mind, FSG has developed a framework to help MNCs engage customers using digital platforms. Use this framework and the case studies in this report to build an effective digital strategy in India.
  • Sales Force Effectiveness in India: Despite its many complexities, India remains an attractive market for multinationals. However, increasing competition and higher costs mean that an opportunistic approach to growth will no longer yield the same returns. To outperform, companies need to focus on enhancing the effectiveness of their sales teams. There are three main challenges that make this extremely difficult in the Indian market: inefficient time management, lack of sophistication, and younger sales teams. FSG has developed a strategic framework that will help multinationals overcome these challenges. Executives should use the framework, along with the 12 tactics discussed, to enhance the performance of their sales forces in India and accelerate profitable growth in the market.
  • Distribution Optimization in India: India is drawing increased international interest as the benefits of policy reform filter through the economy. These reforms, which will disintermediate distributor networks and change partner dynamics, will have a significant impact on companies’ indirect channel strategies. FSG recommends that multinationals use changes in the market to re-evaluate their distribution strategy and adopt a strategic approach to capturing long-term opportunity. This report provides a structured framework and tool that will help executives optimize their distributor network and increase efficiencies in India.
  • Sub-national Prioritization: India is drawing increased international attention as one of the most resilient economies in an uncertain global economic environment. However, given the size and complexity of the market, there are substantial economic disparities within the country. Additionally, gradual liberalization and rapid decentralization are exacerbating already-significant regional differences. These factors make a state-level strategy acutely important for India. With this in mind, FSG developed a three-step framework for companies to prioritize and categorize states in India based on opportunity and business fit, allowing executives to make more informed decisions and strengthen their India strategic plans.

Any MNC executive with existing investments in India, or considering making an investment in the country, should make reading these reports a high priority. They are chock-full of actionable strategic recommendations, tools/frameworks, and case studies. They also provide wonderful and thought-provoking topics for FSG to moderate at a leadership meeting.

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