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Michael Ahearne Professor and C.T. Bauer Chair in Marketing University of Houston 2011 GSSI Conference SDA Bocconni School of Management Milan, Italy An.

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Presentation on theme: "Michael Ahearne Professor and C.T. Bauer Chair in Marketing University of Houston 2011 GSSI Conference SDA Bocconni School of Management Milan, Italy An."— Presentation transcript:

1 Michael Ahearne Professor and C.T. Bauer Chair in Marketing University of Houston 2011 GSSI Conference SDA Bocconni School of Management Milan, Italy An Outlook on Sales Research: Addressing the Famished State of Sales Manager Research

2 2 Agenda 1.Importance of Sales Managers 1.Current State of the Literature 1.Fruitful Avenues for Future Investigation 1.Example

3 3 1. Importance of Sales Managers What organizations really have are the outer people, connected to the world, and the inner ones, disconnected from it, as well as many so-called middle managers, who are desperately trying to connect the inner and outer people to each other. s (Mintzberg 1996, p. 61, italics in original)

4 4 1. Importance of Sales Managers Source: Trailer and Dickie (2006)

5 5 The Majority of Sales Research lies at the Salesperson Level Measures of salesperson performance ( e.g., Behrman and Perrault 1982; 245 citations ). Role stress (e.g., Behrman and Perrault 1984; 293 citations). Adaptive Selling (e.g., Weitz, Sujan, and Sujan 1986; 374 citations). Determinants of salesperson performance (e.g., Churchill et al. 1985; 535 citations) 2. Current State of the Literature

6 6 Trust  Brashear et al. (2003)  Flaherty and Pappas (2000)  Strutton and Pelton (1993) Effectiveness  Brewer (1997)  Deeter-Schmelz et al. (2002, 2008)  Dubinsky and Ingram (1983)  Guest and Meric (1989)  Spencer (1972) Leadership  Dubinsky et al. (1995)  Comer et al. (1995)  MacKenzie, Podsakoff, and Rich (2001)  Rich (1997)  Wieseke et al. (2009) Sales Manager Research Falls Predominantly in Four Categories  Anderson and Oliver (1987)  Cravens et al. (1993)  John and Weitz (1989)  Joseph and Thevaranjan (1998)  Oliver and Anderson (1994, 1995) Control Systems

7 7 Critical Impediments to the Advancement of Sales Manager Research Most accounts are published in practitioner-oriented journals (e.g., Business Horizons, California Management, and HBR) Previous research has failed to investigate phenomena beyond the sales manager – salesperson dyad Sales researchers have mainly examined sales leadership from a “human capital” perspective rather than from a “social capital” point of view. Research regarding sales manager effectiveness is predominantly qualitative in nature (e.g., Deeter-Schmelz et al. 2008) 2. Current State of the Literature

8 8 Areas Open for Examination Informal networks within the sales force may be studied from a social capital perspective (Brass 2011) Traits of effective sales managers – e.g., long-term orientation, achievement motivation, ambition – remain an empirical question The sales manager may be looked at as a strategic implementer, responsible for gathering, integrating, and disseminating information to those above and below him/her 3. Fruitful Avenues for Future Investigation

9 9 5. Example Study 2 – Research Overview Methodological Approach  Hierarchical Linear Modeling:  Responses from sales managers who work under the same sales director are not independent  Network Analysis:  UCINET was used to calculate network measures (Borgatti, Everett, and Freeman 2002) Research Setting  Data were collected from the sales organization of a US-based Fortune 500 company in the B2B sector (cleaning and sanitizing industry)  Questionnaires were distributed to all top managers, sales managers, and salespeople directly involved in the sales function of the sales organization (i.e., service personnel and divisions were excluded) Sample  Three source data:  31 top managers (response rate: 100%)  228 sales managers (response rate: 95%)  1437 salespeople (response rate: 71%)  Objective company records:  Business unit performance: (1) sales as a percentage of quota, (2) new customer productivity, and (3) district manager performance evaluation

10 10 5. Example Study 2 – Network Structure

11 11 5. Example Study 2 – Hypotheses

12 12 Conclusions and Implications for Practice Product knowledge training and an experienced sales force are integral to converting competitive intelligence efforts into quality, company-wide information. For competitive intelligence to be valuable, it must be integrated and harmonized by highly central sales managers. Sales managers can play a vital role in filtering redundant information and, then, disemminating it throughout the organization The findings suggest that “successful leaders have a nose for opportunity and a knack for knowing whom to tap to get things done” (Ibarra and Hunter 2007, p. 40) 5. Example Study 2 – Implications

13 13 Thank You! Contact: Michael Ahearne, PhD Professor of Marketing Executive Director, Sales Excellence Institute Department of Marketing & Entrepreneurship Bauer College of Business University of Houston 334 Melcher Hall Houston, Texas 77204-6021 Phone: 713-743-4155 Fax: 713-743-4572

14 14 Back-up Slides Contact: Michael Ahearne, PhD Professor of Marketing Executive Director, Sales Excellence Institute Department of Marketing & Entrepreneurship Bauer College of Business University of Houston 334 Melcher Hall Houston, Texas 77204-6021 Phone: 713-743-4155 Fax: 713-743-4572

15 15 Notes: TM = top managers, SM = sales managers, SP = salespeople, EX = external contacts 4. Example Study 1– Results

16 16 4. Example Study 1 – Results

17 17 Notes: MDR = sales manager’s business unit network size, TDR = top manager’s regional network size. 4. Example Study 1 – Results

18 18 Notes: MCHAR = sales manager’s charismatic leadership, DCHAR = top manager’s charismatic leadership. 4. Example Study 1 – Results


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