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Sales operations entail the activities that the business undertakes for efficient functioning of the enterprise. It is imperative that a sales plan is followed for ensuring growth in the sale of services and products. The ongoing discussion would involve a study of the operations and sales planning of L’oreal cosmetic brand andf would include the aspects of role of sales team, personal selling strategy, decision making process, recruitment, training and database management along with the development of a sales plan for a new product line to be introduced by the brand.
A promotional mix is usually targeted at a specified market place or sector involving the aspects of sales promotion, advertising, public relations and personal selling. In the case of commercial organisations the promotional mix is utilised through the process of correlation with the targets of communication. The plans of the purchasers are always encouraged and the company stays connected with its loyal customer base through various kinds of strategies. The aspect of private promotions are given extra importance in L’oreal and is aptly supported by maintaining customer dating, recruitment of proficient sales personnel, expression of better and professional responses and through effective verbal exchanges. The promotional mix of advertising through the different kind of method such as billboard advertisements, television, social media platforms and news media are considered quite crucial by the brand and they acquire customers by offering of discounted products at the target market ( Duflot., 2014).
The aspect of public relations is highlighted by the brand in its process of sponsoring social and entertainment events like awards ceremonies, awareness campaigns which places brand L’oreal in the positive mind frame of the global cosmetic consumers thus maximising the profitability of the organisation. Free locusassignments. coupons and various kinds of contests are being held by the brand as a part of its sales promotion strategy the instant buying decision of the cosmetic purchasers. The Pull and Push marketing approach is also followed religiously by the cosmetic giant and it uses the advertising and promotional strategies to appeal the customers through the offerings of price reductions, gift hampers, extra merchandise etc and also promotes the products through the platform of social media for reshaping the notion of the online customers of the cosmetic sector ( Duflot., 2014).
The behaviour of the buyers is basically reflective of the mind frame of the purchaser during the difernt phases of acquiring a product or a service. For being aware of the buying behaviour of the consumers the brand must have an idea about the approach of the consumer with regsrd to consumption as well as the perception that the consumer have about the specific product in his mind. L’oreal constantly scrutinises the conduct of its customers so that the response of the customers towards the advertisements of the products of the brand can be understood and accordingly can modify or alter the promotional startegies suiting their preferences.from the buyer’s perspective, the process of decision making is much superior which precedes the event of purchase preference ( Covas., 2014). The decision making process of the purchaser can be categorized in the following five stages:
In addition in the process of buying products of their preferences the factors of psychological, social and mental conditioning is also taken into consideration which the brand tries to consider most of the time to influence its global customer base in the cosmetic sector ( Olhager et al., 2010). It has been seen that there are differences in the choice of the yoiunger people to that of the older ones. A certain product may enhance the social status and there are some which are highly recommended by the near and dear ones and these social factors also make a difference on the customer’s preference. More often than not the psychological factors like the degree of utility, usage, custom and attitudes also influences the decision of purchase and hence L’oreal always takes these factors into consideration to sell its products to the customers.
It is through the method of personal selling a rapport with the client base is formed by the brand. Through this method the company gets to meet prospective clients, know the preference of the people about cosmetics and also gets valued feedbacks which helps the sales planning and promotion of the products of the brand. The sales team of the brand after acquiring the details through the process of personal selling develops the plan of advertising the products, setting the price and the specifications of the service in accordance to the market demand (Koblentz and Wei, 2011). The sales team of L’oreal is also responsible for gathering the responses of its customers, maintaining the data base of the valued customers, inventory allocation, producing the income report and retaining the co-ordination with the other departments of the organisation. They make personal calls to the customers and collect the required information needed to incorporate the responses in their planning of sales and they also take help of online platform for the conduct of surveys. Thereafter the list of responses are analysed to understand the preferences and taste of teh customers in the target sector and also make predictions about the future sales on the basis of strategies and methods such as Delphi method, assessment of regression, shifting of averages, analysing the market conditions and advertising outcomes.
The strategies in L’oreal are developed by taking into consideration the aims, the mission and the goals of the enterprise. The goals of the brand are basically directed to accomplish the tasks that the enterprise has set out for itself in its strategies. The strategies at L’oreal are formulated to enhance the base of loyal customers, maximising profits, shortening the cycle of earnings and helping in being competitive in the market place.
L’oreal strategises in an advance manner than its market competitors enabling teh brand earn the targeted profit by increasing the sale of the various products. L’oreal aims to enhance its growth in the global cosmetic segment by enhancing its sales target and also enhancing the level of profits ( Duflot., 2014). The process of strategy formulation is thus shaped in consultatioin with the market researchers, who through their multifarious kinds of market studies gathers information about the needs and preferences of the customers and their buying capacities, which in turn, helps the enterprise to incorporate the required elements in its strategies for achieving its corporate objectives and mission and goals ( Grimson and Pyke., 2007). As for instance, the brand at first selcts the target market and the target customers and then they conduct surveys to get their feedback about the products of the brand for a short time period and thereafter on the basis of the responses of the market they plan the strategy to place the products at a price that can help them realise their corporate goals.
It is important to note that the recruitment process of the sales team is not similar to the general recruitment process that takes place in organisations. This is so since the managers in trhe sales team is expected to possess certain specialised behavioural traits than their regular counterparts. It is mandatory that the manager in the sales team must possess competency in various modes of communication, the composure to handle crisis or crisis management abilities and capacity to handle and co-ordinate large teams efficiently under pressure of achieving targets and deadlines (Hrebiniak, 2013). L’oreal thus employs the strategies of selecting the appropriate candidates through the various modes of employee referrals, recognised employment agencies and personal applications. These candidates are thereafter made to go through the stages of interview, written examinations, group discussion and viva voce to get selected in the sales team of the global brand.
L’oreal from the shortlisted applicants considers the qualification, practical exposures, previous experience and special competencies in the job area and accordingly develops the specifications based on which the candidate is judged for his suitability to fit the vacany of the sales team ( Covas., 2014).
The significance of motivation, training and remuneration can never be negated in the process of management of a sales team within an organisation. L’oreal is a global cosmetic brand and sales management is the most vital component of the enterprise hence the aspect of motivation cannot be left in the hands of the human resource teams and the sales managers must take the responsibility to keep the members of the sales team motivated and keep them abreast about the needs of the brand vis-a-vis their perceptions ( Bailey et al., 2009). L’oreal has been observed to follow the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as the model of motivation and therefore ensures that the basic requirements of the sales team like that of food, clothing and shelter remains fulfilled at all times. The psychological needs ar also fulfilled by taking their feedbacks and making them proactive in taking responsibilities and decisions. The employeres are also provide with certain kind of financial and non-financial incentives on the basis of their performances which keeps them spirited and they give their best thus reducing the operational cost and recordiong an improvement in the performance of the brand.
Remuneration has been the prime driving force behind any workforce which propels them towards fruitful action that helps the company realise its goals and vision with ease (Espejo and Kuropatwa, 2011). In L’oreal special care is taken that the employees are remunerated on the bais of their past experience, exposure and present performances. The sales team apart from the fixed remuneration is provided with certain incentives and appraisals based on individual efforts that keeps them satisfied and they become eager to increase their level of performance.
The training and development of the sales team is crucial in the overall growth of the enterprise. The employees through successful training gets promoted and gets subjected to appraisals within the organisation. The training modules are guidances that L’oreal provides to its sales team so that they can effectively achieve their set targets and not only bring about growth of the company but also gain immense confidence and lead towards personal development of skill, expertise and demeanour (O’Leary-Kelly et aL., 2012). Through the methods of trainng the sales team is made aware of the common goal and vision of the brand and the possible ways it can be achieved and the various ways such achievement could get recognised for the common good of the enterprise as well as the individual employee as well.
There are several startegies by which the sales activity is organised and sales output is controlled by the organisation and it is dependant solely on the factors of volume of sales, location and size of the range of products that is taken into consideration ( Nakano et al., 2013). L’oreal can participate in the trade fairs and exhibitions to showcase their product range since in these kind of gatherings the customers turn out in huge numbers and not only they would be able to view the different products of the company but the company would also increase their database and recive prpoduct feedbacks from them.
The sales team of the brand can develop sales budgets so that the functioning of the sales run smooth and helps in making sales plans in an improved manner, and also evaluate performances in a much better way having full control over the expenses ( Bower., 2005). Through the budget the volume of expected sales for a particular period can be understood and through the forecasting of the sales the brand would know whether to continue withe product or withdraw it from the destination market. It is through the forecasting of the sales that the brand derives the right promotional mix, the amount that needs to be invested and the requirement of the human resource accordingly. The control can be effected also by the imposition of standards like performance evaluations. The sales control of L’oreal is aimed at teh optimisation of the sale of its products, control the revenue and bring about a practice of profit maximisation.
A crucial aspect of sales management entails managing of the database through which the various channels of sales can be effectively managed by the enterprise. The database of L’oreal comprises of the details of the customers of the brand and allied information regarding the likes and dislikes of the customers about certain specific products of the brand ( Duflot., 2014). It also keeps the information of the lean and peak phases of various kind of the brands products on the bsis of the demands and choices of the customers. The information available in the database of the company is generally the record or documentation of the movement of preferences of the customers over a period that enables L’oreal to innovate and place its varied range of cosmetics to suit the current market taste and also retain its market share in the competition. The database guides the company towards future planning and helps in assessment of the future trends of the market in the form of evolving consumer taste and preferences ( Olhager et al., 2010). The mangment of database in L’oreal helps in converting the first time purchasers into repeat buyers since through the implementatioin of selected tools of marketing the customers are made a part of the cycles of communication who are sent follow-up emails at periodic intervals. The level of profitability and the volume of sales of the brand also shoots up since the success rate of personal sales meeting with a prospect is enhanced because of possessing a large volume of information on the fingertips. The existing customers are efficently tracked by the brand along with their current purchase preferences which helps the brand in luring these customers with different kinds of upgradations, renewals and new products (APICS., 2007).
The following sales plan has been designed for the launch of the new product line in the segment of hair care by L’oreal under the name of “ Garnier Ultra Blends”. The unique selling point or the USP of the product would be the use of natural ingredients and the launch is recognised to capitalise on the ongoing trend of using Ayurvedic products among the global business.
There are various steps that needs to be followed in the development of a sales plan for a product launch which have been enumerated below:
In the recent times due to economic and market globalisation the international boundaries have opened up and products across countries have secured a regonition in the minds of the global customers. The cosmetic and beauty segment is inherently evolving and is highly competitive in nature. The population of the Indian subcontinent and China is quite alarming and because there is high volume of disposable income in the hands of the young working class, the spending power of the new generation has increased manifold, and on the other hand, the proliferation of internet in the daily fold of life has widened the expanse of their chioices and preferences, thus leading them to experiment with new products that can bring about a difference in their personality and social status (Onald., 2006).
As the new hair care range is going all natural it would cater to the discerning sector people who are always looking out for environmental friendly products in their daily usage. The selling opportunities and scope would also increase for the new product line of the brand as the people would be interested to find that a global brand of the stature of L’oreal has switched to use of natural ingredients in their products and it would create positive impression about the brand in then mind of the target sector consumers, which in turn would not only enhance sales but would also ensure a good amount of market share in the Asian market ( Covas ., 2014).
Trade fairs and exhibitions are great product promotional platforms from both the business end as well as the end of the customers. It is one of the most effective ways to attract and inform the masses about the new kind of products and their applications. In fact L’oreal would also be able to gauge the general trend of products among its immediate competitors and can devise strategies to get international franchisees and investors for the growth of their brand in the asian subcontinent. The trade fairs are not only organised in UK it has become a practice in almost all countries and therefore participation in the Indian or Chinese trade fairs and beauty and cosmetic product exhibitions and fairs would help in reaching out to the maximum number of customers, study the different segment of customers, expand the customer base, acquire knowledge about the intensity of the competition in the destination country and also gain knowledge about the perception of the general people about the brand (Koblentz and Wei, 2011).
The above discussion has thus covered the various aspects of sales planning and operation in the context of L’oreal cosmetic brand. The significance of personal selling in promotional mix, the management of sales team, the role of the sales manager, the implications of remuneration, training and motivation in sales management as well as the importance of database in the same. It includes the formulation of a sales plan for the launch of a new product line of the brand too.
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