IMPACT OF SALES PERSONS ON THE COPORATE GROWTH POTENTIALS OF A COMPANY (A CASE STUDY OF SEVEN-UP BOTTLING COMPANY PLC, ENUGU) .
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BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Public relations has become a potent marketing tool in modern business management in recent times. Its influence is being felt on both big and small firms with the influence of even greater expansion. It is important for management organization including tertiary institutions to understand its potential and limitations. Nwokoye (1984:212) defined public relations as the activities of co – operations, union, government or other organisations in building and marketing sound and productive relations with special public such as customers, relations employees or stock holders and with public at large so as to adopt itself to its environment and interpret itself to the society.
Bush and Houston (1995:200) noted that public relations is management functions which evaluate public attitude, identifies policies and procedures of an individuals or an organisations with the public interest and execute a programme of action to earn public understanding and acceptance.
Chukwu (2000:3 – 4) stated that public relations practice is a management philosophy aimed at doing everything possible to create good relationship between one organization and its publics.
Public Relations is aimed at making friends for the organization and building internal and external good will on the reasonable assumption that these are strongly needed for an organization to remain in business and make profit with the increase in the activities of an organization. The need for an adequate communication between the organization and those who in one way or the other are affected by these activities of the organization becomes more imperative. An organization while wanting to remain liable, need to have good relations with its employees, consumers of its products and services, future investors, stock – holders and infact that is the general public. As an organization specialized in manufacturing to potential customers that is up to date, forward looking concerned to produce and offer the best goods and services for the rice it charges and make sure that its customers are really satisfied. Edoga and Ani (2001:287) noted that a company should deliberately plan and execute a continuous public relations programme to develop a good relation between it and that various publics, amongst sought with public relations. Stressing the position of public relations in the country, Olakunori (1999:194) noted that most officials occupying the public relations of various organizations in the country today are not professionals; they generally have a fair knowledge of what they are supposed to do. Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) as an institution or organization has the students, members of its staff, parents- teachers association, the management, the host society, the state and the federal government, Nigerian Universities commission (NUC) etc. as its relevant publics. This implies that the activities performed by ESUT in one way or the other affect those aforementioned various public. Therefore, in order to maintain its public relations with those bodies, ESUT must at all time try to create a rapport and understanding or goodwill with all those bodies. This it will do through proper information circulation between itself and those various relevant publics to it. This can be done by allowing the free flows of information, paying of salaries as and when due to its staff, engaging in proper and standard academic work, abiding by the rules and regulations of NUC in the performance of its activities.
Manufacturers and producers of goods and service are now aware that public relations does not only ensure good relations with the public but can strive towards profit making through increased customers patronage. It is in the light of the importance attached to public relations that the researcher seeks to appraise the effectiveness of public relations in service industries in Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) as a case study.
Prior to our contemporary time, the bottling industry will dominated by the products of Nigerian Bottling Company Plc. Recently, 7-up bottling company Plc reemerged in the scene to compete with the Nigerian bottling company Plc, both also struggle with other manufacturers of mineral soft drinks. The scene was complicated further by poor economic situation in the country.
Therefore, innovation, dynamism and efficiency vis-à-vis marketing are necessarily required as a means of not just surviving but also ensuring profitability and co-operate growth. The implementation of marketing strategies as well as successful co-operate performance of the sales force. As a result this work sought to determine the implication of the effective performance of salespersons as an indicator of corporate growth potentials (a case study of 7 –up bottling company Plc) used questionnaire, design and tests of hypothesis. The hypothesis was tested based on the data collected and analyzed and the following findings were accepted.The consumption pattern of 7-up drinks customers is dependent on the company sales persons performance.The returns generated by 7-up bottling company is directly proportionate to the effectiveness of the salespersons. Consumers have favourable attitude toward 7 –up soft drinks. Furthermore, conclusions and recommendations were made, the conclusions are:
– An average salesperson of 7-up bottling company is professionally unskilled.
– There is a direct relationship between a company’s growth sales potentials and profitability with sales force performance.
- The 7-up salespersons do not effective and intensively distribute their products.
- Consumers have favourable attitude towards 7-up drinks
- The company should strive to increases it’s market share.
- There is a need to give proper training and orientation to the salespersons.
- 7-up bottling company should enhance it’s distribution network.
- It is hoped that if these recommendations are applied by the 7-up bottling company, the effectiveness of it’s salespersons will be enhanced.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY 1
OVERVIEW OF THE COMPANY 9
OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY 11
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY 12
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY 14
HYPOTHESIS FORMULATION 14
SCOPE OF THE STUDY 15
DEFINITION OF TERMS 15
LITERATURE REVIEW 17
CHAPTER THREE 35
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 35
DESIGN OF THE STUDY 35
POPULATION OF THE STUDY 35
SAMPLE SIZE 36
SAMPLING TECHNIQUES 38
METHOD OF DATA COLLECTION 38
QUESTIONNAIRE DESIGN 38
TREATMENT OF DATA 40
ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION FO DATA 42
ANALYSIS OF DATA FROM THE MANAGEMENT STAFFS 42
ANALYSIS OF RESPONSES FROM CONSUMERS 50
TEST OF HYPOTHESIS 60
HYPOTHESIS 1 61
HYPOTHESIS 2 63
HYPOTHESIS 3 65
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 69
1.1 Background to the Study
A Firm having carried out some researches and found out what the buyers want, specifications and requirements converts these findings into product concepts and lastly into goods and services that can satisfy these identified wants, in their exact specification and requirement. Hence” the typical firm can be seen as on input-output system” ”(Okeke C. I 1993).
It is not enjoy to look at a firm more so in the context of marketing as on input-output system. This is because several other chain of activities preceed the input as well as the output.
A wholestic perspective considers all these interlocking and interrelated activities that preceed input and follow after output. For example, the output must be in the right proportion, must be effectively priced, promoted and distributed.
Yet all these do not even guarantee exchange and transfer of title from the firm to the buyers, neither do they even guarantee a reward or profit to the firm.
In other words, all these activities may be properly integrated, blended and as well form the bases on which a firm should b e viewed.
“Good distribution, new products, improved manufacturing resources, skillful advertising and many other factors in marketing must inevitably fail if a manager is unable to build a team of men able to compete with strong competition and sell efficient to every type of buyers”. (Jack 1983 P.80)
Hence the popular sloggan in marketing that “nothing happens until a sale is made” (Okeke 1993)
To implement these marketing variables, the sales force has to be utilized by the sales manger, they have to exhibit their primary sales manship functions whereby they act as intermediaries between the company and prospective customers, discharging their duties as the voice of the company to the customers and directs the voice of the customers to the company.
Therefore, personal selling brings the buyer and seller into direct contact. It is important that every organization should have some number of persons known as the sales force whose responsibility are to be sure that customers and prospects are contacted and convinced to accept the items offered in exchange for a value needed by the organization.
There is no amount of advertising, sales promotion and publicity that can be equal to personal selling. This is because, contacts must be established by somebody with buyers some where for market transactions to take place.
The sales force in modern marketing do not only perform the current sales, they are also concerned with laying the foundation for further sales through the performance of information gathering function.
To properly carry out this, there should always exists in an organization, a skilled manager who manages the sales force efficiently and effectively.
As a result, sales management is defined “as the organization efforts necessary in planning sales objectives, specifying selling efforts needed in realizing the objectives, selecting, training and motivating appropriate sales force and controlling their operations towards ensuring the full realization of sales objectives (Okeke 1993: 40).
Salespersons are trained in a method of analysis and customer management.
Today, selling is a profession that involves mastering and applying a whole set of principles, personal selling has some different styles, some antithetical to the spirit of the marketing concept.
Three major aspects of personal selling are sales manship, negotiation and relationship management (Kotler 1993).
Sales manship is the act of the sales persons persuading the customer or prospect to see his point of view or do something the way he wants.
Negotiation means the act of two or more parties reacting an agreement on the price and the other terms of sales. Most business selling involves negotiating skills.
Price is the issue being negotiated always, others include contract completion time, quality of goods and service offered, purchase volume, responsibility for financing risk taking, promotion, product safety etc.
Relationship management is a larger concept that guide the seller’s dealings with customers. Sales manship and negotiation are transaction or rented.
The company has continued to grow from strength to strength both in plant expansion and product popularity amongst customers. By 1990, the company has had plant location within it short period of operation in Lagos, Ibadan, Kano, Kaduna, Aba, Ilorin, Benin and that of Enugu (9th Mile Corner).
A new glass industry for the manufacture of bottles was also constructed in the Northern part of the country.
New Deposits are opened in many parts of the country to ensure that their products react their products reached their ultimate customers even in tar-flung places. The company commitment to quality is consistent and unsurpassed in the soft drink industry.
This they develop over the years and lately enhanced by their partnership with Pepsi-Cola international. The company have remained stead fast in their effort to maintain the quality and excellence of their product.
Furthermore, it’s marketing strategies have been geared towards making their products acceptable, available and affordable through creation of awareness and aggressive sales of sales promotion by the sales persons.
Their objective therefore is to establish a steady consumer trend in the soft drink business. This is endorsed by their innovative and modest promotional campaign in which the people benefit immensely by getting added value for their money.
In terms of sales, the company has made an appreciable volume and profit margin growth over the years.
The head of corporate affairs, (Promotion Division) claimed that the company has an appreciable percentage of the market share. It c an be however adduced that the company has a strong capital base.
The company has been competed to increase the price of it’s brands for so many times now, the current price of their product is N25.
This according to them is to keep to their marketing strategies and objectives to it’s target customers. It is interesting to note therefore, that these development has no visible effects on the volume and sales return to the firm. The company has come along way hence their slogan upholds. “The Difference is Clear” because it is the clear choice for a new generation. Their interest is to help marketers close a particular sales with a customer.
As regards relationship management, any seller who builds and manages strong relationships with key customers will have a reasonable turnover from the customers and mostly important to those customers who can typically affect the company’s future.
Furthermore, sales representative covers a broad range of positions in our economy. The following classification of sales positions was devised by many as quoted by Kotler 1993.
Delivery Sales man/Deliveries: Positions where the salesperson’s job is predominantly to deliver products to buyers.
Inside order taker: The salesperson here is predominantly an inside order taker. Where the salesperson stands behind the counter and serves buyers.
Field order taker: This is the kind of sales position where the sales person is predominantly an order taker but goes outside to meet buyers. For example, shampoo salesperson calling on the super market manger.
Missionary: This is a position where the salesperson is not expected or permitted to take an order but to build goodwill for his company or to educate the actual or potential user. He does not do direct selling.
Technical Salesman : Position where the major emphasis is placed on technical knowledge. That is the salesperson selling only technical goods and offering technical services. For example, the engineering salesperson who is primarily a consultant to the client companies.
The conclusion is that salespersons realize profit from various sales and that customers are satisfied in buying organization outputs.
And this calls for corporate growth potentials. This work therefore aims at critically evaluating the effects of this all important marketing function of personal selling corporate performance.
Overview of the Company
The production of soft drinks in Nigeria started off in 1933 when a foreign concern established the Nigeria mineral waters Limited.
Since then many other companies have established various brands of soft drink companies. Some of the early companies to make an impact in the industry in Nigeria then was the Pesi-Cola company (franchised by seven-up bottling company), the London and Kano trading company with it’s “sword brand”, the Nigerian bottling company with it’s Coca-Cola, Fanta, Sprite and others.
Some other soft drink companies existed, however most of them collapsed under the weight of heavy and aggressive competition in the industry. One of the contributing factor which led to the extinction of most soft drink companies was the then Niagara Civil War.
The seven-up bottling company Plc came into the Nigerian Business Scene in 1959 through the efforts of the founder, a well known and respected figure, Late Sheikh Mohammed CL Khalil.
The company which was franchised to bottle seven –up bottling international, incorporating of US came up with a brand of softdrink “7-up” in 1960, in 1986, the franchise for “change crush” was added; thus began their gradual incursion into the Nigeria market with just two brands, 7-up and orange crush.
In 1989, the company future rose to a new height with the acquisition of Messrs John Holt soft drink business in Nigeria. This led to the successful negotiation of another franchise from Messrs Pepsi –Cola, Merinda orange, Merinda Soda and tonic. This full complement of flavours offers the company a tremendous competitive advantage in their expansion programme and future growth as these products now measure competitively with other soft drinks especially with the products of the Nigerian Bottling company, who have dominated and enjoyed a large percent of the market share of the industry.
Despite the apparent increase in soft drink companies in the country today, the seven-up bottling company with it’s target sighted planning aggressive marketing strategies, heavy promotional and distributional network, the company with it’s ten plats as against twenty ix of the strong threat to the NBC in the industry. Due to the activities of the salespersons, the company products are in high demand and with sustenance and increase of it’s effort in these areas.