Sales planning operations are related to an integrated business process which helps to align all the organizational functions. It includes various factors such as sales plan, inventory plan, production plan as well as customer lead time plan. With the help of sales planning, operation management of the corporation decides that how planning process becomes more customer centric in order to increase sales turnover and profitability. The process of sales planning helps to ascertain optimum level of manufacturing output that also contributes towards creating competitive edge of the company in the marketplace. The present report is based on luxury hotel chain, Ritz-Carlton which has its own 87 luxury hotels. Also, hotel has its resorts in 29 countries and territories which aid to provide luxury services to large number of visitors.
Further, report covers the role of sales team in marketing strategy and buyer behavior is also compared in different situations. Also, sales strategies developed in the line of corporate objectives are explained by which corporation can attract more buyers. Furthermore, role of motivation, remuneration and training in sales management has also been explained which in turn supports management in achieving long as well as short term objectives.
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1.1 Support of personal selling to the promotion mix
Personal selling is a part of promotion mix which assists management of an organization to increase sales turnover. The process of personal selling includes several alternatives for the promotion of products and services such as sales training and incentive programs for sales person, sales presentation as well as sales meetings. Along with that, samples and telemarketing are also included in the personal selling thereby sales objectives can be fulfilled in a right manner (Bragg, 2005). It is a two way communication between customer and sales people so that query of buyers can be resolved on the spot. It enables Ritz-Carlton to get detail information of buyers and accordingly adopt effective marketing strategies for the particular product or service. Unlike advertising and publicity, personal selling is customer centric. It aids to persuade buyers towards advertisement and publicity (Gray, 2007). For example, whatever is shown in advertisement, the same is demonstrated in personal selling which in turn buyers get motivation to purchase the particular products and services. Thus, it makes sales promotion tools more effective by providing personal guidance to potential consumers.
Under this, sales person brings immediate feedback of buyers related to services of Ritz-Carlton so that accordingly modifications can be made in the same. Moreover, with systematic sales presentation, hotel can remove all the doubts and queries of buyers which are raised from advertisement. By using this way, faith will be generated among potential buyers and they become interested towards the advertised products and services. Unlike advertisement and other promotional mix, personal selling has more flexibility because sales talk is adjusted as per the situation or issue of buyers (Hassanien, 2006). Concept of personal selling brings triples rewards by meeting expectations of three parties such as buyers, sales person and corporation/ hotel. In addition to this, salesman highlights main aspects that are related to products or services and also supports to remove the bad image of corporation in the marketplace. Thus, personal selling supports promotion mix by making customer understand regarding the detail information of products.
1.2 Comparing buyer behavior and decision making process in different situations
Buyer behavior depends on situations or needs and it is highly influenced due to several external factors. It can be understood with the help of following decision making process-
5 Stages of consumer buying decision process
1. Need recognition- It is the first step wherein customer feel need of product and services. This need can be occurred by internal or external stimuli where internal is physiological need. This internal stimuli tends to oppose the external one. The external stimuli consists of exposition of advertisement, mouth watering smell of some dishes while passing from restaurant. For example, a visitor who is traveling to UK will definitely desire for staying in hotel whereas local residents of UK will desire to have good food in hotel (Hayes, and Nenemeier, 2009).
2. Information search- This is the second stage of buying process under which customers search for different alternatives to fulfill their need. In this regard, internal and external sources of information are accessed. Internal information is derived from past experience of buyers whereas external information comes from different sources like family, friends, advertisement etc. For example: visitor will ask his friends for holiday package and good hotel in UK at the time of going out (Jayawardena, McMillan and Pantin, 2013). Also, he/she will get information from internet and advertisement placed by tour operators of UK.
3. Evaluation of alternatives- At this step, different alternatives will be evaluated in the light of preferences of buyers. For example, comfort zone, luxurious segment and prices as well as special offers are also considered while evaluating the alternatives.
4. Purchase decision- After selecting alternatives, purchase decision is taken by the customers. For example: in case buyers has low income level then he/she will not prefer luxury hotel as Ritz-Carlton. Apart from this, buyer from high level of income will select the option of luxury hotel (Jobber and Lancaster, 2011).
5. Post purchase behavior- This is the last step of buying process under which customers take post purchase decision in accordance with the current buying behavior. For example: experience of customer was not good then he/she will not purchase the same service in future and also customer will not recommend the same to other.
1.3 Analyzing the role of sales team within marketing strategy
Sales team plays a vital role in marketing strategy of the corporation as they contact to ultimate users and influence them to purchase the products and services. Sales team consists of competent workforce who have knowledge and understanding of different language (Mungall and Labben, 2009). Further, they are are capable enough to understand the needs as well as preferences of buyers. It proves to be effective in meeting the demand of hotel by supporting management in achieving long as well as short term objectives. It is the only sales team which is directly connected to the marketing department of corporation and provide them detail information related to consumers (Maier, 2012). It helps management to make marketing strategies more attractive so that consumers can take quick purchase decision.It helps management to make marketing strategies more attractive so that consumers can take quick purchase decision. Sales team approach number of territories and work according to given targets thereby they can effectively increase number of buyers.
The marketing strategy is formulated as per the performance of sales team. It facilitates Ritz-Carlton to outperform in the marketplace with increased rate of return. It is because sales personnel meet customers and identify their need in an effectual manner so that accordingly strategies can be formulated that whether to offer discount or not. For example, if sales personnel find that buyers are least interest in product due to high price then company offer discount on product. This in turn sales turnover will be increased along with profitability ratio. It facilitates to create goodwill of corporation in the marketplace so as to create competitive edge of the same (Noonan, 2010). In addition to this, sales team put integrated efforts to achieve the given sales target through which company can accomplish its objectives related to sales turnover, production and rate of return. Therefore sales team provide valid outcome to management so as to introduce right kind marketing strategies. In this regard Ritz-Carlton can increase customer base with effective promotion of products and services.
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2.1 Development of sales strategies in line with corporate objectives
The sales strategies is always developed in line with corporate objectives by which corporation can easily increase sales turnover. Instead of focusing on personal selling, management of Ritz-Carlton can consider internet marketing. This is because it helps to promote products and services in marketplace at rapid speed. This in turn management will be able to attract more buyers. On the other hand, social websites such as Facebook and Twitter are used by hotel to promote its services at global level. It facilitates to increase expand volume of sales and in the same manner profitability will also go high (Novak, 2005). Similarly, products and services are advertised with special offers which in turn unique identity of corporation will be created. It is because buyers tend to get luxury service in low price. Owing to this, management need to offer discount or use special offer during off season. However, in some of the regions personal selling can be done so that customer get detail information related to special offers and discount offered by Ritz-Carlton during off season. It will be critical for company to provide service at discount but aid to build its image in front of other hotels.
Furthermore, E-banner can be used by using Search Engine Optimization so as to gain attraction of large number of customers. It proves to be effective in attracting buyers and influencing them to take purchase decision on right time. Likewise, local customers need to be aware for special offer. In this regard advertisement need to be placed by using application on mobile and placing advertisement on television (Ransley and Ingram, 2001). However, advertisement must have clear appeal for sales. For example, offer is limited for 7 days so book your trip soon. By reviewing such kind of advertisement, buyers get motivation to take quick purchase decision.
2.2 Importance of recruitment and selection procedures
The recruitment and selection process plays important role in acquiring competent workforce in organization. The process of recruitment contains several steps such as placing advertisement for requirement of sales force and inviting application. After inviting application preliminary interview is conducted to select the eligible personnel. During first preliminary interview process, candidates who are not suitable to the job in the light of specified criteria, are eliminated. It assists management of Ritz-Carlton to select right kind of personnel on right position (Steiner, 2010). Furthermore, selection process begin with sorting of applications and then shortlisted candidates are invited by making calls. These shortlisted candidates are then interviewed. They go through three different interview round with HR, sales officer and final interview. It enables corporation to assess qualities of proposed employees effectively so as to select the best one for vacant position. However, candidates who are selected in interview round at call for test round so as to analyze the quantitative skills of the same. Not only this, but references of all selected candidates, is also checked by investigating their background. At last, recruitment contract are signed by management of corporation with proper negotiation of remuneration and other benefits associated with salaries (T. F. Wallace and CO.Oliva, 2006).
The recruitment and selection process enables Ritz-Carlton to reduce the additional expenses which are associated with attrition rate. It is because when company hire right person then it will have positive impact on overall growth and development of the same. Furthermore, recruitment is the effective method by which hr department of hotel prepare pool of potential candidates who can be selected when required. On the other side, selection process ensure that all selected personnel possess necessary skills to perform job at workplace of Ritz-Carlton. It leads to carry out all business activities effective and contribute towards achieving organizational objectives.
2.3 Evaluating role of motivation, remuneration and training in sales management
Motivation refers to urge and desire to work in a direction for satisfaction of particular need. Generally employees work with motivation to achieve their objectives for satisfaction of their own requirement. In this regard Maslow' s need hierarchy can be used where first need is of physiological need. Here, employees get motivated with the help of monetary rewards such as commission and incentives as well as travel allowances (Wood and Brotherton, 2008). The second need is of safety where personnel of Ritz-Carlton want job security, insurance etc. Further, belongingness is third need which arises after satisfaction of first two one. At this stage employees require personal development workshop and gathering with sales staff as well as meeting their colleagues so as to work with high level of satisfaction. At last esteem need occurs when all specified need are fulfilled. Under this employee desire for promotion because of his achievement and success at workplace (Hayes and Nenemeier, 2009).
Remuneration is another imperative element which is directly associated in motivating workforce at workplace. It is decided in accordance with performance, experience, skills as well as qualification of workforce. However, employees are also appraised as per their performance and opinion of their supervisors. It helps to retain them in organization fro longer time span and also increase their level of motivation. Similarly, training is provided to sales person of Ritz-Carlton so that their knowledge and experience can be enhanced at workplace. In addition to this, employees who are not performing up to the mark or whose performance is below the set standard must be provided training on right time (Jayawardena, McMillan and Pantin, 2013). It aids to ensure optimum utilization of limited resources of Ritz-Carlton. Therefore, motivation, remuneration and training are three important element which determine well being of corporation, consumers and employees as well.
2.4 Explaining how sales management organize sales activity and control sales output
Sales management is core function of any organization because it helps to organize sales activity and sales output. Here, sales officer or supervisors set target for employees by focusing on particular services, customer type as well area. Accordingly team of sales personnel is made and working relationship is defined among members of team. Further, journey planning is also done in sales meeting. During meeting all workforce come to know regarding their roles and responsibilities as well as areas covered in their work. It enables them to meet their target on right time span. Also, it is responsibility of management to make workforce aware related to reward of their target (Maier, 2012). It serves as motivation through which sales personnel put their active efforts in achieving specified targets. At this juncture, sales personnel are also invited in sales conferences in order to provide them training to achieve their targets. Similarly, call frequency is also estimated for each customers in order to save overall time as well as cost of Ritz-Carlton. Furthermore, management design territory and accordingly areas is divided for each personnel or team. It leads to cover all geographical area by which company can achieve its objectives in right manner.
Sales management of Ritz-Carlton perform control sales output wherein sales budget is prepared. The budget serve as controlling tools as performance is reviewed after specified time and accordingly gap between actual and expected outcome is assessed. Accordingly, performance standard are also set by management so that actual performance can be assessed in right manner (Noonan, 2010). In case of deviation in actual and expected results, management provide set development plan so that personnel become capable enough to achieve targets. Furthermore, in case of no any deviation reward is provided to personnel or team so as to enhance their level of motivation and put them into action.
2.5 Using database in effective sales management
Database management is another important aspect of organization as it contribute towards effective management of business activities. With the help of database management system of Ritz-Carlton detail information related to management of workforce is stored. Similarly, data related to potential visitors, consumers are also kept in order to get feedback from the same on time to time. For example, database of customer support corporation at the time of promotion of products and services by using E-mail or newsletter (Hassanien, 2006). It aids to build good relationship with customers which in turn create word of mouth for cit ed company. This is one of the effective means which stimulate repeat purchase. It depicts that database generate incremental business and serve as the imperative source of information for growth and development of Ritz-Carlton. In addition to this, database building require active participation of management and expert person from the field of IT. Here, major requirement of data is time to time updation with proper security. It leads to cater need of business in an appropriate manner.
Database control mechanisms is done with time to time revision and updation so that company can contact to its customers on right time. The database makes it possible to formulate marketing strategies and achieve organizational objectives on right time. Along with database management, Data Protection Act 1998 and security of data is followed by management of Ritz-Carlton. With compliance of specified Acts corporation ensure its ethical aspects so as to stay in touch with customers and provide them good quality of services (Ransley and Ingram, 2001). It enables corporation to store data of consumers with confidentiality and provide them important information on time to time. In addition to this, Information Communication Technology has greater importance in current era because this makes it possible for Ritz-Carlton to store huge information of consumers. Visitors and employees in safe manner.
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3.1 Developing sales plan for product and service
The sales plan is developed for service of Ritz-Carlton which is related to accommodation. The sales plan covers following points-
- Objectives- The main objective of Ritz-Carlton for this sales plan is to increase sales turnover and enhance profitability. Owing to this, management or sales department is planning to promote services in the marketplace by which customers will be attracted (Hassanien, 2006).
- Product description- The service selected for the sales plan is accommodation facilities where 40% discount will be offered with free breakfast service. The rooms has great view from its outside. All rooms covered in discount has luxury facilities like Air condition, LED and music facilities.
- Sales channels- For selling services of Ritz-Carlton online booking and direct selling is available. However, online booking will provide 40% discount whereas only 25% discount is available for direct selling( Bragg, 2005).
- Positioning strategy- The positioning strategy for current service is affordable price and luxury service. It aids to motivate consumers to access good quality of services provided by Ritz-Carlton.
- Communication-The selected communication channel for current sales plan are internet, brochure and television. It enables corporation to approach ultimate buyers in less time so as to increase sales objectives.
- Price and product availability- The offer is limited only for 20 days and it will be available only on pre-booking. It assists corporation to meet organization's expectations and increase customer base in the marketplace. It is because price is the main aspect through which services are promoted.
- Sales staff and consumer attraction- Under this sales staff are competent enough who prove to be effective in increasing sales turnover. On the other hand, consumers will be attracted with the use of electronic mode.
- Training and development- For promoting products and services via online, sales personnel will be provided training. It enables them to provide rich experience to visitors and enable them to take repeat purchase decision (Jobber D and Lancaster, 2011).
- Reward and benefits to sales team- After achieving the set objectives, sales team will be rewarded by offering both monetary and non-monetary rewards.
3.2 Investigating opportunities for selling internationally
In order to sale services at international level Ritz-Carlton can take advantage of franchise or can appoint agent on another location. Similarly, export sales team is also the effective option for selling services at international level. It is because export team will be sent to another location after provided training. It enables them to cope up with changing environment. However, cultural issues are critical which affect performance of sales team to a great extent. For example, Ritz-Carlton plan to export team in India for selling its services then it is very important that team must have knowledge of both Hindi and English (Wallace, 2004). In case, sales personnel are not able to speak English effectively then they won't be able to assess need and preferences of consumers. At this juncture, ICT with an international sales team proves to be effective. It is because with the help ICT management of Ritz-Carlton can easily communicate to team and provide guidance to them for successful implementation of sales planning. Furthermore, role of export team will be defines in clear manner and they all will have sound knowledge of English language. Team will spread information of services with the help of brochure and internet as well as television (Wood and Brotherton, 2008). It assists corporation to create awareness among large number of buyers and those who are planning to select a holiday package. Owing to this, Ritz-Carlton can contact to tour operator of India and accordingly it can promote its services at international level for increasing sales turnover.
Furthermore, agency contract is another effective way to grab the opportunity. For this purchase company has to incur cost but its services will be promoted in right manner at international level. It enables corporation attract more number of visitors or tourists towards Ritz-Carlton. Also, the effective mode of promotion aids to create word of mouth for company so that buyers can easily remember its services for longer time span.
3.3 Investigating opportunities for using exhibitions or trade fairs
Trade fair and exhibition is also important way to investigate opportunities available in the market. Here, main aim of Ritz-Carlton is to increase customer base and stay competitive in the marketplace. Owing to this, corporation will participate in exhibition by preparing profile of audience. This strategy is fit for corporation strategy and objectives due to creating goodwill of hotel at international level. For example, Ritz-Carlton take part in exhibition organizing at Germany then it will have direct impact on brand image (Hayes and Nenemeier, 2009). It is because company will be visible in front of its other competitors. This is what makes lasting impression on buyers of other countries as well as competitors. Thus trade fair also makes it possible for Ritz-Carlton to approach cost effective sources of finance as well as suppliers who provide good quality of raw material. Also at that time management may establish valuable contact with architectures and other related parties who may provide support in growth and expansion of hotel. However, management must have sound financial position for exhibition at international or local level. It is because it is just promotional strategy where efforts need to be made to perform outstanding in front of other revelries (Mungal and Labben, 2009). Furthermore, budget is set in advance for promotional activities and this is the reason that corporation can meet its expenses effectively.
In addition to this, it can be said that with an improved focus on international expansion and exhibitions the business can have better opportunities and grow faster in international market. In this support, it can be said that the sales person of hospitality organization can have proper distribution of hand out or brochures in the exhibition which will create more and more customers to the hospitality services (Gray, 2007). Moreover, with an assistance of trade fair and exhibitions the management of hospitality firm can easily promote its products and services in international market. Moreover, company can also offer its services to foreign delegates by using various communication techniques at international market. It will be considered as a one of most beneficial technique that can promote business effectively in foreign market. Trade fair and exhibition also allows management and professionals to demonstrate the hospitality services in the international market.
For example, the company has participated in hospitality exhibition in which they sales executive and other members can demonstrate the production process of its restaurant. It will attract more and more customer's towards services of hospitality firm and lead business to impressive level of success (Steiner, 2010). In addition to this, it can be said that the business firm can have free sampling of its food products in the exhibition so that better awareness can be created within market to attract more and more customer's. By participating in trade-fairs and exhibitions, managers of Ritz-Carlton can assess wide range of opportunities in new emerging markets.
As per the above study, it can be concluded that the sales planning and operational activities are most essential section for every organization as it provides various opportunities. It has been spotted that the database management is another important aspect of organization as it contribute towards effective management of business activities. In addition to this, it can be said that while dealing in international market, it is necessary for hospitality organization to consider various factors such as social, political, cultural, etc. Moreover, effective participation in trade fair and exhibition is also beneficial for business organization as it has direct positive impact on brand image. Furthermore, while dealing in international market the role of export team need to be defines in clear manner and they it is necessary to ensure that all members have sound knowledge of English language to identify needs and communicate with customer's.
Journals and books
- Bragg, S., 2005. Controller's Guide to Planning and Controlling Operations. John Wiley & Sons.
- Gray, C., 2007. Sales and Operations Planning Standard System: With Reference Software.
- Hassanien, A., 2006. Exploring business. A multiple case study.
- Hayes, K. D. and Nenemeier, D. J., 2009. Human Resources Management in the fast food industry.John
- Jayawardena, C., McMillan, D., and Pantin,, P., 2013. Trends in the international food industry.
- Jobber D. and Lancaster, G., 2011. Selling and Sales Management. Prentice Hall.
- Maier,T., A., 2012.International revenue management: Web-performance effectiveness modelling – research comparative.
- Mungall, A. and Labben, G., 2009. Offer adjustments for senior citizen guests. Perception of customers.
- 5 Stages of consumer buying decision process. 2016. [Online]. Available through: <http://managementation.com/5-stages-of-consumer-buying-decision-process/>.