Personal Selling Strategies And Performance Of Pharmaceutical Firms

Project and Seminar Material for Marketing

Personal Selling Strategies And Performance Of Pharmaceutical Firms

Chapter One


1.1 Background Of 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.

The 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 more 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 pharmaceutical 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. Pharmaceutical representatives, popularly known as medical representatives, are the salespeople tasked with marketing drugs. Hence, this study is meant to examine the effect and relationship between personal selling and the performance of pharmaceutical firms.

1.2 Statement Of 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 relationships with the customer. The pharmaceutical industry has been known to be in existence since time immemorial due to the need for healthy populations. With increasing competition from the entry of new firms into the industry on a regular basis, all existing firms have discovered the need to maintain a customer base while also seeking to gain the untapped market. However, most pharmaceutical firms are still using traditional pharmaceutical promotion practices which include detailing (where sales representatives visit 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 pharmaceutical 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.

1.3 Objectives Of The Study

The general objective of this study is to examine the personal selling strategies and performance of pharmaceutical firms.

The specific objectives include;

  1. Examining the relationship between personal selling strategies and the performance of pharmaceutical firms
  2. Investigate the influence of personal selling strategies on the performance of pharmaceutical firms.
  3. Proffer applicable recommendation which will aid pharmaceutical firms.

1.4 Research Hypothesis

To guide this study, the following hypotheses were developed:

  • Ho1: Personal selling has no influence on the performance of pharmaceutical firms.
  • Ho2: There is no relationship between personal selling strategies and the performance of pharmaceutical firms.

1.5 Significance Of The Study

This study will unravel the paramount roles played by personal selling as a part of marketing strategy. It will also educate pharmaceutical firm stakeholders on the importance of hiring more skilled salespeople and training existing ones in order to strengthen the marketing department. More so, students, tutors, researchers and other academic dignitaries who in their convenient time may carryout a research epistle or may want to gain knowledge on the topic which is of concern to this study will also find this work useful.

1.6 Scope Of The Study

This study is rounded out by an examination of the relationship between personal selling strategies and pharmaceutical firm performance, as well as an investigation into the influence of personal selling strategies on pharmaceutical firm performance. More so, this should be limited to Agary Pharmaceutical Limited.

1.7 Limitation Of The Study

The limitations of this study include:


Due to the economic hardship that is faced by people, including the researchers, the possibility of a larger sample size which may have helped the work to cover many areas becomes impossible. Hence, this work will be limited to only Agary Pharmaceutical Limited.


It was not unusual that the researcher was constrained by time limit as it posed a serious threat to the successful coverage intended in the course of this study. It is the intention of the researcher to interview all the employees of the selected pharmaceutical company because of various activities of the researcher which border on both academic, work schedules and other social activities, it became relatively impossible to justify that intention.

Attitude of respondents:

Most of the employees refused to collect the questionnaires and those that collected did not give them the urgent attention it required in filling and returning them while some did not even return theirs at all. Some others were not very cooperative and could have given non-reliable information as they feared publicity despite the assurance by the researcher to treat every information with utmost secrecy and purely for academic purposes.

This lack of co-operation from both the staff and, most importantly, lack of encouragement by the management of these organizations and also administrative bottlenecks acted as impediments to this study. The researcher overcame the above constraints by devoting more money and time to the research work, as well as attempting to persuade respondents by providing them with gifts/presents in order to ensure prompt cooperation and the provision of reliable and relevant information as may be required to achieve the goal of this work.

1.8 Definitions Of Terms

Personal Selling:

Personal selling occurs when a sales representative meets with a potential client for the purpose of transacting a sale.


A plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim.

Pharmaceutical Firm:

This is a commercial business licensed to research, develop, market and/or distribute drugs, most commonly in the context of healthcare

Personal Selling Strategies And Performance Of Pharmaceutical Firms

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