A training and human resource expert, Pharm. Tunde Oyeniran, has identified reasons medical and sales representatives often fail to live up to expectations.
Speaking to a team of sales and regional managers during a three-day training on “Sales Management: Roles and Responsibilities” at the head office of Miraflash Pharmaceuticals in Magboro, Ogun State, Oyeniran who is chief operating officer (COO) of Pharmanews-White Tulip Consulting, explained that the challenge of motivating a sales team to bring in results lies with the management.
While explaining the evolution of sales pitching, Oyeniran declared that the art of commerce and selling actually began centuries ago when salesman were peddlers engaging one another through trade by barter.
“Therefore when medical or sales representatives are not making the numbers, the responsibility of ensuring that every member of the sales team is successful and performing at optimum levels lies entirely with management,” Oyeniran said.
Explaining further, the training expert said, “You need to start asking straightforward questions to identify why the salesperson is underachieving. Questions like: Are they visiting enough clients/prospects? How proactive are they? Are they talking to the right people within those client/prospect organisations and are they able to penetrate the formal Decision Making Unit (DMU) and get to the main MAN?” he said.
The Pharmanews-White Tulip COO also cautioned field staff against mistaking sales for marketing.
According to him, sales is the activity involved in selling products or services in return for money or other compensation, while marketing improves the selling environment and plays a very important role in sales.
Oyeniran further explained that the marketing department’s goal is to increase the number of interactions between potential customers and the company. This, according to him, entails the sales team using promotional techniques such as advertising, sales promotion, publicity, public relations, creating new sales channels, or creating new products (new product development), among other things.
“Marketing and sales are very different, but have the same goal,” Oyeniran said. “To put it mildly, sales starts with the seller and is preoccupied all the time with the needs of the seller. Aside seeking to convert products in to cash, sales also views the customer as the last link in the business. Marketing, on the other hand, starts with the buyer and focuses constantly on the needs of the buyer. Unlike sales, marketing views the customer as the very purpose of business,” he stressed.
The expert also stressed the importance of personal selling, which he described as the strength of many medical representatives.
“Today, personal selling involves the development of longstanding client relationships. Compared to other marketing communications tools, such as advertising, personal selling tends to use fewer resources and pricing is often negotiated.
“More often than not, there is some contact between buyer and seller after the sale, so that an ongoing relationship is built,” he emphasised.
It would be recalled that Miraflash Nigeria Limited, as at 2005, was only involved in the local manufacturing of four oral dry suspension powder which are Miramox (amoxycillin), Miraclox (ampiclox), Mirapicin (ampicillin) and Cephaflash (cephalexin) 125miligrammes.
However, through hard work and purpose driven management, Miraflash has since made tremendous progress with the introduction of a capsule line at its newly commissioned factory. Approval for the new range of capsules was given by both the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN).
Today, the company sells over 37 high quality products at affordable prices all over Nigeria.