|Richmond Nkansah Mensah, marketing manager for Ernest Chemists Ghana Limited, sits at his desk and rearranges some papers in his spacious office as we enter to commence the interview. Stacks of books and documents cover his workspace, but the clutter is tidy and the work looks current. Both the television and the radio are switched on, and the computer looks like it was just in use. Despite the organised chaos of his desk, Nkansah describes his work ethic as highly structured, well thought-out and above all, adaptive. After completing his graduate degree in BSc Administration (Marketing) in the year 2000 at the University of Ghana, Nkansah Mensah eventually landed his first job at Top Industries. There, he worked as the Marketing Manager for Polyplene Products, a position he kept until 2004 when he joined an oil marketing company, Sonni Dom Energy, as the Sales, Marketing and Operations Manager. He calls his past job a ‘huge responsibility’, but it was short-lived. After working for Sonnidom for a1 year, ‘things didn’t work out’, he says.
Without an employer, Nkansah Mensah gave entrepreneurship a shot,which did not work as he had envisioned. Whatever obstacles stopped him from triumphing on his own did not hinder his eventual success. Luckily, October of 2005 brought change, and he became the Head of Sales and Marketing at Ernest Chemists pharmaceutical company. Now 38 years old with a wife and two children, Nkansah Mensah has lots of responsibility, but he dreams of one day becoming a CEO of an Oil or Pharmaceutical company.
”In addition to looking at the internal marketing efforts of the organisation, I’m also looking at international business. We are trying to get ourselves into other countries. So now a lot of my work is also outside,” he says. Currently his sights are set on expansion within West Africa. Ernest Chemists have already started operations in Sierra Leone, and plans are already underway to start expansion into Nigeria and Togo.
Motivating his Team
Nkansah Mensah operates an open-door policy that gives employees in his department the ease to come to him and discuss problems as well as the opportunity to air their views on company issues. Activities such as sales seminars and company retreats (yearly) are organised to get employees passionate about their roles and motivated to go the extra mile.
He also believes in using “qualitative boosts” and gives deserving staff the opportunity to further upgrade their skills and further their education in relevant areas. He also gives periodic bonuses, commissions and salary increments.
Nkansah Mensah finds inspiration in his family, but he never finds it difficult to roll out of bed and come to work in the morning. “I love what I do,” he says.
However, if he is troubled, he says he turns to God, who inspires everyone. “I am a Christian,” he explains, “So I make sure I spend a little time with my bible almost every time, to get some words of wisdom to encourage me.”
Nkansah Mensah organises his work into measureable attempts, and checks his sales team’s progress on a daily basis. His phone and diary function as organisational tools.
The sales representatives that help market and sell pharmaceuticals to medical facilities are paid salaries as well as commissions. “The commission or bonus as we sometimes call it, is your ability to do extraordinary sales,” he says. Accomplishment can be defined through duty and performance, according to the marketing manager. “I feel that if I have a task to perform and I am able to do that for my organisation and for myself, and I am able to take care of my family, for me that’s what success is about.”
Nkansah Mensah ensures that all his brands are performing by employing brand managers who have the direct responsibility of marketing groups of drugs and adhering to weekly and monthly targets. This method, he says, ensures that individual brands are all given enough attention and sell on the market. He also agrees that there are some challenges in marketing multiple brands but explains that “it is due to a lack of focus since the portfolio is wide.”