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.

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,… 


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,… 


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… 


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… 


Three often-overlooked topics to enhance sales practice

March 12th, 2018 by

Why the three topics of coaching, change management and stakeholder engagement should be considered more seriously in the development of sales managers and sales professionals identified as high performers. Introduction I identified three topics I considered to be important to sales that were not usually taught or self-selected by salespeople, and that I believed would help outperformance in the long… 


Retaining high-performing salespeople

March 11th, 2018 by

Research findings uncover what high-performing salespeople want from their organizations and, just as importantly, what they don’t want. Understanding both categories is critical for organizations and leaders who want to create affective commitment and ultimately retain their best-performing salespeople. As a successful salesperson and a manager of salespeople, I am passionately interested in how high-performing salespeople can be engaged and… 


Ethics in sales: a novel approach to sales education

March 8th, 2018 by

Completed in May 2016, this Masters project investigates links between ethics and education, and sets out to evaluate the impact that longer-term education will have on individual sales behaviour. The aim of this research is to investigate if there is a link between the subject of ethics and education, and to evaluate the impact that longer-term education will have on… 


“Why evolve?”

March 8th, 2018 by

New research identifies how best to handle upselling or cross-sell conversations. “What about this selling situation?” That’s typically the first question we hear whenever we’ve conducted a study that sheds light on the buyer psychology of some critical moment in the purchase cycle. There’s always somebody waiting with the next question that needs to be run through the research gauntlet…. 


Different sales and marketing thought-worlds

December 15th, 2017 by

Which cross-functional integration mechanisms improve the relationship between sales and marketing functions? The article by Douek on the importance of intra-collaboration between sales teams in complex sales situations in the previous edition of the Journal has highlighted the need to revisit the thorny subject of the internal relationship between sales and marketing functions. Previous research has established that where there… 


“Why now?” What message moves executive buyers to act?

December 14th, 2017 by

New research reveals the most effective story for making a breakthrough business case to executive-level buyers. In the previous issue of the Journal, I laid out why there’s serious urgency around salespeople needing to become better at making a compelling business case that moves executive-level decision-makers to buy now. I discussed how business proposals need to become more executive-relevant –…