IMPACT OF PERSONAL SELLING AS AN INTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATION TOOLS
Today’s dynamic business environment is continuously changing because of globalization, regulatory changes, increasing intensity of competition, increasingly demanding customers, new information technology, and mergers and acquisitions. This has resulted in markets that can be characterized as increasingly turbulent and volatile and have caused many organizations to seek competitive capabilities that enable them to exceed customers‟ expectations and enhance market and financial performance.
Firms are increasingly adopting personal selling in order to reduce costs, increase market share and sales, and build solid customer relations. When competition is keen and the consumers are faced with a brand choice in the market, it becomes imperative for retailers to understand the major factors that can attract the attention of buyers to their outlets… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)
Background of the Study
According to Kotler (1999), selling is offering to exchange an item of value for a different item, either tangible or intangible. The second item, usually money, is most often seen by the seller as being of equal or greater value than that being offered for sale. Selling is a key element of a company’s promotional mix. It is one-on-one interaction between a salesperson and a prospect.
A number of theories according to Kokemuller (2007) help sellers better understand the role they play in selling to customers. One of the foundational needs theories in psychology is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (Maslow, 1943). Maslow introduced his five levels of human need. He indicated that people have five basic needs, which they address in order of priority.
Physiological needs come first, followed by safety and security, social belonging, self-esteem, and self-actualization. This theory has huge value in selling whereby salespeople get to know prospects and ask questions to discover their needs in a buying situation. Realizing where people are coming from on the Maslow pyramid is a part of a seller’s emotional intelligence… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)
Personal selling has been known to be a great contributor to sales in most industries due to its individual touch and the development of a relationship with the customer. The pharmaceutical industry has been known to be in existence since time immemorial due to the need for healthy populations.
With growing competition from the entrance of new firms into the industry every so often, all existent firms have found the need to sustain the customer base as well as seek to gain the untapped market… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)
The objective of this research was:
- To determine the personal selling strategies used by pharmaceuticals firms in Lagos, Nigeria… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)
Significance of the Study
This study is important to the management of companies in the pharmaceutical industry. Of significant importance will be to the sales managers who will be informed on the selling strategies and re-evaluate accordingly.
Top sales executives and middle managers understanding and utilizing emotional intelligence by identifying where the prospects are on the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs when attempting to gain a competitive advantage through developing various personal selling strategies may find this to be of added value when reaching their customers… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)
This chapter highlights literature related to works of other scholars and writers related to the topic of the study. The chapter is divided into sections covering: theoretical foundation of study, personal selling and personal selling strategies. It explores personal selling, discussing its meaning tracing it back through time, recording theories behind it, the process, and the various strategies.
This study will be based on the AIDA theory of selling. AIDA is an acronym used in selling that describes a common list of events that may occur when a consumer is engaged by a salesperson. This theory advances four main steps namely grabbing the customer’s Attention or awareness, igniting the interest by focusing on and demonstrating advantages and benefits, creating desire by convincing customers that they want and desire the product or service and that it will satisfy their needs, and inspire action by leading customers towards taking action and/or purchasing (Sheldon, 1911)… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)
Kotler &Armstrong (2008), state that personal selling is the personal communication between a firm’s sales force and customers for the purpose of making sales and building customer relationship. Personal selling can be traced back to as far as ancient Greece. The need for salespeople was enhanced by the Industrial Revolution and modern personal selling got its start during the first part of the twentieth century.
The Industrial Revolution began in the 18th century in Great Britain. This meant that the local economies were no longer self-sufficient and the need to reach new customers to buy the mass-produced products increased… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)
Personal Selling Strategies
A sales person’s selling strategies will differ, depending on the type of relationship the buyer and seller either have or want to move toward. Business relationships range from transactional or one-time purchases to strategic partnerships that are often likened to a marriage.
Somewhere in between are functional and affiliative relationships that may look like friendships. These are the foundations of the selling strategy to be used based on the kind of relationship a salesperson is looking to have with the customers (Stanton et al, 1994).
- Canned selling strategy
Salespeople memorize and deliver sales pitches verbatim when they utilize a script based selling strategy. Script-based selling is also called canned selling. The term “canned” comes from the fact that the sales pitch is standardized, or “straight out of a can”.
According to Jobber &Lancaster (2009), the script comprises a logical set of questions, and when the salesperson meets an obstacle they remember what is in the script and methods of overcoming it. The script covers a range of techniques from opening the sales interview to closing techniques… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)
- System strategy
System selling is the process of selling interrelated goods or services together as a package rather than selling them separately or independently (“System Selling”, n.d.). The goods that are clubbed together are mostly complementary goods.
This increases the sales volume of the products and it helps the customers to save their time as well, hence it creates a win-win situation for both… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)
Measures for personal selling strategy effectiveness
With economic restraint a dominant factor, big pharmaceutical firms are eager to find more cost-effective ways to convince physicians of the value of their products, and this is where technology can come in.
Mobile sales platforms allow for a smoother interaction with physicians, and the interactive approach can be carried through to social media forms of e-detailing. Platforms of this kind offer a new level of sales integration, with customer relationship management, presentation tools, and analytics-based closed-loop marketing all in one place… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)
This study aimed at determining the extent of pharmaceuticals firms in Lagos is using personal selling strategies and how effective they are to the as an integrated marketing communication tool. This chapter starts with a description of the research design followed by the definition of the population to be studied and the sampling design to be employed.
The chapter also described the data collection instruments as well as the method to be used. Also included in the chapter were data analysis and presentation methods to be applied.
The study adopted a descriptive cross-sectional survey research design where data concerning the relevant personal selling strategies was collected. The data was both quantitative and qualitative, consisting of primary data from the respondents in pharmaceuticals firms.
Kombo and Tromp (2006), state that the major purpose of descriptive research is to describe the state of affairs as it exists. Descriptive research is used to obtain information concerning the current status of the phenomena to describe “what exists” with respect to variables or conditions in a situation… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)
Population of the Study
The population of the study consisted of 33 pharmaceutical firms within Lagos according to the Pharmacy Board. It was a census study and focused on sales managers and pharmaceutical representatives from the pharmaceutical firms in Lagos.
Data Collection Methods
The study majorly used primary data. The questionnaire contained a combination of both open-ended and closed-ended type of questions where the respondents had an opportunity to explain their views in detail. The use of a semi-structured questionnaire ensured the consistency of questions and answers from the respondents. The response choices were nominal while the closed questions were on an interval scale… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)
RESEARCH FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION
The research objective was to determine the personal selling strategies used by pharmaceuticals firms in Lagos. This chapter presents the analysis, findings, and interpretations of the results. The findings are presented in percentages and frequency distributions, mean and standard deviations. A total of 33 questionnaires were issued out and only 27 were returned.
This represented a response rate of 82%. This response rate was adequate for data analysis and conforms to Mugenda and Mugenda (2003) stipulation that a response rate of 70% and over was adequate.
General Information of the organization
The general information sought in this study included the core business of the firm, the number of full-time staff, and the sector that constitutes major customers of the firms‟ products.
- The core business of the Firm
The respondents were requested to indicate the core business of the pharmaceuticals firms. The results are in Table 4.1
Table 4. : Core business of the Firm
|The core business of the firm||Frequency||Percent|
The results in Table 4.1 show that 75.8% of the respondents said that the pharmaceutical firms were wholesalers while 24.2% of the respondents said that the firms were manufacturers. The results show that the respondents were from two sectors namely pharmaceuticals and wholesale
- Number of full-time sales staff
The respondents were requested to indicate the number of full-time sales staff in the pharmaceuticals firm they worked for and this was to know the extent to which the firms were using sales personnel to market their products. The results are contained in Table 4.2
Table 4. : Number of full-time sales staff
|Number of full-time sales staff||Frequency||Percent|
|Less than 12||4||14.8|
The results in Table 4.2 indicates the number of the full-time sales staff. It shows that 37.1% of the respondents said that the firms had between 41 and 55 sales staff, 25.9% of the respondents said that the firms had employed between 71 and 85 sales staff, 22.2% of the respondents said that their sales staff ranged from 11 and 25 while 14.8% of the respondents said that the number of the pharmaceuticals firms’ sales staff was less than 12… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)
Firms are increasingly adopting personal selling in order to increase market share and sales and build solid customer relations. When competition is stiff and consumers are faced with a brand choice in the market, it becomes imperative for pharmaceuticals firms to understand the major factors that can attract the attention of buyers to their products.
These then form the basis for personal selling in order to increase the sales and ultimately the performance of the firms. The study found out that the pharmaceutical firms were using the canned strategy of personal selling… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION, AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This chapter gives the summary, conclusion, limitations, and recommendations of the study. The suggestion for further research was also highlighted.
- Discussion of Findings
The study found out that the pharmaceuticals firms operating in Lagos were using personal selling strategies to sell their products. Such strategies included: canned strategy, system strategy, features strategy, and consultative strategy. The use of personal selling was found to have improved the performance of pharmaceuticals firms.
Personal selling as a selling strategy requires the salespeople to understand the features of the products they are selling in order to provide the stimuli sought by the buyers through tracking of buyers’ mental state… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)
The rapid changes in today’s business and technological environment require firms to adopt selling strategies that ensure they achieve a competitive advantage over their competitors. Personal selling is one such strategy. Personal selling plays a vital role in marketing pharmaceutical products by creating rapport.
Pharmaceutical firms were found to have successfully employed personal selling to inform and persuade potential clients about their products offered in the market… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)
As a result of the long term benefit of personal selling on the economy, the Government should compel all pharmaceuticals firms to educate consumers and the general public about their products.
This will protect the public from the side effects of the various products that are being sold by the firms. The Government and other relevant regulatory bodies should come up with policies that will ensure that there is effective regulation of the sector to protect the public against substandard products… (Scroll down for the link to get the Complete Chapter One to Five Project Material)
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