Research Centre

Credible research is the foundation of the Journal’s approach to understanding what works and what doesn’t in sales. Most importantly, it tells us why. Here you’ll find the latest research from academic institutions, top consultancies and industry sales leaders – including the Journal’s own specially commissioned research – interpreted from a business perspective.

2018 Q4 Research Review – edited by Jeremy Noad

December 19th, 2018 by

These pages aim to keep readers informed of recently published research on sales-related topics, by including abstracts of peer-reviewed academic research published in a range of journals. In this edition, we have grouped them into three broad themes: sales performance, behavioural studies, and systems and tools. Sales performance An account manager’s relationship with their customer service team is more effective… 

Can one little word change marketing and sales success?

December 19th, 2018 by

A new study highlights the power of “you” versus “we” phrasing in your messaging. When sending out prospecting messages or presenting solutions to prospects and customers, most marketing and salespeople tend to “we, we, we” all over themselves. No, this article isn’t about losing control of bodily function. It’s about word choice and whether a single word or pronoun-based reference… 

Tenacity and resilience

December 19th, 2018 by

54% of initial meetings require more than… 

Are incentives the sales industry’s narcotic?

December 19th, 2018 by

This 2016 research conducted in the context of a programme of study leading to the MSc Professional Practice in Sales Leadership qualification seeks to understand the effects of sales force incentives and how to balance pay plans with company objectives (B2B). The aim of this project was to deepen my understanding of the effects of sales incentives, how salespeople are… 

Value propositions: the sales and marketing interface

December 18th, 2018 by

I reviewed two areas of literature before doing the research which covered sales-marketing interface (SMI) and value propositions. Sales-marketing interface SMI literature primarily focused on “The extent to which activities carried out by the two are supportive of each other” (Rouzies, et al. 2005). SMI research has tended to focus on sales and marketing relations as an end in itself…. 

The “Fourth Value Conversation”

December 18th, 2018 by

What is the “Fourth Value Conversation”? We asked Tim Riesterer, author of The Three Value Conversations. Q: What is the “Fourth Value Conversation” and why is there a need for it now? We’re calling it “Expand Value”. It’s that part of the customer conversation lifecycle where you’re looking to ensure more renewals, communicate price increases and generate upsells and cross-sells… 

Do we understand what buyers want?

September 24th, 2018 by

How customer-centric are our salespeople? Numerous authors down the years have drawn attention to the fact that only a small percentage of salespeople exceed customer expectations. Is this because salespeople tend not to have the competencies that customers are looking for or are buyer expectations unreasonably high? Here we look at the actual data: three studies that have charted buyers’… 

2018 Q3 Research Review – edited by Jeremy Noad

September 24th, 2018 by

These pages aim to keep readers informed of recently published research on sales-related topics, by including abstracts of peer-reviewed academic research published in a range of journals. In this edition, we have grouped them into four broad themes: sales performance, customer management, behavioural studies and systems and tools. Sales performance Top-performing salespeople contribute significantly to the success of their firm… 

The next best thing to being there

September 24th, 2018 by

New research explores how to dramatically improve your “virtual” sales calls. Editor’s Note: This is the second article in a series about improving the impact of sales calls in phone or web conference environments. This piece covers original research aimed at determining the most effective approach for engaging prospects and customers in these selling environments. In the 60s and 70s,… 

Driving positive behaviours

September 24th, 2018 by

Exploring co-creating commercial value for customers and company through values-driven leadership. Introduction As a sales manager for one of the largest business-to-business software companies, I am at the intersection of helping customers drive commercial value for their business and the constant drive of my company to sell more software, and sell it sooner. As most sales managers would concede, aligning… 

Exploring distributed leadership practice

September 24th, 2018 by

Can distributed leadership practice bring positive impact in a sales focused environment? Background The COE is a team of highly skilled and senior solution experts, each responsible for a specific solutions area, product line or area of focus. Their responsibilities include primarily sales pipeline (demand) management and revenue attainment for their responsible lines of business. Within these two main pillars,… 

Sales learning ROI

September 6th, 2018 by

What are the most effective types of… 

To add “friction” or not to add friction – that is the question.

August 31st, 2018 by

Here we preview original research on how best to engage your audience during virtual meetings. The move at many companies is to expand inside sales teams and decrease the number of “feet on the street”. But, for all the potential cost savings and productivity gains, this transition creates some serious engagement questions and challenges resulting from the virtual barrier between… 

Online IT sales versus salesperson

May 18th, 2018 by

Research by IT marketplace indicates that a major gap exists between what buyers expect and what is currently being delivered by IT suppliers. It highlights the trend away from engaging salespeople early in the buying cycle but also highlights significant differences between buying products and services. The survey reveals that more than half of B2B buyers (53%) now like… 

Which training vendor?

May 18th, 2018 by

Methodology and scope A wide range of companies offer training and professional development services to the sales profession, making myriad claims about their capability – so determining the right partner for you can be a tricky process. In this study, a strategy grid was used to help position some of the leading UK, European and US vendors on a more… 

Business impact of sales training

May 18th, 2018 by

When SAP decided it had a need for teams to implement a new sales strategy to better address customer needs, it implemented a Challenger programme (alongside other components). Importantly, the company decided to include robust business impact metrics. Pipeline analysis* Account executives with a minimum of 180 days’ experience in their role at the time of the training have: +

Sales coaching for the digital age

May 18th, 2018 by

How Big Data-Driven Coaching has been boosting win rates. Maintaining a position of pre-eminence in the highly competitive IT industry requires leaders to adapt to changes in the business landscape more rapidly than the competition. Continued success also relies on the development of innovative sales enablement techniques that boost performance, help meet customer needs and achieve bottom-line results. Digital Transformation… 

2018 Q2 Research Review – edited by Jeremy Noad

May 18th, 2018 by

These pages aim to keep readers informed of recently published research on sales-related topics, by including abstracts of peer-reviewed academic research published in a range of journals. In this edition, we have grouped them into four broad themes: sales performance, customer management, capability development, and behavioural studies. Sales performance Sales organisations need to transform Professional sales and sales management are… 

Can a coaching culture improve the level of performance of salespeople in SMEs?

May 18th, 2018 by

Coaching in Ireland is in the early stage of its life cycle, mostly used by “early adopters” rather than being in the mainstream of management tools. The use of coaching in companies as a development tool for employees has exploded over the past 15 to 20 years. According to a report by Frank Bresser (2009) there are about 43,000 to… 

Recruiting coachable salespeople

May 18th, 2018 by

Can organisations understand how to recruit salespeople who are adaptable, coachable, and willing to embrace new learning? What makes a good salesperson? Arguably there are many characteristics and behaviours, and whilst some commentators pigeon-hole salespeople with simplistic titles to define their characters (Dixon and Adamson 2011), others take a different view and suggest that great salespeople demonstrate “differentiating mind-sets”, reflected…