2022 8.5 Research Review – edited by Jeremy Noad

30th September 2022 |   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 four themes that focus on sales performance, capability development, behavioural studies, and systems and tools.

Research Review 8.5 2022

Sales performance

Machine learning to aid salesperson involvement in the customer buying journey

By advancements in digital marketing, business-to-business (B2B) buyers carry out over half of the buying process through digital touchpoints before they establish any significant contact with the B2B seller. Knowing the buying stage of a potential buyer can bring a substantial advantage to the B2B seller, given the complexity of the transaction and the associated value. In this paper, the authors propose a machine-learning approach to infer the stages of the B2B buying journey by observing the online browsing behaviour of buyer companies. It is shown that observing the buyer’s online behaviour effectively allows us to estimate the buying stages with high accuracy by utilizing the hidden Markov models. Managers in B2B seller companies may adjust their marketing efforts to improve the fit with the information demands of the B2B buyer prospects along with their buying journey, thus improving the hit rate of marketing and sales activities.

Marvasti, N B, Huhtala, J P, Yousefi, Z R, Vaniala, I, Upreti, B, Malo, P, Kaski, S and Tikkanen, H, “Is this company a lead customer? Estimating stages of B2B buying journey,” Industrial Marketing Management, 97, pp 126-133, 2021.

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Dr Jeremy Noad edits our Research Review. As an advocate both of sales excellence and translating sales research into action, he has been our Research Review section editor since day one. A 25-year sales and marketing veteran who has worked with sales organisations on all major continents, Dr Noad guides and coaches sales leaders and their teams to transform sales performance and effectiveness. His present focus is on global sales effectiveness with a $20bn market leader. He completed his doctorate on improving sales performance at Portsmouth University.