KACEN is a pharmaceutical company currently experiencing issues due to previous mismanagement of sales. As a result of previous mismanagement, a large audience of clients has been left with a negative impression of the company, leaving it open to attacks from competitors. Approximately 56% of all the potential clients in the territories of Cadiz and Malaga have not yet been contacted. Those clients that have been contacted previously have concerns about the side effects of the diarrhea medication the company lab creates, the price of the product, effectiveness, and the contraindications. No clear information about the clients is present because no follow-up procedures were performed. Communication that was performed did not include a lot of input from the clients, which led to a lack of information on their preferences.
In the current state, the staff appears to be unprepared and demotivated because of low pay and long work hours. Four managers, including me, are available to pursue further clients, but the current efforts additional measures are required to cover a wider area. Current sales goals also require attention because they are not achievable in the current state of the company.
The anti-diarrhea medicine created by the company is praised for its fast effectiveness. However, due to the negative image of the company in the eyes of consumers, issues such as its side-effects are becoming more prominent. The price is also slightly higher than generic drugs prescribed for diarrhea. The transportation of the product from Barcelona to Malaga is also slightly problematic as it takes too long to travel.
There are three main competitors of the company. Each of them uses unique strategies that need to be considered. The first is focused on investing money in digital channels of communication to promote their product, as well as contact their clients. In addition, they also actively participate in medical congresses. The first competitor is seen as the market leader, with a mature product with soft side effects. Their primary weakness is the high cost of the product. The second competitor is less known in the market. To make up for its low exposure, the company uses an electronic reporting system that can be used to make informed marketing decisions.
Despite the low popularity of its product, the company is highly prominent in medical congresses. The product itself has slow effectiveness, few side effects, and the second-highest price on the market. The last competitor utilizes iPads as a tool for tracking customer information. Their product is a generic medicine with a low price point, and it does not have any registered side effects. However, its effectiveness is slow.
Goals of the Sales Plan
After analyzing the environment in which the company is currently positioned, a few specific goals may be outlined. The overall goal of the company is to attract new clients for the distribution of lactobacillus acidophilus that the company lab produces. However, this goal may not be completed without addressing the majority of the issues that were mentioned in the previous section.
Therefore, one of the first steps would be to assist the demotivated and underperforming sales managers. Subsequently, actions need to be taken to improve the reputation of the company among the various segments of its customer base. New methods of contacting customers, as well as recording their feedback, should be implemented.
New sales goals would also need to be established as well as the budget forecast.
One of the key factors for a key account manager is motivation, and currently, the team is highly demotivated by their previous job experiences. This issue has to be resolved through not one but multiple solutions to improve both motivation and performance of the salespeople. Members of the team have previously blamed low wages and unreasonable work hours for their lack of motivation. This is why a change in their wage system should be performed as soon as possible.
Currently, sales managers only receive a fixed salary that does not motivate them to perform with higher efficiency. The primary change to this system should be the implementation of commissions and bonuses for their sales. For example, for each sale, a manager may receive10% of the profit. If they are the most successful manager of the team, they may receive a monetary bonus. These two additions should motivate the team despite a large number of clients that require attention. At the end of each month, the managers would be evaluated, and their achievements would be celebrated to show that their efforts are valued within the company.
The second issue with the sales managers is their low performance. Only one of the managers has displayed significant results during the evaluation, and it is not guaranteed that they will be capable of sustaining them. To ensure that the whole team is capable of performing to the best of their ability, a series of training sessions will take place during the first quarter of the year. The team will be trained on the following topics: negotiation, closing, public speaking, presentations, iPad use for sales purposes, and CRM.
Negotiation and closing training would be crucial for manager’s ability to attract and improve relationships with clients. Public speaking and presentation training is needed to improve the reputation of the company during medical congresses. Finally, iPad use and CRM training are needed for the new tools that managers will receive to ease their work with clients and databases. The purchase of 4 iPads and 4 CRM packages with licenses would be beneficial for the team.
Managers would be able to report new information about clients right after a meeting with an iPad, and through the use of CRM, this information would be securely stored, tracked, and used in the future to create marketing plans, strategic decisions, and even the introduction of new products (Kubacki, 2015). All of these measures would have to be put in place during the first quarter so that people representing the company would be able to complete its goals.
The sales goals themselves would have to be lowered. I believe that a combination of both qualitative and quantitative factors would need to be measured. Qualitative factors would include public perception of the company and awareness of the product. By the end of the year, the public perception of the company should be positive, and awareness of the product should be higher by 40%. Quantitative goals include the number of clients contacted and a number of deals closed. By the end of the fourth quarter, 30% of the uncontacted clients should be approached, and at least 20% are expected to order the product.
When the training sessions are complete, the team will be divided into two. Those who live in Malaga will be assigned to the Malaga clients. The remaining two managers, who live in Seville, will be assigned to Cadiz. While Seville managers would still have to spend time on travel, the distance from Malaga to Cadiz is significantly higher. By separating the teams, excessive travel would be avoided. In addition, the issue of product transportation should be resolved by transitioning from deliveries from the current system to one in which the product is directly delivered to clients, as opposed to being delivered to Malaga first. As with previous measures, it is recommended to perform these changes during the first quarter because these steps will be fundamental for work in the following quarters.
Customer Segmentation and Further Work
As it was previously established, almost no information about the voice of the customer is available to the company at this moment due to a lack of foresight and poor negotiation techniques employed by the last manager. The only clearly available information on the opinions of the customers is the four client profiles into which they are divided. They are separated by concerns about the effectiveness of the product, its side effects, contraindications, and the price.
To gain a better understanding of the customer’s needs, it would be valuable to contact the marketing research company that previously approached us on this topic. This information needs to be gained before any negotiations with clients will take place, so it should be purchased in the first quarter. It should be especially useful in combination with training and technology that the managers will receive in the same period.
Our current analysis of customer segmentation shows a few aspects that need to be addressed. The most loyal customers of our company are concerned about the side effects of the product. Those who are likely to become our loyal customers are more concerned about the effectiveness and contraindications. The issue of price is a lesser concern despite its presence in all but the most loyal customers. These results suggest that even before the marketing research company is involved, the main focus of the negotiations and public appearances should be on downplaying the side effects and pushing the idea that our product has very high effectiveness.
After all the training and preparation of the sales managers, the company should focus on rebuilding its public image and creating new customers. Marketing will be done through electronic resources and will include an informative website as well as ads on medical sites. Marketing efforts should begin in the first quarter to coincide with the end of the training. The product will feature a new box to remove any negative visual association with prior customer service.
To start the revitalization of the company in the eyes of the customers publicly, the team will present our new plans for a medical congress. During the public presentation, managers are expected to use the training they received to present the new, more customer-focused approach to sales that the company is taking. The positive aspects of the product will be accentuated, and the previous issues will be addressed quickly but firmly. The audience needs to see that the company is ready to provide quality customer service in order to deliver an effective product. After the congress, members of the audience will be presented with promotional gift packages containing company merchandise. The packages will include hats, pens, and cups with the company logo.
Subsequently, sales managers can start focusing on contacting clients through their preferred channels of communication. Information about their preferences should be available through the marketing company. If the method is unknown, the manager should make sure to ask the client about their preferences. This will be the main routine for the management teams and should last from the end of the first congress and to the end of the year. The previously licensed CRM system should improve the speed and effectiveness of the process as the sales would be closely tied to marketing research.
The negotiation techniques of the sales managers should vary between the segments of clients. When talking to loyal customers in the HH segment, managers should use collaboration techniques of negotiation. Since they are already supportive of the product, negotiators should find ways in which this support can be continued. For the HM segment of the customer base, sales managers could use a technique of compromise because they may have larger issues with the company that prevents them from fully supporting it. Finally, the MH segment of the customers may be more responsive to a pleasing technique of negotiation. Their issue may be less complex, but their support is still not complete. Therefore the managers need to show that the company is happy to address their concerns.
The product is currently in the first stages of its lifecycle and has a chance to grow significantly if proper attention is given to the creation of new loyal customers. To motivate this, the company may introduce a loyalty rewards system for pharmacies and hospitals that choose to continuously work with us (Wierenga & Lans, 2017). The main reward for the prolonged association may be a reduction in price. For example, clients who order the product for a year may receive a discount. The new price will be between the manufacturing price and the standard price of the product. Such programs should incentivize clients to support the company over its competitors. The company can guarantee that the product is effective, but by making it more affordable, it should get a competitive edge on two of three market leaders.
Recommendations for International Trade
The majority of efforts of this sales plan are designed to address the issues that the company is facing at this moment. However, one of the additional topics that require attention is the proposed expansion into the Portuguese pharmaceutics market. This would be the first attempt of the company to enter international trade, and therefore it has to take a few key elements into consideration. The start of international expansion should take place after the company began operating according to the sales plan. Therefore, it should begin at the end of the second quarter and continue into the third. This way, the company could estimate whether it is ready for the expansion or not (Hitt, Li, & Xu, 2016).
When expanding, the company should be extremely attentive to the culture of the country. Even though Portugal is not as far as other countries may be, its culture may still have different views on what is considered acceptable, attractive, and effective. It would be important to examine the current marketing materials of the company for the presence of elements that do not align with the cultural standards of Portugal.
Efforts of competitors should be analyzed to see how similar products are advertised and how they perform. When constructing marketing materials, it could be beneficial to approach a Portuguese agency or citizen to make sure that the materials sound natural and are not considered offensive. The practices for buying and selling may differ. Therefore, the inner workings of the foreign market need to be examined (Cavusgil, Knight, Riesenberger, Rammal, & Rose, 2014).
When approaching international markets, it may be necessary to approach companies already present in the country, such as subsidiaries, licensors, exporters, and others. First, projects should be small and focus on specific regions of the country that could should how customers react to the product. Legal literature needs to be examined to ensure that the company will not experience any issues with the laws and regulations of Portugal. Primary channels of advertisement would also need examination. Customer service will most likely have to be outsourced.
Personally, I believe that there is a potential to expand into Portugal because it is a relatively close region, and our medicine serves to help with an ailment common in most regions of the world. If the decision to expand is taken, it will divert attention from the local market, and therefore it would be more difficult to meet the current sales goals. In addition, it could make the company more vulnerable because it currently does not have a firm standing locally.
However, the company could see success in the new market, which could provide additional sources of revenue, which would otherwise be unavailable. It would also broaden our portfolio, which would make future expansions an easier process. Overall, I believe that expansion should be considered but perhaps after the company firmly establishes itself in its domestic market.
Addressing the Competition
To gain an advantage over the competition, it is important to consider the weaknesses of their products and the advantages that our product has. Two of our competitors have expensive products with different levels of effectiveness. Their side effects are only slightly softer than ours, but due to the maturity of their products, they are less of a concern for their customers. However, our product can be directly competing with the market leader in its effectiveness. In addition, our prices are much lower and even approach the price of generic medicines used for the same purposes. Therefore, the primary strategy against them should be to show that nearly the same results can be achieved for much lower prices. When the product reaches a more mature phase of its lifespan, the results it provides would be more attractive due to the lower price point. Since the manufacturing process cannot be changed, side effects will need to be downplayed in promotional materials.
The third competitor is a generic drug that has no reported side effects. It is less effective, but its price is lower than ours. As it was discussed earlier, the main way of attracting customers to our product as opposed to theirs would be through a loyalty program (Wang, Lewis, Cryder, & Sprigg, 2016; Noble, Esmark, & Noble, 2014). It would provide a more effective product at a comparable price to those who choose to support us.
The allotted budget for this sales plan was 1000 MIUCs, and the following is a list of all the services and products needed to be purchased for its fulfillment:
- 4 iPads;
- six training topics;
- 300 pens;
- 200 cups;
- 100 hats;
- New packaging;
- Distribution model change;
- CRM (4 licenses);
- Marketing data.
The overall cost of the plan is approximately 550 MIUCs. The remaining funds may be used on bonuses for the staff, international market research, and any other issues that require funding. A number of unpredicted events may occur. Therefore, reserve funds should always be present to either seize opportunities or resolve issues.
Currently, the issues the company is experiencing are serious enough to put the new product in jeopardy. However, by following the recommendations presented in this plan, it is possible to resolve a number of them, as well as establish the positive image of the company. The product is capable of becoming the market leader as well due to its effectiveness and price. If issues with sales management are resolved, customers will begin to receive quality customer service that fits their preferences.
Subsequently, this would improve customer relations. While a number of technological solutions and training sessions will be required, the plan still goes significantly under budget and leaves funds that can be utilized in future projects. The projected results may make KACEN a staple name in the Spanish pharmaceutical industry. I hope you will find this sales plan informative and promising.
Cavusgil, S. T., Knight, G., Riesenberger, J. R., Rammal, H. G., & Rose, E. L. (2014). International Business. Melbourne, Australia: Pearson, Australia.
Hitt, M. A., Li, D., & Xu, K. (2016). International strategy: From local to global and beyond. Journal of World Business, 51(1), 58–73. Web.
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Noble, S. M., Esmark, C. L., & Noble, C. H. (2014). Accumulation versus instant loyalty programs: The influence of controlling policies on customers’ commitments. Journal of Business Research, 67(3), 361–368. Web.
Wang, Y., Lewis, M., Cryder, C., & Sprigg, J. (2016). Enduring effects of goal achievement and failure within customer loyalty programs: A large-scale field experiment. Marketing Science, 35(4), 565–575. Web.
Wierenga, B., & Lens, R. (Eds.). (2017). Handbook of marketing decision models. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. Web.