Patanjali is building an army of salesmen to drive its next phase of growth


When I opened the Indian Express this morning, I was greeted with a large advertisement from Patanjali on the bottom right corner of the front page.


The consumer goods brand, which was founded by celebrity yogi Baba Ramdev in 2006, is looking to hire as many as 50 salesmen in each district of India. With more than 700 districts, that culminates in a total hire of 35,000 people. In addition, the company also plans to get between 50 to 100 young people onboard in each district for the purpose of home delivery.

The last date for registration for the four-day selection and training camp is 22 June, tomorrow. The company, which is known not to pay its employees very well (terming their efforts as “seva”) is offering a maximum monthly salary of ₹15,000.

A return to growth

The ad reflects the “urgency” of Patanjali Ayurved’s pan-Indian growth ambitions. At the beginning of this year, Baba Ramdev told the Economic Times that he planned to achieve a turnover of ₹1 trillion by 2020, thereby becoming one of the country’s largest FMCG brands.

Aided by a hiring spree and strong distribution network, Patanjali recorded an unprecedented wave of growth in the first half of the decade by bombarding the Indian market with products in multiple categories, ranging from food, medicines, toiletries to home products. As a result, revenues grew exponentially each year, culminating in sales of ₹105.6 billion in 2016-17.

However, diminishing returns soon kicked in. The company recorded a minimal growth in sales in the last financial year. A number of reasons have been cited for this, such as the short-term adjustment with the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime which affected its retail partners, as well as delays in restocking and quality issues.

With its GST problems behind it, the company is hoping to return to the level of growth it is used to seeing. It will likely focus its efforts on high-growth products in the next few years. It is also preparing the launch of its apparel brand, Patanjali Paridhan, and got a recent boost from the government of Uttar Pradesh, which approved its plans to build a ₹60 billion food processing centre in Noida.
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