ISBM Pulse: Sales

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Boundary Work and Customer Connectivity in B2B Front Lines

To build long-term customer relationships, salespeople play a critical boundary-spanning role that can be an inimitable source of competitive strength. A key characteristic of such roles is the boundary work that salespeople perform to develop strategies and tactics to manage their interfaces with customers. The purpose of this chapter is to motivate development of boundary role theory that responds to emerging realities of boundary work and stimulates an organizing framework to germinate new directions for theory and practice. Specifically, the chapter’s objectives are twofold. First, the chapter provides a focused review of the boundary role research in B2B contexts. Second, the chapter describes features of boundary work that demand a strategic perspective and rethinking of the premises of contemporary boundary role theory.

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Sales Force Compensation: Research Insights and Research Potential

Today’s B2B selling environment is characterized by much complexity. Key drivers of this complexity include group sales efforts, multipart sales offerings and multibusiness unit participation on single deals (CFO Research Services 2010). It is timely to review the role of sales force compensation in B2B organizations. This chapter first discusses research insights on compensation elements to offer to salespeople, followed by a summary of results on how much to pay and how to balance salary versus incentive pay. Next, the chapter covers survey results on the choice to delegate pricing authority to the sales force and its impact on compensation. Finally, remaining challenges are identified, in which academic research results are sparser and therefore in which the opportunity for future research is bright.

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Sales Force Performance: A Typology and Future Research Priorities

In marketing research and practice in a selling context, performance implications are often demonstrated at the individual, business unit, or company level. The purposes of this chapter are threefold. First, this chapter surveys the literature on sales force performance to evaluate how this important criterion variable has been defined, operationalized and measured. Using this survey, a typology of sales force performance measures is developed. To this end, sales force performance is categorized into topical areas along two dimensions – positive versus negative performance and behavioral versus outcome performance – which includes in-role and extra-role behavioral performance. Second, future research topics in each of those areas are identified. Third, the chapters offers brief methodological notes for exploring these new topics.

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Building a Winning Sales Force in B2B Markets: A Managerial Perspective

An inventory of sales force effectiveness issues based on the input of several hundred sales leaders reveals that B2B companies face a wide array of complex sales force challenges and opportunities. Addressing these issues effectively requires broad solutions and approaches. A thinking framework for sales force effectiveness organizes the complexities that B2B sales forces face. This framework provides sales leaders with a holistic approach for assessing sales force effectiveness, diagnosing sales force issues, and developing multi-dimensional, high impact solutions. Sales researchers can use the framework to discover ways to expand their research focus to benefit practitioners. 

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The Impact of the Internet on B2B Sales Force Size and Structure

Since its commercialization in the mid-1990s, the Internet has become one of the most revolutionary forces in history to hit business in general and B2B (including ‘industrial’ and ‘services’) markets in particular. Despite the importance and gravity of the Internet in the context of the B2B sales force, systematic study of the Internet’s impact on B2B sales force size and structure is sparse. Our objectives in this chapter are twofold: (1) to review and document how the Internet is used in B2B buying and selling today; and (2) to conceptualize the Internet’s evolving impact on sales force size and structure with propositions for further investigation.


Strategies to Connect with Barricaded Buyers (Chase and Murtha)

When responding to a Request for Proposal (RFP) in both the public and the private sector, suppliers’ access to buyers is often restricted due to law and informal rules of engagement. The authors term these buyers ‘barricaded buyers’. Despite having limited access to these individuals, suppliers can still increase their competitiveness and selection likelihood when selling to barricaded buyers. 

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Converting Value Pricing and Value Selling Capabilities into Growth and Profits (James Anderson)

Today, everyone wants to be on top of value pricing and value selling. Despite some positive results from your investments of money and time to build value selling and pricing capabilities, your organization has fallen short of its goals.  Was it all hype?  Or are there obstacles that your organization hasn’t fully addressed. In the interactive session lead by moderator James Anderson and panelists Todd Snelgrove and Eric Berggren, you will get 3 different perspectives on the 5 most overlooked barriers that prevent firms from becoming the customer value leader in their market.