David W. Cravens
The organization's effectiveness can be measured based on sales, market position, customer satisfaction, and profits, relative to competition and internal objectives. Effectiveness is a summary assessment of the sales organization's outcomes, and may be determined for the entire organization or for smaller units such as regions and districts. Sales unit effectiveness is a composite assessment of the unit's performance. Importantly, effectiveness and salesperson performance are distinct although closely related constructs. The salesperson contributes to unit effectiveness along with other determinants including the sales manager, business competencies, and the market and competitive environment. This article proposes and examines a conceptual framework for analysis and decision-making concerning sales organization effectiveness. It discusses important determinants of effectiveness including sales management control, salesperson performance, and sales unit design. Sales management is a core determinant of effectiveness, including management processes, design of the organization, and manager performance. Each salesperson also contributes to effectiveness.
This article reviews the rapidly changing business environment, and highlights it as an important and challenging influence on sales organizations. It examines the dynamic environment impacting the sales organization. A core characteristic of the changing sales environment is its complexity. Dimensions of the environment include globalization, changes in channel delivery and information provision, customer co-production and de-massification of the marketplace, hyper-competition and buyer concentration, sales force automation, customer expectations, ethics expectations, and increased emphasis on wellbeing in the workplace. Each of these environmental forces interacts with the others, significantly compounding analysis of the effects on the sales organization. This article examines a number of key changes in the contemporary business and social environment and discusses their implications regarding sales and sales management research and practice. It also considers psychological levels of analysis from the perspective of the individual salesperson or sales manager, possible dyads, teams, and stakeholder or wider society.
Thomas W. Leigh
This article examines the role of the direct sales force as a core enterprise strategy and capability relative to the organization's customer relationship management (CRM) system. It discusses the CRM models implied by product leadership, cost leadership, and customer intimacy strategies. These CRM models provide a basis for defining the role of the sales force compared to alternative go-to-market channels in accessing and relating to customers. This article examines the role of the sales force for four customer archetypes: transactional, solution selling, relationship selling, and strategic partnerships. Market-driven companies are likely to be more competent in organizational learning about markets and customers compared to internally-oriented competitors. In examining this issue, this article discusses the role of the direct sales force concerning four specific CRM processes: market sensing, customer sensing, customer linking, and cross-functional spanning.
Andrea L. Dixon
This article synthesizes current knowledge in the area of customer management, and encourages the organization to be proactive in this essential role, which is an important contributor to business success. It addresses the necessary task of how the organization should identify the right customers from the existing customer base. It reviews the available metrics used for customer analysis and decision-making. Furthermore, it also examines the relevant measurement issues associated with the composite profitability measure, customer lifetime value (CLV). CLV can contribute important insights in selecting the right customers to include in the organization's portfolio. This article also discusses customer portfolio analysis. Significant value is gained from systematic customer assessment for acquiring, growing, and retaining the best mix of customers to generate the strongest return on investment. The process of managing the customer portfolio guides the firm in directing the right marketing efforts to the most appropriate marketing strategies.
Debra L. Scammon and Jenny Mish
This article covers the role of marketing for the natural environment in catalyzing environmentally sustainable consumption. It outlines the four decades of “green” marketing. Environmental disasters continued to amplify public awareness during the 1980s and 1990s. During the 1990s, environmental problems were increasingly reframed as economic problems. A smattering of academic papers addressed managerial issues in environmental marketing. The opportunism and reactivity of green marketers in the twentieth century gave way to the beginnings of a more mature and sophisticated approach in the new century. The article discusses the definition of marketing, its dominant logic, and the role of the marketing mix, all of which raise unresolved issues. The sustainable levels of consumption and the need for systemic integration in marketing for the natural environment are explored. Finally, specific directions for future work are given.
Kenneth Le Meunier‐FitzHugh and Graham R. Massey
This article examines the importance of effective working relationships between sales and marketing. It provides a framework for analysis and discussion concerning this important organizational relationship. It reviews current thinking on sales–marketing cross-functional relationships, identifies gaps in academic literature, and discusses a range of controllable and uncontrollable factors that may influence this interface. Many organizations are unsure how to manage the sales–marketing cross-functional relationship. The few empirical studies published to date examine the contextual conditions under which such relationships are enacted, e.g., the level of functional interdependence, power relations, and cultural differences. This article discusses the main types of variable that influence the effectiveness of such relationships. These include organizational structure variables, the types of interaction and communication prevalent in the cross-functional relationship, and key variables such as interpersonal trust.
Michael Saren and Peter Svensson
This article is structured as follows. After a brief note on the history of critique both within and outside marketing studies, five core marketing concepts or main objects of critique, based on critical marketing publications and conferences (including the marketing streams of the conference series in critical management studies since 1999) are reviewed. These are: consumer sovereignty and freedom of choice; relationship marketing; consumer identity and branding; marketing practice and work; and finally, consumer resistance and activism. In the final part of the article some of the future challenges facing critical marketing studies and its development are discussed.
Vince Mitchell and William S. Harvey
This chapter reviews the research on marketing and reputation relevant to Professional Service Firms (PSFs). Although there has been relatively little research to date which explores both fields concurrently, the authors organize the material by problematizing the issue of marketing within PSFs. They introduce and provide a conceptual model of reputation that explores its antecedents, such as service quality, social networks, and rankings as well as consequences such as sales effectiveness, premium pricing, and client loyalty within PSFs. Reputation has often been conflated with other related terms such as identity and image and the authors provide some clarification on defining and measuring reputation. The chapter explores this and other problems inherent within the application of reputation to marketing principles and practice to PSFs as well as hints at solutions. Finally, the authors identify a future research agenda for both marketing and reputation.
This article identifies and determines how to access the market and other relevant environments, and how to develop a strategy to succeed in the market. It identifies and examines six marketing imperatives—the tasks that marketing must accomplish—and four marketing principles that act as guidelines for making marketing decisions. The market strategy is a key output from marketing's efforts, and the sales strategy must implement the market strategy. Accordingly, the sales force must understand how the firm develops a market strategy so that sales can creatively work within that framework to design and implement an effective sales strategy. Sales managers must know what marketing is trying to accomplish, since they have an important role in helping marketing to be successful. Moreover, successful marketing helps the sales force succeed. This article provides a comprehensive examination of what every sales manager needs to know about marketing.
Wesley J. Johnston and Linda D. Peters
This article examines organizational commitment to sales. It shows several macro-trends in sales force management that impact the way in which organizations may support the role and functions of the sales forces. In particular, three main trends are affecting the way in which organizations view, utilize, and support marketing and, as a consequence, their sales efforts. First, the perception of the role of marketing as a translator of value to and from the external market is changing to one which sees it as a core competence of the firm whose primary obligation is to facilitate value co-creation. Second, the venue of value creation is often now value configurations—economic and social actors within networks interacting and exchanging across and through networks. Third, sales forces are generating more sales with fewer sales people, and therefore the “transformation of the sales force” has been predicted.
Kenneth R. Evans and C. Fred Miao
This article looks at the role of the sales force in the marketing information system (MIS). Sales force-generated marketing intelligence is guided by important antecedents which are categorized according to factors associated with the firm and the individual. Antecedents at the firm level include organizational culture, sales force control philosophy, training, job descriptions, compensation, and rewards. Key dimensions of sales force intelligence are new product planning and development, sales forecasting, competitive strategy, pricing strategy, and territorial customer knowledge. The challenge is to integrate the sales force into the MIS. Information generated by the sales force must be captured and disseminated across functional boundaries. The MIS contributes to important sales force strategic options such as customer relationship management. The process of obtaining the desired type, frequency, and quality of market information from the field sales force is an important management responsibility.
Andris A. Zoltners, Prabhakant Sinha, and Sally E. Lorimer
This article proposes and applies a market-based decision process for size and allocation decisions. Determining the appropriate relationship between sales force size and customer and product coverage is a major determinant of the productivity of the sales organization. This article discusses five quick tests for use in assessing the correct size of the sales force. A synthesis of the results provides a basis for making a final sizing assessment. A break-even test is used to determine whether a sales force is too large, too small, or about right. Importantly, a sales force that is the right size must also have sales territories that are designed to match sales effort with market opportunity. Salesperson efforts must be allocated to customer needs, and territories formed that balance workload across territories. Finally, this article discusses structured processes and methods to guide sales territory design decisions.
Strategic Leadership in Sales: Understanding the Relationship Between the Role of the Salesperson and the Role of the Sales Manager
This article examines the important relationship between the role of the salesperson and the role of sales managers. It considers how these roles vary across organizations, noting a distinct trend toward the salesperson's role including involvement in shaping strategy. The result is that the salesperson's job has changed to meet new role expectations. Salesperson strategic roles can be characterized as competence deployment, competence modification, and competence definition. These roles call for different capabilities and perspectives concerning the sales force. Successful strategic sales leadership requires the utilization of management perspectives and processes that correspond best with the current environment, required salesperson roles, and the strategic direction of the organization. In this article, an integrative framework for sales leadership is proposed. This framework examines three strategic leadership modes: command, coach, and sponsor.
Andris A. Zoltners, Prabhakant Sinha, and Sally E. Lorimer
This article provides a complete analysis of organizing the sales force for customer and company success. It develops a framework to guide the design and management of the sales organization that is consistent with company strategy and drives results. The sales force's requirements for generalists and/or specialists are guided by the firm's product offerings, markets, and selling activities. A sales force structure is defined by two main decisions: the specialization decision and the reporting relationship decision. Sales force structure decisions impact customer and company results by directly influencing salespeople and their activities. Sales force structures need to change as business needs evolve. Directing careful attention to implementation helps ensure that sales force structure alterations are well received by customers, salespeople, and managers.
Andrew D. Gershoff and Julie R. Irwin
This article describes how consumers evaluate whether a product will actually provide a green benefit. It also investigates how consumers' emotional reactions play a role in their decisions, and how these emotions can work against their desires to make green choices. It explores how identity may be a contributing factor in consumers' failure to be green. Emotional decisions may be made by attending to the emotional reactions rather than a rational consideration of facts. It is shown how consumers may not choose green products because of the way in which they evaluate green attributes and the role that emotions play in their evaluations. Individuals' identities may affect whether or not they choose green products or engage in green behaviors. Making it easy for consumers to make small changes to their lives to help the environment might seem like a good idea to overcome stubborn or habitual behavior.