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.

Agile leadership

July 27th, 2021 by

How applicable is agile leadership within a traditional organisational structure? The focus of my research project will be understanding what makes an agile leader and their ability to create and manage an agile organisation. What are the specific characteristics, cultural traits and mindset that define an agile leader and what makes them different? I investigate whether it is possible for… 


The Emerging Importance of Ethical Leadership

July 26th, 2021 by

Nostos (Ancient Greek: νόστος) is a theme common in Ancient Greek literature. It was brought to life in Homer’s Odyssey. Nostos concerns an epic hero returning home by the sea and retaining both his status and identity. In a metaphorical sense, I planned to use Homer’s Odyssey to draw upon my business life experiences and journey. Little did I know… 


Psychological contract

July 26th, 2021 by

Introducing the psychological contract into sales education The “psychological contract” approach in organisational terms makes claims for greater mutual commitment and motivation (Rousseau, 1995) and reciprocation (Coyle-Shapriro and Kessler, 2002). The importance of the psychological contract has been highlighted in the supply-chain context, especially in terms of how it may mediate the breaking of supplier relationships (Eckerd, Boyer, Qi, Eckerd,… 


Past, present and future of sales enablement

July 26th, 2021 by

Exploring the last decade of sales and sales enablement and what’s in store for the next ten years. There’s no question that B2B sales and the ways in which we sell have rapidly and fundamentally changed during the past year. But how does that compare with the past decade and, more importantly, where is the industry headed next? For many… 


Cultural and emotional barriers which cause resistance to change

April 26th, 2021 by

Literature review “The true measure of leadership is to confront the anxiety of the people of their time.” This quote by Jacinda Ardern, current Prime Minister of New Zealand, beautifully summarises the essence of leadership and reveals a depth in leadership qualities only acknowledged and explored by a few. Through introspective and autoethnographic work on developing and applying the ability… 


Do millennials have a chance?

April 26th, 2021 by

The theme of my research is to explore the extent to which companies need to adapt and change to cater to a multi-generational workforce, define what the distinct differences really are using facts data, and in the process also draw out similarities. I will look at how stereotypes and unconscious bias skew realities, responses and attitudes. My research seeks to… 


WORKING-FROM-HOME BURNOUT

April 23rd, 2021 by

FOR SALESPEOPLE, THE DEMANDS OF THE CONNECTED… 


Improved leadership communication

November 9th, 2020 by

How storytelling can help bridge the gap between management and teams. Even as we are communicating all the time, even if we are surrounded by communication all day, it is neither easy nor simple: “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place,” according to Whyte (1950). From my experience, I believe he is right…. 


Leadership in the digital future

November 9th, 2020 by

What are the required leadership behaviours that will help leaders succeed in the digital age, and to what extent do our leaders need to change their leadership behaviour in the future? Over 24 years I have held various sales and sales support roles at SAP. I had the chance to work with the largest customer (Siemens) as a Global Account… 


A (Virtual) Reality Check: Mastering remote selling

May 28th, 2020 by

How to make virtual sales presentations more engaging, more memorable and more effective. In an instant, the number of salespeople delivering remote presentations has reached 100%. But how do they feel about virtual sales calls, versus in-person meetings? Not good, according to our recent industry survey of over 500 B2B salespeople. Over 70% of salespeople believe that remote selling is… 


Decision contentment or buyer’s remorse?

May 26th, 2020 by

Identifying a B2B buyer’s post-decision “cognitive states” – consonance and dissonance – and how to accommodate them. Cognitive dissonance is experienced when a person suffers from the unpleasant and conflicted state of being “in two minds about something” – in other words, concurrently holding two or more contradictory cognitions (ie, perceptions, attitudes or beliefs). The concept became popularised among marketers… 


Moving from “I” to “We”

May 26th, 2020 by

How a relationship-based group coaching model can improve performance. As a salesperson and subsequent sales leader with more than two decades of experience, on-the-job learning has provided me with valuable insights and business management skills. However, given the rapidly evolving business environment, I realised the need to embark upon a continuous learning path. On learning about the SAP Master’s programme,… 


Helping cross-functional team leaders achieve better results

May 26th, 2020 by

Research led to the creation of a “Success Guide to Leading A Cross-Functional Team”. My aim with this research is to help cross-functional team leaders garner better team performance by providing an easily consumable, repeatable set of recommended behaviours and actions to help guide them to success. Team leaders can utilize the knowledge provided from these research findings for guidance,… 


Cross-cultural sales into China

May 26th, 2020 by

This study, adapted from a 2018 University of Portsmouth Business School MA Sales Management dissertation, explores the adaptive sales model and its suitability for cross-cultural sales into China. The author was surprised at the lack of cross-cultural awareness and understanding in global sales and communication, with even established exporting enterprises lacking an ability to fully engage and communicate effectively with… 


People-centred change

May 26th, 2020 by

This project explores a new approach to change management to enable better value for people. “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change” To a certain extent, I agree with this quote, attributed to Einstein, not because it is from a man recognised as a genius, but because it seems to make sense. There is a qualifying aspect in… 


Igniting a SPARK

May 26th, 2020 by

How to introduce a collaborative change methodology to further support embedding of a sales academy into an organization. “How will I introduce a collaborative change methodology to further support the embedding of the SPARK Sales Academy into our organisation?” Simon Sinek (2011) tells us to start with “why”. My concern begins to formulate by asking myself, “Why did my sales… 


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…