Marketing Assignment: Effectiveness Of Using Technological Tools In Marketing On Sales Performance
Task: In this marketing assignment, you are required to prepare a detailed research proposal on the topic “The Effectiveness Of Using Technological Tools In Marketing On Sales Performance”.
Purpose of marketing assignment
Technological tools have been gaining popularity in various areas of marketing and evaluation of sales performance. These include various software and technologies including CRM, ERP, artificial intelligence, social media marketing, SEO and others. This has encouraged researchers to understand the efficiency of these tools in such marketing and sales departments of the organizations. The main purpose of the research proposal is to understand the topic of understanding the effectiveness of using technological tools in marketing on sales performance. Here, existing literature has been reviewed for analysing various research gaps and identifying a specific problem that will be addressed in the main dissertation.
With rapid growth in technology, various digital and internet tools have ventured into the areas of marketing and sales departments of organizations. The rising diffusion of technologies such as customer relationship management (CRM), digital marketing, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, social media and others has become popular in contemporary business world. These technologies are being used extensively for understanding how companies can better manage interactions with their customers in the digital era. This is because improved customer interactions and satisfaction often helps in enhancing the sales performance, thereby contributing towards better organizational performance. The main purpose of the research study is to understand the effectiveness of using technological tools in marketing on sales performance. For this purpose, the study will focus on two specific tools of CRM and social media. The research objectives will be understanding the importance of these technologies in modern day business; exploring the use of both CRM and social networking sites for enhancing sales and marketing performance of firms; identifying different ways of using CRM and social media to influence sales performance and analysing any challenges associated with using these technologies. By completing this research, it will provide detailed insights about how CRM and social media can be used effectively by reducing existing gaps to enhance sales performance. It will also help in identifying challenges that firms might face in using these technologies and accordingly overcome them in their operations to impact sales performance. Alongside this, the research will also be beneficial in understanding the use of CRM and social media in improving customer satisfaction and building lasting relationships that often lead to repeat sales and acquiring new customers. It is further expected that the research will help in exploring the positive relationship existing between technological tools like CRM or social media and sales performance of firms, which will contribute towards betterment of those organizations using these technologies in their marketing. In this regard, this research proposal has formulated research objectives, hypothesis statements for testing, reviewed existing literature and identified gaps on them. Moreover, it has also analysed their theoretical frameworks, data collection methods and issues present. Lastly, the proposal has also suggested various methods of data collection, sampling and analysis that will be used in the main research for conducting the study.
Technology is constantly evolving and it has a significant impact on the 21st century business environment. The activities of several departments within an organisation are getting easier due to introduction of technology within the department. There is no exception in case of sales and marketing department. The objective of this department is to identify prospects for selling the product or services. The pricing strategies are also decided within this department. It has been found that corporate leaders often emphasize on coordinate mechanism to enhance the relationship and coordination between sales and marketing team within a firm (Le Meunier-Fitzhugh and Massey, 2019). Technological tools have been an integral part of this coordinate mechanism. Moreover, 21st century business environment has also become very competitive in nature. The needs and demands of the customers are constantly changing and large number of companies are constantly entering into the market. This has become threats for firms that are already operating within the market. Thus, corporate leaders and managers are constantly focused on enhancing the competitive advantage of the firm with the help of well-defined strategies. Technologies are solely responsible for initiating innovation and strategic differentiation within a firm and this successfully leads to competitive advantage (Neuhofer, Buhalis and Ladkin, 2012). The purpose of this research proposal is to focus on the issues and challenges that are constantly faced by marketing and sales managers within the firm. The research also emphasizes on the effectiveness of technological tools and how this can help the managers of the firm to enhance the sales performance.
The 21st century business environment has become very competitive. Moreover, characteristics of organisations operating in this environment are also changing. Striving in business sectors across the world has become very difficult due to economic uncertainties in the global market. Organisational leaders are constantly focused on experimenting innovation ideas and taking risks on small-scale basis. The objective behind leveraging the knowledge, skills and ideas is to help organisations strive in the market and help them achieve competitive advantage (Urbancova, 2013). In such cases, technological tools come into actions. The main focus of the marketing team of the organisation is to identify prospects and enhance the rate of customer satisfaction. Technology enhances communication among the internal and the external stakeholders of the organisation. Social media is one of the prominent examples of advanced technology. It is said that technological developments are responsible for creating a society. In this society social media is prominently embedded (Udenze, 2019). In recent years, it has been found that members of organisations and customers often interact in this platform. This interaction helps employees understand the constant change in the demand and need of the customers.
In addition to this, another major challenge that marketing team of firms across the world face is managing salesforce diversity. MNEs are the integral part of modern-day business environment. Thus, to operate in the global market, it is the core responsibility of the marketing leaders to manage the sales force diversity. The commitment of salesforce towards diversity is important because it has an impact on the organisation’s effectiveness (Hunt, Prince, Dixon-Fyle and Yee, 2018). Ineffective management of diverse salesforce have an impact on the sales performance of the organisation. In such scenario, technological tools come into actions. In recent years, use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has come into action. The workforce gets upended by AI. AI helps marketing managers and corporate leaders to focus on coordination and control of activities within the workplace (Kolbjørnsrud, Amico and Thomas, 2016). Thus, it is clear that diverse range of workforce can be managed with the help of advanced technological tools.
In addition to this, digital marketing has become another topic of discussion within the field of marketing. When marketing managers focus on creating engaging content and post them on social media to attract large number of customers it is known as digital marketing. There are several challenges attached with this aspect. Maintaining data and security while posting content in several social media platforms is one of the important. This is possible with the help of technological tools.
Increase in competition in the global market is constantly throwing major challenges to marketing leaders. Moreover, with the increase in uncertainties in the global market, the volatility within the market is also increasing. This is one of the major reasons marketing leaders are often finding it difficult to understand the need of the customer.
Research Purpose and Objectives
Research Purpose: The purpose of the research is to find out the importance of technological tools and how it can have an impact on marketing and sales performance within the workplace.
- To understand the importance of technological tools in modern-day business,
- To explore the use of CRM and social networking sites that can be used for enhancing sales and marketing performance of firms,
- To identify different ways of using CRM to improve sales performance in firms,
- To determine ways of utilizing social networking sites for influencing sales performance,
- To analyse any challenges associated with the use of these technologies of CRM and social networking sites for impacting sales performance
Hypotheses: The effectiveness of using CRM in marketing will be analysed through the following null (H0A) and alternative (H1A) hypothesis statements.
H0A= The use of CRM generates a significant impact on sales performance.
H1A= The use of CRM has no impact on sales performance.
The effectiveness of social networking sites on sales performance will be analysed with the below null (H0B) and alternative (H1B) hypotheses.
H0B= The use of social networking sites generates a significant impact on sales performance.
H1B= The use of social networking sites has no impact on sales performance.
Justifications: It is essential to understand the growing importance of technological tools available in marketing to analyse their ultimate impact on the sales performance. For this purpose, this research has become necessary for exploring the effectiveness of such tools on sales performance. In this regard, various objectives have been formulated that can guide the review of existing literature, identifying research gaps and determining specific problem. These research objectives will further create a strong basis for carrying out the actual dissertation. Here, understanding the use of technological tools on sales performance becomes essential. Besides, the research will be focusing on the effectiveness of two specific tools, namely, customer relationship management (CRM) and social networking sites for understanding their effectiveness in sales performance. In this way, it will be helpful in exploring both positive and negative aspects on using these tools to influence sales performance.
Review of Literature
Marketing leaders and sales team are constantly focused on increasing the sales of product or services among a greater number of people. This is possible when the products or services reach among large number of customers. According to the study conducted by Castronovo and Huang, (2012), social media platforms have currently become one of the primary components that enhances communication between the internal and the external stakeholders of the organisation. Social media sites are also marked as one of the important online technological tools that makes promotional campaign cost-effective. The author also states that one of the major responsibilities of marketing leaders is to influence the purchase decision of consumers. Once, the decision of consumers is influenced then it automatically enhances the sales performance of the firm. Social media plays a major role in helping marketing leaders understand the need of the customers (Castronovo and Huang, 2012). This is how social media can help them to adopt marketing decisions that can have influence the marketing decisions of the consumer.
Furthermore, as opined by Zhou, Zhang and Zimmermann, (2013), social media sites not only help marketing leaders to formulate strategic decisions but it also helps the leaders analyse probable marketing expenditures and its impact on the revenue stream of the organisation. Thus, from the above discussion it can be said that advanced technological tools help marketing leaders in formulating marketing budget in a more prominent way. This further enhances the effectiveness of the organisation. In this regard, Agnihotri, et al. (2016) has opined that sales people often use social media for increasing customer satisfaction, which thereby improves sales performance. This is because these social networking sites can be used for providing valuable information and interacting with the customers for ensuring greater responsiveness and satisfaction. Information communication helps in building trust and improve relationships even after the sales completion, which provides the chance of repeat sales. Besides, Agnihotri, et al. (2016) has further pointed out that this level of information shared by the sales person can offer a positive source of knowledge about the brand, products and services to the customers while they make purchase decisions. These social marketing sites make such information sharing anywhere and everywhere as preferred by the customers and sales people irrespective of their geographical location and time. Thus, it often leads to greater sales performance with improved customer satisfaction.
As mentioned earlier, social networking sites help marketing leaders to formulate strategies that can further help in increasing the reach of the products or services among a greater number of customers. Once, marketing leaders successfully increase the reach of the products/services among a greater number of customers then it can have an impact on the sales performance of the firm. According to the study conducted by Soltani, et al., (2018), CRM has become one of the importance technological tool in today’s business. It helps in growing business by understanding the need of the customers. The history of customers is recorded in CRM database to understand the purchasing decisions of the customers. CRM helps in tracking the online behaviours of the customers. This can be tracked with the help of social media activities of the customers. Once, online behaviours of the customers are tracked then it helps in enhancing the sales performance of the organisation.
In addition to this, as stated by Charoensukmongkol and Sasatanun, (2017), companies nowadays face challenges frequently because of increase in market volatility. The author states that to overcome these challenges, companies nowadays tend to follow the modern CRM theory. The objective of this theory is to integrate customers for enhancing the performance of sales within the workplace. CRM utilize information technology mainly databases. The objective behind this is to make the relationship marketing, information enabled. CRM also helps in enhancing communication between the employees and customers of the organisation. Once, communication between employees and customers become advanced then it has a positive impact on the sales performance. Thus, from the above discussion it can be clear that CRM integrate customers and play an important role in enhancing the social media sales intensity.
However, as opined by Rodriguez, Peterson and Ajjan, (2015), the process of customer-orientation is necessary because it can have an impact on the sales performance of the organisation. The author states that CRM is an advanced technological tool that effectively focus on the process of customer orientation. Relationships with buyers are constantly developed with the help of CRM. Once, the relationship among the buyers and sellers is developed effectively then it automatically has a positive impact on the sales productivity. CRM also helps in leveraging the customer data effectively. This is not only important for increasing the sales productivity of the firm but it also helps in enhancing the level of customer satisfaction (Rodriguez, Peterson and Ajjan, 2015). In the current business environment, firms that are highly focused on sales are constantly engaging social media activities of organisations within CRM initiative. This is helping firms to increase the reach of the products or services among a greater number of customers and also have an impact on the sales performance.
There has been another new form of CRM technology in marketing, namely, mobile CRM or mCRM. According to Rodriguez and Boyer (2020), mCRM helps the sales professionals to use the CRM technology from a mobile application in a more effective and efficient way because of its functionality and availability. The real time location-based services also enable them to locate prospective customers in real time, thereby leading to improved data synchronization and information dissemination to internal stakeholders. Here, interactions are also recorded on real-time basis and knowledge sharing with customers help in maximizing both productivity and functionality. These help in generating a positive impact on the sales performance.
The literature review displays how different scholars have undertaken various approaches for understanding the use of technological tools like CRM and social media networking sites in marketing for analysing their impact on the sales performance. In this regard, this section has focused on understanding CRM and social media marketing, exploring key concepts and analysing past research.
Purpose of the Review
The fundamental purpose of conducting a literature review is to establish familiarity and comprehension of the current research topic in the chosen field prior to carrying out the new investigation (Snyder, 2019). In this regard, a brief literature review has been carried out by analysing past articles on the effectiveness of technological tools like CRM and social networking sites in marketing for influencing the sales performance. For this purpose, various previous works have been reviewed that helped in gaining some insight about the past researches on this topic. These studies have helped in portraying how majority of the studies have focused on showing both CRM and social networking sites enhance customer satisfaction to influence sales performance. Conducting this literature review has provided the researcher with the findings of what have already been done and identifying the unknown portions of the research topic. Thus, it has been essential for building a proper perspective on the research and further identifying any past problems or duplication that needs to be avoided.
Various scholarly articles have been reviewed in the literature review section on the technological tools used for influencing sales performance in organizations. The majority of the articles in the review have focused on using both CRM and social media tools for building relationships and communication with the customers. These studies have emphasized more the information communication with the customers, enhancing their satisfaction, building orientation and collaboration and others ultimately leading to improved sales. This indicates that here the primary focus has been on customer relationship instead of sales performance. The studies have been conducted in a way that they can influence customer satisfaction. While this is one of the ways of enhancing sales, they have not focused on using such technological tools for making a direct impact on sales performance. In addition, challenges in using such tools have not been properly explored in these studies as well.
Methods employed in Existing Literature
Guiding Theories Used
Various theories and concepts have been identified by reviewing the previous articles. In this regard, user generated content in social media has been evident in more than one study that is used in both B2C and B2B businesses for influencing customer satisfaction. Some social media marketing tools identified from the section are chat rooms, blogs, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others. Furthermore, one of the studies has focused on social commerce concepts like group-buying, product reviews, seller recommendations, fixed-price group-buying and journal style blogs as social media tools. Besides, social media has also been linked with the CRM concept in the studies. Customer knowledge management, customer orientation, social competency, social media analytics have also been presented in the studies. Moreover, the theory of mobile CRM has also come into play in one of the studies in the literature review.
The different research articles reviewed in the literature review section have considered various conceptual frameworks, models and hypotheses for conducting their study. These models or frameworks are related to the concepts of social media tools and CRM technology used in the organizations. The article of Rodriguez and Boyer (2020) has used a hypothesized framework consisting of mobile CRM, sales process capabilities, traditional CRM and collaboration for understanding their relationship with customers and performance. Furthermore, in the article of Castronovo and Huang (2012), an integrated and alternative marketing communication conceptual model has been used for exploring the use of social media for communicating and influencing customers. Zhou, Zhang and Zimmermann (2013) have provided an integrated view of social commerce research as a conceptual model for understanding the underlying components of business, technology, information and people. Besides, the article of Soltani, et al. (2018) has focused on providing a model of CRM success driven by different factors of customer orientation, technology, organizational capability and customer knowledge management leading to organization performance. Charoensukmongkol and Sasatanun (2017) have focused on using social media for CRM activities leading to improved business performance. Moreover, the article Rodriguez, Peterson and Ajjan (2015) has developed a framework for customer-oriented technology and customer orientation processes influencing sales performance. In addition, Agnihotri, et al. (2016) has developed a theoretical model of considering information communication for impacting salesperson-perceived value.
Data Collection Methods
Majority of the chosen articles for review have used the statistical method of hypothesis testing for studying the relationship between independent and dependent variables. In this regard, the CRM activities, mCRM, social media tools, technologies, customer orientation, information communication, organizational capability and other measures have mainly been considered as the independent variables. On other hand, the dependent variables have been taken as customer satisfaction, responsiveness, sales performance, business performance, success of CRM, organization performance and collaboration. However, no such statistical methods have been used in the two articles of Castronovo and Huang (2012) and Zhou, Zhang and Zimmermann (2013) of the literature review. Instead, these two articles have only focused on reviewing past researches for developing their framework and arriving at conclusions in the studies.
Major findings and gaps identified
It is evident from the above sections that the articles have majorly focused on various other variables whole studying the effectiveness of social media tools and CRM technology. For example, while some have emphasized on understanding their impact on customer satisfaction, responsiveness and orientation, others have focused on the success of CRM and collaboration, business and organizational performance. Only few articles have studied about the effectiveness of these tools and technologies on the sales performance. Besides, some articles have not even undertaken any hypothesis testing for analysing relationship between the variables under study. They have only focused on carrying out literature review of previous researches for gaining answers to their research questions. Moreover, some of the articles have no specific research questions as well based on which their entire research could have been carried out in a more systematic way. They have further failed in identifying ways of utilizing CRM and social media for influencing sales performance in the organizations instead of focusing only on customer relationships and satisfaction. This is because they have not narrowed down their research to analysing sales performance and have focused on the broader perspective of business and organization performance. In addition, these articles have not also pointed out major challenges that companies can face while using these technological tools like CRM and social media for impacting sales performance. Thus, this provides the opportunity of addressing such issues in the proposed research.
Guiding Theories and Concepts
The two main guiding concepts used in the research will be customer relationship management (CRM) and social media marketing. Here, various other theories of CRM such as customer knowledge management, customer relationships, customer satisfaction, customer orientation and others will be further utilized in the research. Along with this, different use of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and others will also be explored in the research for achieving the objectives.
Hypothesis testing will be used in the research for testing the four hypotheses presented in the above section. In this regard, sample data needs to be used from a larger population for testing those statements (Poletiek, 2013). The sales performance will consist of numerical data and the relationship between this variable and the technological tools will be studied. Thus, this statistical method will be helpful for analysing the relationship between them. It will help in understanding the effectiveness of those technological tools in marketing for influencing sales performance.
Independent and Dependent Variables
In the research, the causal relationship between CRM and social media tools and the sales performance will be analysed. In this regard, there will be both dependent and independent variables. The dependent variables are considered the effect in the relationship whose values change with the change in the independent variables that are the cause (Pokhariyal, 2019). The values of independent variables are not dependent or variable upon others in the study. Thus, the dependent variable in this research is sales performance while the independent variables are CRM and social media tools.
A sample of 10 respondents will be undertaken for conducting the research. The research will consist of both qualitative and quantitative data. This is because qualitative data will be gathered on the different technologies like CRM and social media tools while quantitative data will consist of the sales data. Besides, convenience sampling will be used for selecting the sample based on the availability, convenience and geographic location of the respondents (Ghauri, Grønhaug and Strange, 2020). In addition, face-to-face interview will be conducted with the samples for gathering the required data.
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