Research

The latest research from sales leaders working in global companies comes together with studies from academic institutions and top consultancies to enhance our understanding of professional sales. Here you’ll also find the Journal’s own cutting-edge research designed by leading academics to help keep you one step ahead.

Impossible to ignore

December 13th, 2019 by

Understanding the science of unforgettable selling presentations. Controlling your 10% For over a century, scientists have studied how much people remember (and conversely, how much they forget) after being exposed to new information. A psychological concept called the “Forgetting Curve” (Figure 1) suggests that people lose information over time when they make no effort to retain it. In the first… 


Purpose as a profit centre

December 13th, 2019 by

How can we, with an improved understanding of SAP’s purpose and promise, support global account leaders to strengthen their business conversations and relevance? During one of the meetings with SAP’s Corporate Strategy team we discussed the Maslow pyramid (Maslow 1943: 370-396) and how it links to the maturity of partnerships. We wondered if purpose is considered as the highest level… 


Virtual training can be better than the classroom

September 11th, 2019 by

New, controlled field test proves effectiveness of online alternative. When it comes to creating lasting behaviour change in salespeople, the assumption is that virtual sales skills training is a pale imitation of in-person classroom training. But what if an online training alternative could be proven as effective, if not more effective than classroom training? Can you imagine the possibilities for… 


Navigating choppy economic waters

September 10th, 2019 by

World-class sellers don’t expect success; they prepare for it. On the face of it, sellers appear to be on a winning streak. New figures from CSO Insights (the research division of Miller Heiman Group) reveal that, over the period 2017–19, sales organisations globally saw a 7% increase across both revenue and quota target attainment. However, before sales teams are too… 


2019 Q3 Research Review – edited by Jeremy Noad

September 10th, 2019 by

These pages aim to keep readers up to date with recently published research on sales-related topics. The review highlights short abstracts of academically peer-reviewed research from a range of academic journals. In this edition, the abstracts are across two themes that focus on sales performance and sales behaviours Sales Performance Fail fast in the initial stages of the sales process… 


Gaining executive access

September 10th, 2019 by

The approach advocated by so many executive access strategies finished dead last. Original research explores messaging approaches for gaining access to senior execs… and which approach works best. Getting meetings with senior executives has never been more important, but any salesperson you ask will say that it’s now harder than ever. The conventional wisdom is that, if you want to… 


Research identifies three key sales competencies

September 10th, 2019 by

As B2B buying behaviour evolves, how can sales organisations adapt? This is the third of a series of articles in which Dr Simon Kelly, Dr Paul Johnston and Stacey Danheiser explore customer value and differentiation. In this article they offer an early view into their latest research around the roles and competencies required by salespeople to help their organisations differentiate… 


Questions or insights?

September 10th, 2019 by

Context is important in sales meetings. Successful approaches vary according to the level and function of the executive you are speaking to and how far along the buying journey they may be. Writing in Harvard Business Review, Journal contributor Dr Frank Cespedes and Tracy DeCicco warn of the negative consequences of choosing the wrong sales approach for the circumstances, such… 


Inside sales organisations risk losing 24% of employees

September 10th, 2019 by

Some 24% of inside sellers are actively looking for a new job, with the three most common reasons being dissatisfaction with the competitiveness of compensation package, manager quality, and the degree of respect the organisation shows employees. That’s according to findings from Gartner’s Global Labor Market Survey. The survey also highlights factors that would pull sales representatives to similar jobs… 


CSOs’ top three 2019 priorities – Gartner

September 10th, 2019 by

1. Improve effectiveness of sales development activities… 


Acquisition not the same as expansion

June 26th, 2019 by

The 1st Annual Customer Expansion Marketing and… 


Putting personalization to the (field) test

June 26th, 2019 by

Here we set out to discover what sort of communications personalization actually does drive action. One of the most-quoted lines in movie history comes from the classic film The Godfather. After Michael, the emerging leader of the Corleone crime family, lays out a ruthless plan for revenge against his enemies, he punctuates his strategy with the memorable line: “It’s not… 


From salesperson to sales manager

March 27th, 2019 by

How to make a successful transition from individual contributor to manager? Project aim The purpose of this project is to examine whether the transition from high-performing salesperson to effective sales manager can be made more successful. As McCall (2010) highlights, there is a big risk to this promotion: “When situations change dramatically, as is the case when a person is… 


Should sorry be the hardest word?

March 22nd, 2019 by

New research reveals a formula for communicating an apology that generates greater customer satisfaction and loyalty after a service failure. Service recovery paradox Have you ever had a service problem with a customer and worried about the negative impact it would have on your relationship and long-term revenue prospects? Maybe they won’t renew. Maybe they won’t buy more. And, worse,… 


Creating a sales control system

March 22nd, 2019 by

This project from 2016 explores how to create a sales control system designed to deliver a company’s key objectives. Introduction Sales is no longer an independent isolated function within an organisation, but is an integral and cross-functional part of a company’s strategy (Storbacka et al 2011). Sales now not only executes the strategy, but helps create and drive the strategy… 


What motivates our employees?

December 19th, 2018 by

This 2016 Masters project asks: Do employee motivation schemes have to be financially focused to improve engagement and output? Study background Do employee motivation schemes have to be financially focused to improve engagement and output? During previous employee appraisal meetings within my organisation, a number of our employees asked if the company would consider introducing a financially focused bonus scheme;… 


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… 


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 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,…