Sales Excellence Institute

Research Publications

Ahearne, Michael, C. B. Bhattacharya, and Thomas Gruen (2005), “Antecedents and Consequences of Customer-Company Identification: Expanding the Role of Relationship Marketing,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 90 (3), 574-85.

This article presents an empirical test of organizational identification in the context of customer-company (C-C) relationships. It investigates whether customers identify with companies and what the antecedents and consequences of such identification are. The model posits that perceived company characteristics, construed external image, and the perception of the company's boundary-spanning agent lead to C-C identification. In turn, such identification is expected to impact both in-role behavior (i.e., product utilization) as well as extra-role behavior (i.e., citizenship). The model was tested in a consultative selling context of pharmaceutical sales reps calling on physicians. Results from the empirical test indicated that customers do indeed identify with organizations and that C-C identification positively impacts both product utilization behavior and extra-role behavior even when the effect of brand perception is accounted for. Second, the study found that the organization's characteristics as well as the salesperson's characteristics contributed to the development of C-C identification.

Research Priority Areas:

BUYER/SELLER RELATIONSHIPS - CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND RETENTION
SALES MANAGEMENT, ANALYSIS, PLANNING, STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION, AND QUOTAS

Ahearne, Michael, Douglas E. Hughes, and Niels Schillewaert (2007), “Why Sales Reps Should Welcome Information Technology: Measuring the Impact of CRM-Based IT on Sales Effectiveness,” International Journal of Research in Marketing, 24 (4), 336-49.

This study seeks to answer the following question: Can sales representatives enhance their performance through their acceptance of information technology (IT) tools? Using data collected from two companies, we show that despite uncertain results and the frequent resistance among salespeople to IT interventions, IT acceptance indeed has a positive effect on sales performance. This occurs because salespeople using IT expand their knowledge and, in turn, gain improved targeting abilities, enhanced presentation skills, and increased call productivity. Thus, sales representatives have a strong incentive to accept IT because doing so is likely to sharpen their own job performance.

Research Priority Areas:

OPTIMAL CRM/SFA DEPLOYMENT AND PERFORMANCE
SALES MANAGEMENT, ANALYSIS, PLANNING, STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION, AND QUOTAS
SALES TRAINING EFFECTIVENESS

Ahearne, Michael, Ronald Jelinek, and Eli Jones (2007), “Examining the Effect of Salesperson Service Behavior in a Competitive Context,” Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 35 (4), 603-16.

While few scholars debate the importance of doing things to improve the quality of the buyer-seller relationship, little is known about what salespeople can do after the point of the initial sale to enhance customer satisfaction and trust. On the basis of extensive exploratory interviews across professional selling domains, this research develops a set of behaviors, referred to here as "salesperson service behaviors." Using data gathered from 358 customers, the authors empirically demonstrate the effect of these behaviors on customer satisfaction and trust and, ultimately, on an objective measure of customer share of market. The authors develop a competitive model that uniquely features customer evaluations of competing sales representatives. The results indicate that these salesperson service behaviors are important in building trust and customer satisfaction, which in turn lead to increases in customer share of market.

Research Priority Areas:

BUYER/SELLER RELATIONSHIPS - CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND RETENTION
NATIONAL/KEY/GLOBAL ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT

Ahearne, Michael, Ronald Jelinek, and Adam Rapp (2005), “Moving Beyond the Direct Effect of SFA Adoption on Salesperson Performance: Training and Support as Key Moderating Factors,” Industrial Marketing Management, 34 (4), 379-88.

To our knowledge, this research is the first to focus on the critical moderating role that user training and support play on the relationship between the use of sales force automation tools and salesperson performance (i.e., effectiveness: percent-to-quota and efficiency: average number of calls per day). Hypotheses are tested using survey data from a sample of 108 salespeople in a business-to-business context and archival sales performance information. Moderated regression analysis results indicate that the use of sales force automation tools only enhances salesperson efficiency and effectiveness under conditions of adequate user support and training. In fact, under low levels of user training and support, the use of sales force automation tools was round to reduce salesperson efficiency and effectiveness. These findings have important implications for IT and sales managers since the results show that only under certain conditions will companies realize a return on their investment in SFA tools. Limitations and future directions for research are then discussed.

Research Priority Areas:

OPTIMAL CRM/SFA DEPLOYMENT AND PERFORMANCE
SALES TRAINING EFFECTIVENESS
SALES MANAGEMENT, ANALYSIS, PLANNING, STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION, AND QUOTAS

Ahearne, Michael, Eli Jones, Adam Rapp, and John Mathieu (2008), “High Touch Through High Tech: The Impact of Salesperson Technology Usage on Sales Performance via Mediating Mechanisms,” Management Science, 54 (4), 671-85.

Sales technology has been touted as a primary tool for enhancing customer relationship management. However, empirical research is sparse concerning the use of information technology (IT) and its effects on the relationship between salespersons and customers. Using an interdisciplinary research approach, we extend task-technology-fit (TTF) theory by examining the mechanisms through which use of IT by the sales force influences salesperson performance. We test a model that incorporates salespersons' customer service, attention to personal details, adaptability, and knowledge-key marketing constructs that could mediate IT's impact on salesperson performance. Results in a pharmaceutical sales setting indicate that IT use can improve customer service and salespersons' adaptability, leading to improved sales performance.

Research Priority Areas:

OPTIMAL CRM/SFA DEPLOYMENT AND PERFORMANCE
BUYER/SELLER RELATIONSHIPS - CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND RETENTION

Ahearne, Michael, John Mathieu, and Adam Rapp (2005), “To Empower or Not to Empower Your Sales Force? An Empirical Examination of the Influence of Leadership Empowerment Behavior on Customer Satisfaction and Performance,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 90 (5), 945-55.

This research focuses on the impact of leadership empowerment behavior (LEB) on customer service satisfaction and sales performance, as mediated by salespeople's self-efficacy and adaptability. Moreover, the authors propose an interactive relationship whereby LEB will be differentially effective as a function of employees' empowerment readiness. The authors' hypotheses are tested using survey data from a sample of 231 salespeople in the pharmaceutical field, along with external ratings of satisfaction from 864 customers and archival sales performance information. Results indicated that contrary to popular belief, employees with low levels of product/industry knowledge and low experience benefit the most from leadership behaviors that are empowering, whereas high-knowledge and experienced employees reap no clear benefit. The authors conclude with directions for future research and application.

Research Priority Areas:

SALES TRAINING EFFECTIVENESS
BUYER/SELLER RELATIONSHIPS - CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND RETENTION
SALES MANAGEMENT, ANALYSIS, PLANNING, STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION, AND QUOTAS

Ahearne, Michael, Narasimhan Srinivasan, and Luke Weinstein (2004), “Effect of Technology on Sales Performance: Progressing from Technology Acceptance to Technology Usage and Consequence,” Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 24 (4), 297-310.

Technology plays an ever-increasing role in personal selling and customer relationship management (CRM). Over the past decade, many models examining the acceptance of technology have been proposed and refined, contributing significantly to our knowledge of technology adoption. An implicit assumption made in such models is that increasing the usage of technology is better--that is, more usage is better than less usage. This is a critical assumption that has not been tested in the literature. What if technology has diminishing returns? We propose that it is time to progress to a Technology Performance Usage Model (TPUM) and to look for usage levels that lead to optimum effect on performance. Our model is tested using a sample of 131 salespeople in an operational CRM context. Results show a curvilinear relationship between a salesperson's prime task performance (measured as sales percent to quota) and their usage of the "enabling" CRM technology. Initially, the CRM technology is enabling on sales performance, but diminishing return sets in, and beyond a point, a disabling effect on sales performance can be observed. This finding offers a valuable insight to practitioners and provides a strategic direction--achieving and maintaining a particular level of technology usage to optimize prime task performance.

Research Priority Areas:

OPTIMAL CRM/SFA DEPLOYMENT AND PERFORMANCE
SALES TRAINING EFFECTIVENESS
SALES MANAGEMENT, ANALYSIS, PLANNING, STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION, AND QUOTAS

Brown, Steven P. and Wynne W. Chin (2004), “Satisfying and Retaining Customers through Independent Service Representatives,” Decision Sciences, 35 (3), 527-50.

The degree of leverage possessed by manufacturers who outsource their customer service function to channel partners over customer satisfaction and loyalty is assessed empirically. Data provided by independent service representatives are linked with data from their customers. Results indicate that a manufacturer's support of its representatives increases their job satisfaction which, in turn, is indirectly linked to the customer satisfaction through shared perceptions of service performance and quality. However, the strength of the effects is modest, suggesting that manufacturers may need to consider direct customer contact strategies or contractual means of assuring customer satisfaction when independent service representatives “own the customer.” Conceptually, the hypothesized shared mindset model is tested against the competing affect transfer model, resulting in support for the former. Job satisfaction moderates the degree of agreement between representatives' and customers' perceptions of service performance and quality such that greater agreement occurs when job satisfaction is high.

Research Priority Areas:

BUYER/SELLER RELATIONSHIPS - CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND RETENTION
SALES MANAGEMENT, ANALYSIS, PLANNING, STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION, AND QUOTAS

Brown, Steven P., Kenneth R. Evans, Murali K. Mantrala, and Goutam Challagalla (2005), “Adapting Motivation, Control, and Compensation Research to a New Environment,” Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 25 (2), 156-67.

The authors discuss the need to adapt research in three substantively related but paradigmatically diverse research domains (salesperson motivation, control systems, and compensation) in light of the evolving selling environment. A key objective is to suggest the desirability of integrating these literatures, which, ultimately, all seek to inform management regarding how salespeople and sales organizations can be encouraged to become more productive. The authors maintain that specification of the right goals and metrics constitutes a fundamental common denominator across the three literatures.

Research Priority Areas:

SALES COMPENSATION, INCENTIVES, AND SALES CONTESTS
SALES MANAGEMENT, ANALYSIS, PLANNING, STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION, AND QUOTAS
RESEARCH METHODS, MEASUREMENT ISSUES, AND RESEARCH AGENDAS/COMMENTARIES

Brown, Steven P. and Eli Jones (2005), “Introduction to the Special Issue: Advancing the Field of Selling and Sales Management,” Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 25 (2), 103-04.

The article presents an introduction to the Spring 2005 issue of the Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management. This twenty-fifth anniversary special issue of the Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management is devoted to providing new ideas that will help chart future research directions for the field in light of its changing environment. This special issue emanates from a meeting held at the University of Houston in May 2004, in which 28 academicians from the U.S. and Europe gathered to discuss directions for selling and sales management research in response to fundamental changes in the business environment. The papers contained in this special issue are the ultimate products of these discussions, which, of course, continued long past the Sales Management Research Summit. In his address, Paul Sarvadi, CEO of Administaff, which was titled A CEO's Perspective on the Future of Sales, Sarvadi stressed the importance of the six topics, observing that increasing customer expectations means that a faster response is needed from selling companies, and sellers must provide increasing value over time.

Research Priority Areas:

BUYER/SELLER RELATIONSHIPS - CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND RETENTION
RESEARCH METHODS, MEASUREMENT ISSUES, AND RESEARCH AGENDAS/COMMENTARIES

Brown, Steven P., Eli Jones, and Thomas W. Leigh (2005), “The Attenuating Effect of Role Overload on Relationships Linking Self-Efficacy and Goal Level to Work Performance,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 90 (5), 972-79.

The reported research examines the moderating effects of role overload on the antecedents and consequences of self-efficacy and personal goal level in a longitudinal study conducted in an industrial selling context. The results indicate that role overload moderates the antecedent effect of perceived organizational resources on self-efficacy beliefs. They also show that role overload moderates the direct effects of both self-efficacy and goal level on performance, such that these relationships are positive when role overload is low but not significant when role overload is high. Further, the results reveal a pattern of moderated mediation, in which goal level mediates the indirect effect of self-efficacy on performance when role overload is low but not when it is high. Implications for theory and managerial practice are discussed.

Research Priority Areas:

SALES FORCE TURNOVER AND RETENTION ISSUES
SALES MANAGEMENT, ANALYSIS, PLANNING, STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION, AND QUOTAS

Brown, Steven P. and Son K. Lam (2008), “A Meta-Analysis of Relationships Linking Employee Satisfaction to Customer Responses,” Journal of Retailing, 84 (3), 243-55.

The authors report a meta-analysis of relationships linking employee job satisfaction to customer satisfaction and perceived service quality in studies that correlate employee data with customer data. Overall, both relationships are positive and statistically and substantively significant. Moderator analyses show that service industry characteristics (relationship versus encounter, personal versus non-personal) and methodological characteristics (aggregated versus individual level of analysis, concurrent versus predictive survey) moderate these relationships. Estimation of a path analytic model using the aggregated data shows that customer-perceived service quality completely mediates the relationship between employee job satisfaction and customer satisfaction. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

Research Priority Areas:

BUYER/SELLER RELATIONSHIPS - CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND RETENTION
RESEARCH METHODS, MEASUREMENT ISSUES, AND RESEARCH AGENDAS/COMMENTARIES

Brown, Steven P., Robert A. Westbrook, and Goutam Challagalla (2005), “Good Cope, Bad Cope: Adaptive and Maladaptive Coping Strategies Following a Critical Negative Work Event,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 90 (4), 792-98.

The authors examined the moderating effects of coping tactics on the relationship between negative emotion and work performance. Findings indicate an adverse effect of emotion on performance; however, this effect is moderated by coping tactics. Venting (expressing one's negative feelings to others) amplified the adverse effects of negative emotion. Self-control had mixed effects: On one hand, it buffered the adverse effects of negative emotion, yet on the other hand, it had a negative direct effect on outcomes. Task focus had a positive direct effect on performance but no buffering (moderating) effect. Implications of these findings for understanding the effects of negative emotion and coping in the workplace are discussed.

Research Priority Areas:

SALES FORCE TURNOVER AND RETENTION ISSUES
SALES MANAGEMENT, ANALYSIS, PLANNING, STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION, AND QUOTAS

Chin, Wynne W., Robert A. Peterson, and Steven P. Brown (2008), “Structural Equation Modeling in Marketing: Some Practical Reminders,” Journal of Marketing Theory & Practice, 16 (4), 287-98.

The authors review issues related to the application of structural equation modeling (SEM) in marketing. The discussion begins by considering issues related to the process of applying SEM in empirical research, including model specification, identification, estimation, evaluation, and respecification, and reporting of results. In addition to these process issues, a number of other issues, such as formulation of multiple theoretical models, model error versus sampling error, and relating study objectives to the capabilities of SEM, are considered, and suggestions offered regarding ways that SEM applications might be improved.

Research Priority Areas:

RESEARCH METHODS, MEASUREMENT ISSUES, AND RESEARCH AGENDAS/COMMENTARIES

Chonko, Lawrence B., Alan J. Dubinsky, Eli Jones, and James A. Roberts (2003), “Organizational and Individual Learning in the Sales Force: An Agenda for Sales Research,” Journal of Business Research, 56 (12), 935.

In today's marketplace change is a given and learning is a critical component to the success of change initiatives. In recent years, marketing scholars have proposed that learning is a key to creating a sustainable competitive advantage and enhancing business performance. This article addresses the issue of learning and attempts to establish learning as a legitimate variable for study as it relates to sales force management. To that end, the authors have endeavored to provide, through the positing of propositions, a research agenda for the examination of learning in a sales force context. The authors provide a review of the pertinent literature on individual and organizational learning. Included in the presentation is a discussion of change success measures that go beyond the traditional measure of sales force success—sales volume. In the article, propositions relating various organizational and individual variables to organizational and individual salesperson learning are presented.

Research Priority Areas:

SALES TRAINING EFFECTIVENESS
RESEARCH METHODS, MEASUREMENT ISSUES, AND RESEARCH AGENDAS/COMMENTARIES
INTERFACE BETWEEN SALES AND OTHER FUNCTIONS

Chonko, Lawrence B. and Eli Jones (2005), “The Need for Speed: Agility Selling,” Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 25 (4), 371-82.

In turbulent business times, organizations have sought to become more agile. Organizational agility has been asserted to require workforce agility, but thus far, little focus has been given to workers. Traditionally, salespeople have sought ways to differentiate themselves and create advantage for customers. This paper asserts that, in order to continue this tradition of differentiation and advantage, salespeople must engage in agility thinking. Agility has been studied as it applies to manufacturing processes and other firm activities. Agile salespeople have a mental dexterity at the point of customer contact. They are quick to observe opportunities and are able to anticipate customers' ever-changing needs, wants, and preferences. This paper presents a framework for agility selling, applying concepts from the agility manufacturing literature and proffering distinct characteristics of sales force agility.

Research Priority Areas:

BUYER/SELLER RELATIONSHIPS - CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND RETENTION
SALES MANAGEMENT, ANALYSIS, PLANNING, STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION, AND QUOTAS

Chonko, Lawrence B., Eli Jones, James A. Roberts, and Alan J. Dubinsky (2002), “The Role of Environmental Turbulence, Readiness for Change, and Salesperson Learning in the Success of Sales Force Change,” Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 22 (4), 227-45.

Today's sales forces are under pressure to change or risk becoming extinct. Changes in the business marketplace have accelerated the need for salespeople to learn continuously. The purpose of this paper is to examine readiness for change in a sales force context. Change is presumed to be initiated in response to some galvanizing event in the business environment. Business turbulence requires recognition of the need for change by members of the sales organization. We discuss the sales force's perceptions of a sales organization's readiness for change and propose that these perceptions impact the organization's change success. Furthermore, an organization's culture, climate, and policies are proposed as key drivers of an organization's readiness for change. Sales force perceptions of organizational readiness for change are then posited to be related to several measures of change success. The paper concludes with a call for more research on salesperson's learning orientation and sales organizational readiness for change as keys to sales performance.

Research Priority Areas:

INTERFACE BETWEEN SALES AND OTHER FUNCTIONS
SALES TRAINING EFFECTIVENESS

Chonko, Lawrence B., James A. Roberts, and Eli Jones (2006), “Diagnosing Sales Force Change Resistance: What Can We Learn from the Addiction Literature,” Marketing Management Journal, 16 (1), 44-71.

Current change issues represent a symptom of a larger problem -- the inevitability of change and salesperson efforts to resist change. As change will continue to occur, change agents will continue to cope with resistance to change. Resistance can be about today's change, but also about change in general. The premise of this paper is that sales organizations can learn much about managing change processes from researchers and practitioners that have dealt with change resistance and addictive behaviors. In this paper, we present a model for overcoming change resistance in a sales organization. This model includes four key elements: 1) creating a program to manage change resistance, 2) preparing change agents for change resistance, 3) helping sales managers to understand the nature of sales force resistance and addictive behaviors, and 4) providing proactive sales force assistance.

Research Priority Areas:

SALES MANAGEMENT, ANALYSIS, PLANNING, STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION, AND QUOTAS
SALES TRAINING EFFECTIVENESS

Fu, Frank Q. (2009), “Effects of Salesperson Experience, Age, and Goal Setting on New Product Performance Trajectory: A Growth Curve Modeling Approach,” Journal of Marketing Theory & Practice, 17 (1), 7-20.

Based on survey data from 314 industrial salespeople, this study sheds light on the growth trajectory of a new product in the first 15 months after its launch, a critical period of new product success. A growth curve model was estimated using SAS Proc Mixed and the findings indicate that new product performance grows nonlinearly during this 15-month time frame. More importantly, salesperson-level factors significantly influence the new product performance growth. Specifically, the salesperson experience has a positive impact, whereas age has a negative impact on new product growth trajectory. These findings underscore the importance of effective alignment of the sales force in selling new products.

Research Priority Areas:

MAXIMIZING SALES OF NEW PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
INTERFACE BETWEEN SALES AND OTHER FUNCTIONS

Fu, Frank Q., Eli Jones, and Willy Bolander (2008), “Product Innovativeness, Customer Newness, and New Product Performance: A Time-Lagged Examination of the Impact of Salesperson Selling Intentions on New Product Performance,” Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 28 (4), 351-64.

In this time-lagged study, we illuminate the role of the sales force in new product introductions by examining the impact of salespeople's selling intentions on new product performance. Survey responses from 439 salespeople selling one product and 362 salespeople selling a second product suggest that salespeople's selling intention is a key mediating variable. In particular, product innovativeness has a positive impact and customer newness has a negative impact on new product performance. However, both variables work indirectly through salespeople's intention to sell new products. We conclude with managerial implications of our findings and directions for future research.

Research Priority Areas:

MAXIMIZING SALES OF NEW PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
INTERFACE BETWEEN SALES AND OTHER FUNCTIONS

Fu, Frank Q., Willy Bolander, and Eli Jones (2009), “Managing the Drivers of Organizational Commitment and Salesperson Effort: An Application of Meyer and Allen’s Three-Component Model,” Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, forthcoming.

This study extends the literature by utilizing a three-component organizational commitment measure to identify ways for managers to drive salesperson effort. Using Social Exchange Theory and survey data from industrial salespeople, an analysis reveals that perceived organizational support (POS) has a strong positive impact on affective commitment, no significant impact on normative commitment, and a negative impact on continuance commitment. Further, the findings show that only one component of organizational commitment—affective commitment—has a positive direct impact on sales effort, whereas normative and continuance commitment do not. However, normative commitment plays a supporting role as it positively moderates the relationship between affective commitment and effort. In addition, the study indicates that job satisfaction has positive effects on both affective and normative commitment, but no significant impact on continuance commitment.

Research Priority Areas:

SALES FORCE TURNOVER AND RETENTION ISSUES
SALES MANAGEMENT, ANALYSIS, PLANNING, STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION, AND QUOTAS
RESEARCH METHODS, MEASUREMENT ISSUES, AND RESEARCH AGENDAS/COMMENTARIES

Jelinek, Ronald and Michael Ahearne (2006), “The ABC's of ACB: Unveiling a clear and present danger in the sales force,” Industrial Marketing Management, 35 (4), 457-67.

While anti-citizenship behavior (ACB) is under-researched across all academic domains, sales and marketing researchers have not done any work in the area. This oversight is significant given recent survey data that suggests sales representatives are misbehaving at an alarming rate; 60% of sales managers have caught their reps cheating on expense reports (an example of ACB) and 36% believe such behavior has gotten worse over the past several years. Directed towards the goal of understanding salesperson ACB, this research provides the first conceptual model of ACB in the sales force. The model contends that characteristics of the organization (justice and intra-firm competition) and contextual factors (fit and job stress) directly affect the performance of ACB while individual level factors (locus of control, self-monitoring and introversion) moderate the performance of these behaviors. In addition, this research explains the intra- and inter-organizational consequences of salesperson ACB and suggests several ways by which managers can address this issue.

Research Priority Areas:

MEASURING AND MONITORING TEAM SELLING EFFECTIVENESS
SALES MANAGEMENT, ANALYSIS, PLANNING, STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION, AND QUOTAS

Jelinek, Ronald and Michael Ahearne (2006), “The Enemy Within: Examining Salesperson Deviance and Its Determinants,” Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 26 (4), 327-44.

Until now, sales researchers have not done any empirical work in the area of deviant workplace behavior. This is surprising, given that recent survey data suggest deviant salesperson behavior is running rampant out in the field: 60 percent of sales managers have caught their reps cheating on expense reports, 47 percent suspect their reps have lied on sales calls, and 36 percent believe salesperson behavior has gotten worse in recent years. In an effort to understand workplace deviance in a professional selling context, this paper empirically examines the effect of various organizational/management factors on three types of deviance--organizational, interpersonal, and frontline. Using survey data collected from 160 business-to-business salespeople from multiple companies and multiple industries, we demonstrate that bureaucracy, future orientation, two forms of organizational justice, management role modeling, and intrafirm competition impact the various forms of salesperson deviance as well as citizenship and salesperson service behavior. The research concludes with a consideration of managerial implications and areas for future research.

Research Priority Areas:

MEASURING AND MONITORING TEAM SELLING EFFECTIVENESS
SALES MANAGEMENT, ANALYSIS, PLANNING, STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION, AND QUOTAS

Jelinek, Ronald, Michael Ahearne, John Mathieu, and Niels Schillewaert (2006), “A Longitudinal Examination of Individual, Organizational, and Contextual Factors on Sales Technology Adoption and Performance,” Journal of Marketing Theory & Practice, 14 (1), 7-23.

This longitudinal research examines the impact of individual differences, organizational factors, and contextual influences on intention to adopt and adoption of sales force automation (SFA) technology, and the corresponding effect of adoption on sales performance. Data were collected prior to the introduction of SFA and six months later from 156 salespeople at a major manufacturing firm. In addition to demonstrating that training, customer pressure, and peer use play important roles in SFA adoption, this research is the first to indicate that one's goal orientation also affects adoption behaviors. Beyond examining factors that drive technology adoption, the longitudinal methodology employed in this study provides unique evidence that the adoption of sales technology tools enhances job performance.

Research Priority Areas:

OPTIMAL CRM/SFA DEPLOYMENT AND PERFORMANCE
SALES TRAINING EFFECTIVENESS

Jones, Eli, Steven P. Brown, Andris A. Zoltners, and Barton A. Weitz (2005), “The Changing Environment of Selling and Sales Management,” Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 25 (2), 105-11.

New developments and trends in selling and sales management are creating demands and opportunities that require adaptation and new approaches on the part of both sales organizations and academic researchers. This paper summarizes critical dimensions of change in the environment that affect the practice of selling and sales management and introduces the papers that follow in this Anniversary Special Issue of JPSSM.

Research Priority Areas:

SALES MANAGEMENT, ANALYSIS, PLANNING, STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION, AND QUOTAS
RESEARCH METHODS, MEASUREMENT ISSUES, AND RESEARCH AGENDAS/COMMENTARIES

Jones, Eli, Paul Busch, and Peter Dacin (2003), “Firm Market Orientation and Salesperson Customer Orientation: Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Influences on Customer Service and Retention in Business-to-Business Buyer-Seller Relationships,” Journal of Business Research, 56 (4), 323.

The authors examine the influence of a firm's market orientation and salesperson customer orientation on buyer—seller relationships. Data from a national manufacturer's sales force and retail trade customers were used to test the influence of sales managers' perceptions on salesperson attitudes toward a firm's market orientation and its salesperson customer orientation. The impact of salesperson attitudes on customers' perceptions of service delivery and their propensity to switch suppliers was also examined. The results suggest that a firm's market orientation positively influences salesperson work attitudes. Sales managers influence salesperson customer orientation through their organizational commitment, and salesperson customer orientation influences industrial customers' switching intentions.

Research Priority Areas:

SALES MANAGEMENT, ANALYSIS, PLANNING, STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION, AND QUOTAS
BUYER/SELLER RELATIONSHIPS - CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND RETENTION
INTERFACE BETWEEN SALES AND OTHER FUNCTIONS

Jones, Eli, Lawrence Chonko, Deva Rangarajan, and James Roberts (2007), “The Role of Overload on Job Attitudes, Turnover Intentions, and Salesperson Performance,” Journal of Business Research, 60 (7), 663-71.

Considerable anecdotal evidence has been amassed in recent years regarding the pervasiveness of role overload - the degree to which persons are overtaxed cognitively as a result of being under time pressure and having too many commitments and responsibilities. Salespeople would be expected to exhibit some degree of role overload, because of the oftentimes high-pressure nature of their jobs. However, it is noteworthy that role overload has displayed inconsistent relationships with many job attitudes, turnover intentions, and performance measures in studies of salespeople. Work experience could explain the inconsistent findings, because experienced salespeople should cope better with feelings of role overload. Drawing from the career stages literature, we examine the direct influence of role overload on traditional job attitudes, turnover intentions, salesperson performance, and the impact of work experience on these relationships. Managerial implications and future research directions are discussed.

Research Priority Areas:

SALES FORCE TURNOVER AND RETENTION ISSUES
SALES MANAGEMENT, ANALYSIS, PLANNING, STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION, AND QUOTAS

Jones, Eli, Lawrence B. Chonko, and James A. Roberts (2003), “Creating a partnership-oriented, knowledge creation culture in strategic sales alliances: a conceptual framework,” Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, 18 (4/5), 336.

This article presents a study which examines the formation of strategic sales alliances. Reasons for forming a strategic alliance between sales companies; Characteristics of strategic alliances; Importance of sales organization learning; Discussion on interorganizational learning and memory; Key antecedents to interorganizational learning and memory; Dynamics of rapid change.

Research Priority Areas:

SALES MANAGEMENT, ANALYSIS, PLANNING, STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION, AND QUOTAS
INTERFACE BETWEEN SALES AND OTHER FUNCTIONS

Jones, Eli, Lawrence B. Chonko, and James A. Roberts (2004), “Sales Force Obsolescence: Perceptions from Sales and Marketing Executives of Individual, Organizational, and Environmental Factors,” Industrial Marketing Management, 33 (5), 439-56.

The trade and academic literature is replete with observations that many sales organizations are in the midst of a redefinition of the strategic role of their sales forces. With today's market forces, change is overdue in many sales organizations. Consequently, the issue of whether the sales force is becoming obsolete has come to the forefront in recent years. As business environments change rapidly, the relevance of the modern sales force comes into question. Data were gathered from 245 midlevel sales and marketing executives on perceived sales force obsolescence. Our findings suggest that obsolescence is a phenomenon for sales organizations to address. The main findings of our study are (1) obsolescence is a phenomenon that affects sales professionals' feelings toward the job (job satisfaction) and outcomes (performance); (2) a firm's market orientation is very important in lowering perceived obsolescence; (3) a learning orientation is important in detecting symptoms of obsolescence; (4) age and education are related to perceptions of obsolescence depending on the type of industry in which the sales force competes: high- or low-tech; and (5) organizational changes can also have a bearing on the sales force's perceptions of obsolescence.

Research Priority Areas:

SALES MANAGEMENT, ANALYSIS, PLANNING, STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION, AND QUOTAS
INTERFACE BETWEEN SALES AND OTHER FUNCTIONS
BUYER/SELLER RELATIONSHIPS - CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND RETENTION

Jones, Eli, Andrea L. Dixon, Lawrence B. Chonko, and Joseph P. Cannon (2005), “Key Accounts and Team Selling: A Review, Framework, and Research Agenda,” Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 25 (2), 182-98.

As sales organizations increase their reliance on sales teams, they must learn how organizational and interpersonal relationships influence sales teams, how sales teams play a learning role for organizations, and what makes sales teams effective. Presenting a model of interrelationships among members of the selling firm and between the selling and buying firms, we identify five key team selling relationships between (1) members of the same team, (2) members of different teams within the firm, (3) the selling team and the buying center, (4) the selling team and other groups in the selling firm, and (5) the selling team and the firm's strategy. This model leads to a conceptual framework highlighting relationship drivers, factors, and outcomes instrumental to team selling success. After presenting propositions for future research, theoretical and methodological suggestions are included to facilitate research in this area. We conclude with perspectives on the future of research and practice in key accounts and team selling.

Research Priority Areas:

NATIONAL/KEY/GLOBAL ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT
MEASURING AND MONITORING TEAM SELLING EFFECTIVENESS
INTERFACE BETWEEN SALES AND OTHER FUNCTIONS
BUYER/SELLER RELATIONSHIPS - CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND RETENTION

Jones, Eli, Suresh Sundaram, and Chin Wynne (2002), “Factors Leading to Sales Force Automation Use: A Longitudinal Analysis,” Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 22 (3), 145-56.

Motivating the sales force to adopt and use sales force automation (SFA) technology remains an issue. If salespeople are not committed to the selling organization's technology strategies, customer alliances are hindered. Survey data were collected from a national sales force before and after the introduction of an SFA application. The results of this study indicate that salesperson attitudes (Perceived Usefulness, Attitude Toward the New System, and Compatibility) have an impact on intention to use new SFA systems prior to implementation. However, Personal Innovativeness, Attitude Toward the New System, and Facilitating Conditions have more of an effect on infusion of new SFA systems.

Research Priority Areas:

OPTIMAL CRM/SFA DEPLOYMENT AND PERFORMANCE
SALES MANAGEMENT, ANALYSIS, PLANNING, STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION, AND QUOTAS
BUYER/SELLER RELATIONSHIPS - CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND RETENTION

Lim, Noah, Michael Ahearne, and Sung H. Ham (2009), “Designing Sales Contests: Does the Prize Structure Matter?” Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming.

Sales contests are short-term incentives used by managers to raise sales effort. The extant marketing theory predicts that the optimal prize structure should have two characteristics: 1) The number of prizewinners should be greater than one; and 2) prize values should be unique and rank-ordered. However, this theory has not been empirically examined. This paper presents two empirical studies that examine if the prize structure of a sales contest affects sales performance. In each study, the authors investigate the incremental effects of introducing multiple prizewinners and unique rank-ordered prizes into a sales contest. The first study consists of two laboratory experiments in which participants make decisions that closely reflect the decision trade-offs in the theoretical model of sales contests. The second study consists of two field economic experiments where trained salespeople sell fundraising sponsorships to companies. The results across the experiments are remarkably consistent: The number of prizewinners in a sales contest should indeed be greater than one. However, introducing rank-ordered prizes into contests with multiple prizewinners does not boost sales effort and revenues.

Research Priority Areas:

SALES COMPENSATION, INCENTIVES, AND SALES CONTESTS
MEASURING AND MONITORING TEAM SELLING EFFECTIVENESS

Mathieu, John, Michael Ahearne, and Scott R. Taylor (2007), “A Longitudinal Cross-Level Model of Leader and Salesperson Influences on Sales Force Technology Use and Performance,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 92 (2), 528-37.

The authors examined the influence of the introduction of a new suite of technology tools on the performance of 592 salespersons. They hypothesized that the salespersons' work experience would have a negative effect on their technology self-efficacy, which in turn would relate positively to their use of technology. Sales performance was hypothesized to be positively related to both past performance and the use of new technology tools. Further, the authors hypothesized that leaders' commitment to sales technology would enhance salespersons' technology self-efficacy and usage, and leaders' empowering behaviors would influence salespersons' technology self-efficacy and moderate the individual-level relationships. Hierarchical linear modeling analyses confirmed all of the hypothesized individual-level relationships and most of the cross-level relationships stemming from average leader behaviors. In particular, empowering leadership exhibited multiple cross-level interactions, as anticipated. Results are discussed in terms of the importance of social-psychological factors related to the success of sales force technology interventions.

Research Priority Areas:

OPTIMAL CRM/SFA DEPLOYMENT AND PERFORMANCE
SALES TRAINING EFFECTIVENESS
SALES MANAGEMENT, ANALYSIS, PLANNING, STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION, AND QUOTAS

Peterson, Robert A. and Steven P. Brown (2005), "On the Use of Beta Coefficients in Meta-Analysis," Journal of Applied Psychology, 90 (1), 175-81.

This research reports an investigation of the use of standardized regression (beta) coefficients in meta-analyses that use correlation coefficients as the effect-size metric. The investigation consisted of analyzing more than 1,700 corresponding beta coefficients and correlation coefficients harvested from published studies. Results indicate that, under certain conditions, using knowledge of corresponding beta coefficients to impute missing correlations (effect sizes) generally produces relatively accurate and precise population effect-size estimates. Potential benefits from applying this knowledge include smaller sampling errors because of increased numbers of effect sizes and smaller nonsampling errors because of the inclusion of a broader array of research designs.

Research Priority Areas:

RESEARCH METHODS, MEASUREMENT ISSUES, AND RESEARCH AGENDAS/COMMENTARIES

Rangarajan, Deva, Lawrence B. Chonko, Eli Jones, and James A. Roberts (2004), “Organizational Variables, Sales Force Perceptions of Readiness for Change, Learning, and Performance among Boundary-Spanning Teams: A Conceptual Framework and Propositions for Research,” Industrial Marketing Management, 33 (4), 289.

Sales organizations are continuously developing new ideas and approaches to be more competitive. One of the approaches taken by most successful organizations is the move from individuals to boundary-spanning, cross-functional teams. Sales teams are being employed to counter efforts by buying organizations to form buying centers. It is proffered in this paper that organizations that are ready for change are conducive to enhancement of sales team learning. Organization readiness for change is a condition impacted by a variety of organizational antecedent variables such as culture and climate. This paper proposes that sales team learning is impacted by team members' perceptions of the organization's readiness for change. In addition, we also posit the moderating influence of two environmental variables: turbulence and competitive intensity on the relationship between readiness for change and sales team learning. Sales team learning is then proposed to be related to a variety of sales outcomes. In this paper, we present a conceptual framework for understanding the contexts in which team learning occurs and the impact of team learning on team effectiveness. Throughout the paper, we present research propositions that provide opportunities for future examinations of team learning.

Research Priority Areas:

MEASURING AND MONITORING TEAM SELLING EFFECTIVENESS
INTERFACE BETWEEN SALES AND OTHER FUNCTIONS

Rangarajan, Deva, Eli Jones, and Wynne Chin (2005), “Impact of Sales Force Automation on Technology-Related Stress, Effort, and Technology Usage among Salespeople,” Industrial Marketing Management, 34 (4), 345-54.

This study unveils factors affecting sales force automation (SFA) technology usage by salespeople. It differs from previous research by: (1) proposing a model that examines the consequences of task complexity on role perceptions and technology usage, and (2) understanding the negative repercussions of SFA technology on the user. The proposed model was tested using data from 150 salespeople employed by a national organization. The results suggest that integration of SFA technology induces adverse role perceptions in salespeople. However, controlling for extraneous variables, effort is significantly related to salespeople's usage of technology. Key managerial implications for theory and practice are discussed.

Research Priority Areas:

OPTIMAL CRM/SFA DEPLOYMENT AND PERFORMANCE
SALES FORCE TURNOVER AND RETENTION ISSUES

Rapp, Adam, Raj Agnihotri, and Lukas P. Forbes (2008), “The Sales Force Technology-Performance Chain: The Role of Adaptive Selling and Effort,” Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 28 (4), 335-50.

Firms continue to struggle with the implementation of sales force technology tools and the role they play in sales representative performance. This research expands previous literature in the area of sales force automation (SFA) and customer relationship management (CRM) by looking at the consequences after technology adoption by a sales force. Data were gathered from three sources to include 662 sales representatives, 60 sales managers, and firm archival data. Using structural equation modeling, our findings indicate that SFA usage has a direct impact on effort, thereby reducing number of hours worked, and CRM usage has a direct positive impact on adaptive selling behaviors. Moreover, experience moderates the relationship between CRM usage and adaptive selling. Discussion, limitations, and directions for future research are also discussed.

Research Priority Areas:

OPTIMAL CRM/SFA DEPLOYMENT AND PERFORMANCE
SALES MANAGEMENT, ANALYSIS, PLANNING, STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION, AND QUOTAS

Rapp, Adam, Michael Ahearne, John Mathieu, and Niels Schillewaert (2006), “The Impact of Knowledge and Empowerment on Working Smart and Working Hard: The Moderating Role of Experience,” International Journal of Research in Marketing, 23 (3), 279-93.

This research focuses on the impact that salesperson knowledge and empowering leader behaviors have on salesperson working smarter and working harder behaviors. In turn, we examine the impact of working harder and smarter on customer service, customer satisfaction, and ultimately, on sales performance. Moreover, we propose an interactive relationship, whereby the influences of leader empowering behaviors and salespersons' knowledge will be moderated by salespersons' experience. We tested our hypotheses using survey data from a sample of 175 sales people in the pharmaceutical field, along with external ratings of salespersons' knowledge from sales managers, customer ratings of sales satisfaction and service, and archival measures of salespersons' effort and performance. Results indicate that contrary to popular belief, employees with low levels of product/industry experience benefit the most from leader empowering behaviors. Also, we find that employees with lower levels of experience and higher levels of knowledge are more inclined to work harder. We conclude with directions for future research.

Research Priority Areas:

BUYER/SELLER RELATIONSHIPS - CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND RETENTION
SALES MANAGEMENT, ANALYSIS, PLANNING, STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION, AND QUOTAS

Rapp, Adam, Tammy Rapp, and Niels Schillewaert (2008), “An Empirical Analysis of E-Service Implementation: Antecedents and the Resulting Value Creation,” Journal of Services Marketing, 22 (1), 24-36.

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to examine the antecedents and perceived value associated with e-business implementation in service firms. E-business has enabled the development of e-services and thus introduced a new vehicle for customer and supplier transactions. Design/methodology/approach - Data were collected from top managers in 231 Belgian business-to-business service firms crossing a broad spectrum of industries. The statistical techniques employed included a confirmatory factor analysis, and hierarchical regression analyses. Findings - The findings of the study suggest that technical infrastructure and external drivers influence e-business implementation. Additionally, e-business was found to create value for firms through efficiency, novelty, lock-in, and complementarities. Research limitations/implications - The results imply that a firm's behavior, while driven in part by external factors (e.g. shareholders, competitors, customers, etc.), is largely contingent upon a firm's internal infrastructure and environment. It should be noted that only the firm side of the dyadic relationships was surveyed and examined. Practical implications - Managers should assess a firm's technological infrastructure before launching an e-business venture. Also, since firms believe that implementing e-business has positive outcomes that extend beyond firm performance, it can be logically posited that these value drivers will positively influence a firm's overall performance. Originality/value - The first empirical examination of the work of Javalgi et al. and Amit and Zott is integrated and provided to present a robust conceptual framework that incorporates the antecedents and value creation associated with e-business implementation.

Research Priority Areas:

SALES MANAGEMENT, ANALYSIS, PLANNING, STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION, AND QUOTAS
BUYER/SELLER RELATIONSHIPS - CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND RETENTION

Rapp, Adam, Niels Schillewaert, and Andrew Wei Hao (2008), “The Influence of Market Orientation on E-Business Innovation and Performance: The Role of the Top Management Team,” Journal of Marketing Theory & Practice, 16 (1), 7-25.

There is a general belief that a firm's market orientation can lead to innovativeness and positive performance outcomes. In this research, we attempt to build upon previous research in the market orientation and innovation literatures and examine how the behavior of the top management team can influence the aforementioned relationships as well as several dimensions of performance. Employing a multigroup approach in structural equation modeling, we demonstrate the moderating role of the top management team's involvement with the technology innovation. In addition to finding support for the relationships grounded in previous theory, our findings suggest that having top management "champion" the technology innovation initiatives is crucial for successful results.

Research Priority Areas:

SALES MANAGEMENT, ANALYSIS, PLANNING, STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION, AND QUOTAS
BUYER/SELLER RELATIONSHIPS - CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND RETENTION

Richards, Keith A. and Eli Jones (2008), “Customer Relationship Management: Finding Value Drivers,” Industrial Marketing Management, 37 (2), 120-30.

Despite significant interest from both academicians and practitioners, customer relationship management (CRM) remains a huge investment with little measured payback. Intuition suggests that increased management of customer relationships should improve business performance, but this intuition has only inconsistent empirical or real world support. To remedy this situation, this study identifies a core group of expected CRM benefits and examines their ability to increase a firm's value equity, brand equity and relationship equity which are components of customer equity. Ten propositions explore the anticipated effects of these drivers and form an agenda for future research. These propositions establish a framework for measuring CRM and supporting the link between CRM and performance.

Research Priority Areas:

OPTIMAL CRM/SFA DEPLOYMENT AND PERFORMANCE
BUYER/SELLER RELATIONSHIPS - CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND RETENTION
RESEARCH METHODS, MEASUREMENT ISSUES, AND RESEARCH AGENDAS/COMMENTARIES

Tanner Jr, John F., Michael Ahearne, Thomas W. Leigh, Charlotte H. Mason, and William C. Moncrief (2005), “CRM in Sales-Intensive Organizations” A Review and Future Directions,” Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 25 (2), 169-80.

With the advent of technology enabling greater customer tracking, more robust knowledge management, and direct customer communication, the implementation of customer relationship management (CRM) strategies has grown in importance with many implications for sales-intensive organizations. Implications of CRM strategy, analytical CRM, and operational CRM are discussed, particularly in terms of research opportunities. Although there are, no doubt, many other interesting and worthwhile research opportunities available, the nexus of technology, CRM, and sales-intensive go-to-market strategies provide myriad opportunities for exciting research.

Research Priority Areas:

OPTIMAL CRM/SFA DEPLOYMENT AND PERFORMANCE
BUYER/SELLER RELATIONSHIPS - CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND RETENTION
RESEARCH METHODS, MEASUREMENT ISSUES, AND RESEARCH AGENDAS/COMMENTARIES

Wieseke, Jan, Michael Ahearne, Son K. Lam, and Rolf van Dick (2009), “The Role of Leaders in Internal Marketing,” Journal of Marketing, forthcoming.

There is little empirical research on internal marketing despite its intuitive appeal and anecdotal accounts of its benefits. Adopting a social identity theory perspective, the authors propose that internal marketing is fundamentally a process in which leaders instill into followers a sense of oneness with the organization, formally known as organizational identification (OI). The authors test the OI-transfer research model in two multinational studies using multilevel and multisource data. Hierarchical linear modeling analyses show that the OI-transfer process takes place in the relationships between business unit managers and salespeople and between regional directors and business unit managers. Furthermore, both leader–follower dyadic tenure and charismatic leadership moderate this cascading effect. Leaders with a mismatch between their charisma and OI ultimately impair followers’ OI. In turn, customer-contact employees’ OI strongly predicts their sales performance. Finally, both employees’ and sales managers’ OI are positively related to their business units’ financial performance. The study provides empirical evidence for the role of leaders, especially middle-managers, in building member identification that lays the foundation for internal marketing.

Research Priority Areas:

SALES MANAGEMENT, ANALYSIS, PLANNING, STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION, AND QUOTAS
SALES TRAINING EFFECTIVENESS
SALES FORCE TURNOVER AND RETENTION ISSUES