This is a fairly broad term for a wide range of sub functions. Every organisation relies on the marketing and selling of its products to increase its profitability and market share. Hence this activity of sales and marketing takes on significant importance in any organisation.
The various functions under this department include: Product management and marketing, Sales, International marketing, Digital marketing.a) Product Management or Brand Management:
This is a critical component of the marketing department. The entire portfolio of the company is divided into various categories (depending upon the nature of business) and each one of them is handled by Product / Brand Managers. In essence, therefore, the Product Manager is responsible for anything and everything regarding the product. This can be enlisted as :
- Research on the plausible brand names when a molecule is conceived to be launched by the company to every aspect in the product’s making and finally the launch at the marketplace,
- Continuous communication with the R & D or the Production team as well as the costing and packaging team and the medical team
- Ensure that the product to be launched is RIGHT in every aspect; not just in efficacy but in look, feel and price at the marketplace.
- Plan every minute detail of the promotion and launch of the product once it is ready
- Formulate and strategize for every activity at the market place post the launch of the brand into its entire life cycle.
A successful Brand Manager, therefore, is a good communicator, has the ability to take the initiative and lead a team, is creative, has planning and scheduling skills, is capable of working in conjunction with varied departments and can perform under extreme pressure.b) Sales Function:
Working in coordination with the marketing department is the Sales function of any organisation. The sales team is the one who brings in revenue for the organisation and is responsible for the image of the brand as well as the company at the marketplace. The team comprises the personnel at the ground level beginning with the sales / medical representatives to the Managers at different levels - all of whom ultimately is the responsibility of the Country Sales Manager. Generally, one grows through the ranks of this team to reach the pinnacle of the sales function.
The sales team :
- Coordinates with the marketing and accounting team at the corporate office as well as the various partners of the distribution network at the marketplace.
- Serve as the ambassador of the product or the company to the customer.
- Understands the pulse of the market and is the primary source for information on competitive market practices.
Hence, to excel in this function one needs to be agile, alert, vigilant in addition to having good communication, persuasion and convincing abilities. One should also be proficient in documentation, logistic management and in numbers so as to track the sales of every SKU of the product portfolio.c) International Marketing:
The sales and marketing function described above is mainly for any local or domestic market. Broadly, when the same role is performed at the global level it would be referred to as international marketing. When a company markets the products internationally, the personnel involved in the team are generally responsible for the sales and marketing functions. The person should be completely conversant with the geographical territory in which he/she will be operating, should be knowledgeable of the preferences of the customers in that region as well as should be aware of the distribution and regulatory policies of the region.
While this function demands all qualities necessary for the sales and marketing role described above, it is important that he/she also has the ability to spot the business opportunities ahead of competition and is able to create the need for his / her product range.d) Digital Marketing:
This role is a sub function of the broad marketing function of a company. Changing times call for new adaptations and digital marketing in healthcare is a perfect example of the same. While it is difficult for traditional marketing of healthcare products to be completely replaced in the Indian market, digital marketing is now seen to ably complement the traditional marketing by representatives. This mode of marketing is mainly done to have direct contact with the customer (who is very knowledgeable) and address the specific needs or requirements.
In order to perform this role well, one needs to be additionally tech savvy and should be able to integrate the marketing tools used for promotion in an effective way, both in terms of content quality and costs.