Direct sales strategy and competitive advantage among commercial banks in Kenya
The purpose of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of the contribution of direct sales strategy towards attainment of competitive advantage among the various commercial banks in Kenya. The objectives of this study were to establish the direct sales strategy approaches adopted by the commercial banks in Kenya and to determine the impact of the direct sales strategy on the bank’s competitive advantage. A survey was carried out targeting all the 42 commercial banks in Kenya. Primary data was collected using semi-structured questionnaires targeting preferably the sales or marketing managers or their equivalent-the researcher felt that these people are well placed to offer valuable information pertaining to the direct sales strategy implementation. The data collected was analyzed using mean scores, standard deviation, frequency distributions and percentages. The findings from the study were presented in tables. The findings from the study were reassuring in some respects and surprising in others. For instance, it was surprising to note that very few banks have more than 20 branches throughout the country. The study also revealed that though majority of the banks are predominantly local, the number of foreign owned banks is also high and therefore intense competition exists between the locally-owned and foreign-owned banks. It was reassuring to note that majority of the banks have embraced the direct sales strategy as a competitive tool. The study also revealed that direct selling stands out among all the other strategies used by banks to gain competitive advantage. The study recommends that every bank should endeavor to have atleast 20 branches spread throughout the country in the next 5 years to enhance customer reach and market presence. The study further recommends an increase in the size of the direct sales force among the various commercial banks to enhance customer awareness and market penetration. In addition, the banks should conduct regular sales campaigns to excite the market and provide a softer landing to the direct sales people.