2020 Q1 Research Review – edited by Jeremy Noad
28th May 2020 | Dr Jeremy Noad
The research review aims to help readers keep up to date with recently published research on sales-related topics. The review highlights short abstracts of academically peer-reviewed research. This selection of published research is from a range of academic journals. In this edition, the abstracts include three themes that focus on sales performance, customer management, and sales behavioural studies.
Clearly defining the customer’s problem enables sales success
Given the complexity (eg, digitization, customization, and scale) of modern business solutions, salespeople increasingly seek to influence the pre-planning stages of buyer decision-making to increase effectiveness. During the early stage of organizational buying, salespeople can align their firm’s capabilities and expertise by offering input on problem definition, before a solution is sought. However, surprisingly little is known about the role of salespeople in the period before a buying firm decides to officially address a problem and seek vendor solutions. Thus, our research focuses on the inclusion of both incumbent salespeople (strong ties to the buying organization) and non-incumbent salespeople (limited, or non-existent, ties to the buying organization) in pre-decision phase information-sourcing of buyers. Drawing upon theory from social network and problem-solving literature, we develop a contingency model to illustrate pre-decision phase conditions based on problem-framing, structure, and urgency that make incumbent or non-incumbent salespeople more likely to be sources of information. We test our hypotheses across a series of scenario-based experimental studies conducted with purchasing managers. Our findings suggest situations where the incumbent and non-incumbent salespeople have a greater likelihood of being positioned to engage in pre-decision stage planning with customers.
Bonney, L, Hochstein, B, Christenson, B, and Chefor, E (2019), “Incumbent and non-incumbent salesperson consultation in the pre-decision stage of organizational purchasing”, Industrial Marketing Management.