IMPACT OF PERSONAL SELLING AS AN INTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATION TOOLS

ABSTRACT
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 has 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 brand choice in the market, it becomes imperative for the retailers to understand the major factors that can attract the attention of buyers to their outlets. These then form the basis for personal selling in order to increase the sales and ultimately the performance of the outlet. The objective of the study was to establish the influence of personal selling as an integrated marketing communication tool and performance of pharmaceuticals firms in Lagos, Nigeria. The study used descriptive cross sectional survey research design. The population of the study consisted of all the pharmaceuticals firms operating within Lagos. The study used primary data which was collected using self-administered questionnaires. The data collected was analyzed using statistical package for social sciences and presented in tables and charts. The study found out that the pharmaceuticals firms were using personal selling strategy to market their products and it resulted in improved performance in terms of greater volume of sales, faster movement of drugs, improved profit margin, pharmaceuticals firm education and sponsorship of events and increased financial performance. Canned strategy of personal selling resulted in sales people providing stimuli sought by the buyers until decision is arrived, provides the details that meet customer need spelled out in the script and that it enables salespeople to keep track of buyers‟ mental state. System personal selling strategy to market their products and this enabled the firms to sell products as a package rather than selling them separately or independently, creates a situation for both buyer and seller and customers were increasingly looking for a systems‟ solution rather than the buying of an individual product. 

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION 
1.1 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 need 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. 

Selling of pharmaceuticals has a long history. The sale of miracle cures, many with little real potency, has always been common. Selling of legitimate non-prescription medications, such as pain relievers or allergy medicine, has also long been practiced, although, until recently, mass marketing of prescription medications has been rare. It was long believed that since doctors made the selection of drugs,specific advertisements targeting the medical profession were thought to be cheaper and effective. This would involve advertisements in professional journals and visits by sales staff to doctor‟s offices and hospitals. An important part of these efforts was selling to medical students. The pharmaceuticals companies traditionally adopt four major selling strategies; giving drugs as free samples to doctors; providing details of their products through journal articles or opinion leaders; gifts that hold the company logo or details of one or multiple drugs; and sponsoring continuing medical education. Pharmaceuticals representatives, popularly known as medical representatives, are the salespeople tasked with marketing drugs. 

1.2 Research Problem 
Personal selling has been known to be a great contributor to sales in most industries due to its individual touch and the development of relationship with the customer. The pharmaceuticals 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 customer base as well as seek to gain the untapped market. However, most pharmaceuticals firms are still using traditional pharmaceuticals promotion practices which include detailing (where sales representatives visit with physicians to update them on recent therapeutic advances and encourage them to write prescriptions that favor the firm‟s products), sampling (where samples of company‟s drugs are provided to encourage trial and act as starter packs) and physician meetings (where educational meetings are convened to show efficacy evidence of company‟s drugs) among other related practices. With increased competition among the pharmaceuticals firms, adaptation of the best, most modern and proven to work personal selling strategies is essential therefore becoming a highly placed goal for each company. 

The Pharmaceuticals Industry plays an important role in the provision of health care in Nigeria. According to Nigeria Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare Report, Q1 2012,pharmaceuticals expenditure grew from N33.02bn (US$417mn) in 2010 to N38.72bn (US$450mn) in 2011, that is +17.3% growth in local currency terms and +5.6% in US dollar terms. The pharmaceuticals industry has been recording tremendous growth in terms of revenue generated as a result of selling strategies employed. Globally, the promotion spend by the pharmaceuticals industry is also growing, like in the United States, it was estimated to be between $27.7 and $57.5 billion in 2008(IMS Health, 2008). 

Most studies done previously on the pharmaceuticals industry in Nigeria have leaned more onincidence of abuse of prescription type drugs. Synovate Nigeria (2011) commissioned a study that revealed a worrying trend of self medication with 73% of the pharmacists being guilty of selling prescription drugs despite lack of doctor‟s prescription. According to National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA), Opioids (pain relievers like OxyContin and Vicodin), central nervous system depressants (Xanax, Valium), and stimulants (Concerta, Adderall) are the most commonly abused prescription drugs. Many reasons have been cited for this. According to Kumba (2011), they range from avoidance of consultation fees to plain old taking shortcuts and assumptions that symptoms are similar.According to Siringi (2003), 22% of secondary school students were on drugs and males had a higher exposure to miraa and inhalants. In addition, the prevalence of drug abuse increased from primary to tertiary institutions. Alcohol was the most frequently abused drug followed by miraa, tobacco and bhang. Over the past two decades, the use of illegal drugs and misuse of therapeutic drugs have spread at an unprecedented rate and have penetrated everywhere. Nigeria has not been spared the pestilence of drugs and it is clear that it is a transit hub for hard drugs (Otieno&Ofulla, 2009). 

However, so far attention has not been paid to the personal selling strategies employed by pharmaceuticals firms in Nigeria since there are no known local research studies done and this is what we seek to achieve through this research. This study attempted to fill this knowledge gap byanswering the following research question. What are the Personal Selling Strategies used by Pharmaceuticals firms in Lagos, Nigeria? 

1.3 Objectives of the Study 
The objective of this research was: 

i) To determine the personal selling strategies used by pharmaceuticals firms in Lagos, Nigeria. 
ii) To investigate the influence of personal selling as an integrated marketing communication tool on performance of pharmaceuticals firms in Lagos. 

1.4 Significance of the Study 
This study is important to management of companies in the pharmaceuticals 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. To enhance the sale representative‟s arsenal of weapons when attempting to close sales, this article will review some appropriate approaches and then attempt to develop various winning mixes of selling strategies based on these propositions. This article will seek to establish the personal selling strategies used by successful pharmaceuticals firms. 

The study is also important to employees of pharmaceuticals companies by providing them facts on the selling strategies in play and the role they play in ensuring successful market share penetration. The study will also be beneficial to academicians and researchers as it will contribute to the existing empirical evidence and growing body of knowledge in the pharmaceuticals industry and particularly when it comes to personal selling strategies. 

1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY 
The researcher will limit her study to only pharmaceutical organisations in Lgos Nigeria. The scope of personal selling will be restricted to types of salesmen, selling process, sales force training and sales force management.

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Attribute: 52 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: N3,000  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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