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.

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… 


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…