Evaluating the drivers that impact the relationship between a sales representative and customer within the retail sector and the impact this relationship has on the sales volume of Coca-Cola products within in the Western Cape

Forrest, Colin (2007-12)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2007.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Companies within the FMCG sector are continually trying to create value from their brands by increasing their margins and/or selling more of their products. Taking cost out of the value chain gives the company a competitive advantage, but this advantage is short lived as competitors also reduce costs. Differentiating a product through enhanced features and benefits also provides a competitive advantage, but is also subject to imitation by rivals. As competition increases, companies are looking for new avenues to differentiate themselves. Relationships marketing has, as a result, increased its prevalence as a competitive tool to provide that point of difference. This research report analyses the factors that influence the relationship between a Coca-Cola sales representative and his/her customers with the Cape Town region. The geography is unique in that is has a cross section of people who represent different races, religions and languages. This research report examines the impact that age, gender, education and culture have on the ability of a sales representative to build a relationship with a customer. Culture is broken down into four categories. These categories examined the race, language, religion and area of residence of a sales representative relative to a customer and the impact these attributes have on the ability to build a relationship. Positive relationships have an impact on the sales representative's ability to influence the store owner to activate certain in-store drivers which will increase the sales volume of products through an outlet. In-store drivers have been defined as the availability of a product through listing, the amount of forward share allocated to the product and the price of the product. If the profile of a sales representative relative to that of a customer, has an impact on the strength of the relationship, companies could "match" sales representatives to customers based on their respective profiles. This "matching" would have a positive benefit for the sales representative and his/her company. The research showed that there was a correlation between the profile of a sales representative and a customer. It is easier for a sales representative to build a relationship with a customer who is a similar age. It is however easier for the sales representative to influence a younger customer. Gender plays no role in a sales representative's ability to build a relationship. With respect to education, a stronger relationship exists between a customer and sales representative of a similar education. Again it is easier for a representative to influence a customer who has a lower level of education. Race does have an impact on the ability to build relationships. The research showed that an African sales representative should service an African customer. The same applies to a Xhosa speaking sales representative. There is a positive link between matching sales representatives and customers who come from similar areas and have the same religion. Understanding what factors can improve or inhibit a relationship provides important insights into how management can influence a competitive advantage in customer relationship marketing.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Maatskappye binne die FMCG-sektor probeer deurlopend om waarde tot hulle handelsmerk toe te voeg deur hulle winsmarges te vergroot en/of meer produkte te verkoop. Om koste uit die waardeketting te verwyder, gee die maatskappy slegs vir 'n kort tydjie 'n mededingende voordeel aangesien mededingers ook koste verlaag. Om produkte te differensieer deur kenmerke en voordele te verbeter, bied ook 'n mededingende voordeel maar kan eweneens deur mededingers nageboods word. Soos wat kompetisie toeneem, soek maatkappye nuwe maniere om hulself te differensieer. Verhoudingsbemarking kom gevolglik al meer voor as 'n mededingende instrument om daardie klein verskil te maak. Hierdie navorsing ontleed die faktore wat 'n invloed uitoefen op die verhouding tussen 'n verkoopsverteenwoordiger van Coca Cola en sy/haar mededingers binne die Kaapstad-streek. Die geografie is uniek omdat dit 'n verskeidenheid mense van verskillende rasse, godsdienste en tale omvat. Die navorsingsverslag ondersoek die impak wat ouderdom, geslag, opvoeding en kultuur uitoefen op die vermoe van die verkoopsverteenwoordiger om 'n verhouding met 'n klant op te bou. Kultuur word in vier kategoriee verdeel. Hierdie kategoriee ondersoek die ras, taal, godsdiens en woonarea van 'n verkoopsverteenwoordiger relatief tot 'n klant en die impak wat hierdie kenmerke uitoefen op die vermoe om 'n verhouding op te bou. Positiewe verhoudings het 'n impak op die verkoopsverteenwoordiger se vermoe om die winkeleienaar te beinvloed om sekere aandrywers in die winkel toe te pas om die verkoopsvolume van produkte deur so 'n winkel te verhoog. Hierdie aandrywers in die winkel is geidentifiseer as die beskikbaarheid van 'n produk deur notering, die hoeveelheid aandele wat vooruit aan die produk toegeken word en die prys van die produk. As die profiel van 'n verkoopsverteenwoordiger relatief tot die van die klant 'n impak uitoefen op die kwalitieit van die verhouding kan maatskappye verkoopsverteenwoordigers by klante "pas" op grond van hulle onderskeie profiele. Hierdie "passing" kan 'n positiewe voordeel vir die verkoopsverteenwoordiger en sy/haar maatskappy inhou. Die navorsing het aangetoon dat daar 'n korrelasie bestaan tussen die profiel van 'n verkoopsverteenwoordiger en die klant. Dit is makliker vir 'n verkoopsverteenworrdiger om 'n verhouding op te bou met 'n klant van 'n soortgelyke ouderdom. Dit is egter vir die verkoopsverteenwoordiger makliker om 'n jonger klant te beinvloed. Geslag speel geen rol in die verkoopsverteenwoordiger se vermoe om 'n verhouding op te bou nie. Sover dit opvoeding aangaan, is daar ook 'n sterker verhouding tussen 'n klant en verkoopsverteenwoordiger van soortgelyke opvoeding. Weer eens is dit makliker vir 'n verteenwoordiger om 'n klant met 'n laer vlak van opvoeding te beinvloed. Ras het wel 'n impak op die vermoe om verhoudinge te bou. Die navorsing het aangetoon dat 'n swart verkoopsverteenwoordiger beter vaar met 'n swart klant. Dieselfde geld vir 'n Xhosa-sprekende verkoopsverleenwoordiger. Daar is 'n positiewe gevolg waar verkoopsverteenwoordigers en klante uit soortgelyke areas en met dieselfde godsdiens by mekaar gepas word. 'n Begrip vir die faktore wat 'n verhouding kan verbeter of inhibeer bied belangrike insigte in maniere waarop bestuur 'n mededingende voordeel kan meebring deur verhoudingsbemarking op klante toe te pas.

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