ISBM at the Penn State Smeal College of Business – Academic Institute supporting B2B Research. Switch to the ISBM-Corporate website.

ISBM at the Penn State Smeal College of Business – Academic Institute supporting B2B Research. Switch to 

This course is for PhD Students only who are enrolled in a PhD Program at an Institute for Higher Learning

Personal Selling and Sales Management


This seminar will focus on academic research related to improving sales force performance.  We will examine research using a variety of approaches including analytic models, empirical models, surveys, and lab/field experiments.  We will investigate both published research as well as working papers by top scholars in the field.  Many of these top scholars will join our sessions to discuss their working papers with the class. The seminar will be broken into 8 sessions covering research in each of the six categories below:

  • Sales Strategy (i.e., macro-level research examining effects across sales organization)
  • Sales Force Design (i.e., structure, alignment, sizing, territory design)
  • Customer Engagement (i.e., buyer seller relationships, targeting, sales process)
  • People & Skills (i.e., selection/hiring, training, leadership, performance management)
  • Motivation (i.e., culture, incentives, metrics, goals)
  • Sales Operations (i.e., CRM, analytics)



  • Typical session structure will be as follows:
  • 20-30 minutes:  Instructor (and/or guest scholar) will introduce area
  • 60 minutes: Critique/discussion of 2-3 readings lead by assigned students
  • 20-30 minutes: Instructor will summarize key findings discuss future areas for research
  • The seminar will begin on October 24, 2022 and will be held on Mondays from 11:00AM – 1:00PM ET


Please register for this course below.
Click here to View Complete Admission Procedures and Requirements.


Michael AhearneMichael Ahearne is Professor of Marketing and C.T. Bauer Chair in Marketing at the University of Houston. He is also the Research Director of the Stagner Sales Excellence Institute.

Mike’s research has primarily focused on improving the performance of salespeople and sales organizations. He has published over 50 articles in leading journals such as Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Management Science, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. The American Marketing Association has recognized Mike as one of the most research-productive scholars in the field of marketing. His research has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal, Business 2.0, Business Investors Daily, Forbes, Fortune, INC Magazine, and many other news outlets.

Mike’s book Selling Today: Partnering to Create Customer Value is the highest-grossing professional selling textbook in the world, with copies being distributed in over forty countries. Paired with the many teaching awards he has won at the MBA and undergraduate levels in Sales, Sales Management, and Key Account Management, Mike has a proven track record of excellence when it comes to disseminating knowledge in his field. He has consulted with over 200 companies in industries such as insurance, health care, consumer packaged goods, technology, and transportation. Mike was recently honored as the inaugural winner of the Sales Education Foundation Research Dissemination Award for the impact of his research on business practice.

Before entering academia, Mike played professional baseball for the Montreal Expos and worked in marketing research and sales operations for Eli Lilly and PCS Healthcare. He was also a principal at ZS Associates, the largest global sales and marketing consulting firm.