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.

Re-sharpening the customer focus in B2B markets: understanding selling as “marketing in action”

September 3rd, 2016 by

In today’s ultra-competitive markets it is imperative that salespeople work to continuously sharpen their customer focus. By comparing the new model of personal selling with the marketing process, this article provides an agenda for helping to make it happen. Introduction Despite the rise of online selling, in many markets – especially B2B – personal selling remains a critical component of… 


Delivering a step change

September 3rd, 2016 by

How a productivity programme for a major bank achieved success through the introduction of a behavioural operating model for branch teams and, most importantly, team managers. Introduction The banking group concerned in this study is a diverse retail and commercial bank with 14,760 branches (more than any other international bank), over 193,000 employees and 102 million customers worldwide. Currently the… 


Coaching for the Cloud

September 3rd, 2016 by

As part of his Masters programme, SAP’s Brice Faure researched whether a sustainable coaching methodology could support SAP sales managers during the process of transforming the business into the Cloud. The concept of coaching has been much discussed in recent decades and part of my project has been to understand what coaching means and embraces. Too often in my reading,… 


7 steps to cultural heaven

April 7th, 2016 by

Roger Brooksbank and Zahed Subhan explore how salespeople can help to grow a customer-led organisational culture. Abstract Since salespeople are at the cutting edge of a company’s overall marketing effort it means their knowledge of marketplace dynamics is second to none. High-performing companies understand the value of this knowledge and harness it by involving them in growing a truly customer-led… 


Fixing the revenue process bit by bit

January 30th, 2016 by

Why does the typical revenue-generation process yield only 2% and how can marginal improvements transform your sales performance? The revenue generation process is typically seen as a series of loosely connected but separate activities by most organisations. When the yields from each step are combined, the resultant efficiency is just 2.1% – see survey results below and page 5 of… 


Is conflict within a relationship a bad thing?

January 28th, 2016 by

Is conflict within a business-to-business (B2B) relationship a bad thing? Gargiulo & Ertug (2006) argue that hostility and bitterness resulting from disagreements not being resolved amicably can lead to almost pathological consequences such as relationship dissolution. However, when disputes are resolved amicably, such disagreements can be referred to as functional conflict, because they prevent stagnation, stimulate interest and create curiosity,… 


Align or die?

October 31st, 2015 by

How do we re-engineer the sales and marketing interface for the benefit of our customers? Just as I sat down to write this article my email pinged. I tried to ignore it as I’d just come back from an excellent “Sales-Mind“ workshop that reminded me of the foolishness of multitasking. Then I saw the title – “Brands failing to align… 


Opening the “third box”

October 31st, 2015 by

As part of his MSc Professional Practice in Sales Transformation, Sony Mobile’s Russell Keating explores how to unlock more sales through a strategic understanding of his client’s key concerns as well as those of his own organisation. This project relates to work with one of the largest mobile phone operators in Ireland, referred to as the “client” throughout this paper…. 


Keep CARM and talk smarter

October 31st, 2015 by

Researchers from Loughborough University suggest that commercial sales “scripts”, and a great deal of communication training, fail to identify what really works to convert callers to clients and optimize the customer experience. Here, they explore evidence-based training for sales conversations – the Conversation Analytic Role-play Method. How do you know that your telephone sales calls, “recorded for training purposes”, are… 


The challenge of sales competitions

October 31st, 2015 by

Tony Douglas investigates the role and relevance of university sales competitions to sales education from the perspective of business school students. Professional or personal selling has not been regarded by academics in general – nor indeed practitioners – as a profession that can be (or should be) taught at university (Douglas, 2011; Rutterford, 2011; McCourt, 2011). Though this may well… 


KAM – the art of performance

October 31st, 2015 by

Much has been talked about the nature of value propositions but how do KAMs go about the act of proposing value? Paul Johnston explores KAM distinctiveness, social context and identity. What makes a key account manager distinctive from other salespeople? Much has been researched and written about KAM best practice (see for example Rackham, 1995; Payne et al, 1998; Ulaga,… 


Can contracts boost trust?

July 6th, 2015 by

As businesses start to compete on their ability to perform and deliver results over time, contract terms are becoming the new platform for successful selling, argues the IACCM’s CEO Tim Cummins. Successful selling has never been an easy task. As time passes, it seems to become harder. Buyers are increasingly informed, aggressive and often cynical. Internet search has disrupted the… 


Field of dreams

July 6th, 2015 by

When SAP set out to update its go-to-market approach, sales enablement also embarked on its own journey in support of the process. Axel Ferreyrolles talks about his voyage of discovery. With the advent of “the cloud”, shifting market conditions and changing customer expectations, enterprise application software giant SAP understood that it had to adapt. For Axel Ferreyrolles, head of sales… 


How profits fight poverty

July 6th, 2015 by

Dr Roy Whitten and Scott Roy discuss how selling can be a catalyst for change and a force for good in the developing world. Selling stuff to poor people – sounds shameful, doesn’t it? Well, it isn’t ¬– that is, if you want them to actually use products that can literally change their lives. Sanitary latrines that prevent contamination of… 


Have you thought about this?

July 6th, 2015 by

Tim Riesterer, chief strategy officer at Corporate Visions, explains why articulating a customer’s “unconsidered needs” can make you stand out. The proposition Does the following scenario sound familiar? It’s your first sales conversation with a prospect in the field. There you are, face-to-face with a potential buyer, launching into your pitch. So far, so good. Why wouldn’t it be? You… 


Coaching Brain

July 6th, 2015 by

At the recent APS Annual Conference, Gill McKay of MyBrain International explored how neuroscience can help transform our coaching style. We’re probably all aware of the benefits of effective coaching: transforming salespeople into sales champions; maximising their potential and motivating people to be the best they can be; increasing engagement and talent retention; driving accountability; developing a more agile organisation;… 


Personal growth leads to business growth

July 6th, 2015 by

As part of his MSc Professional Practice in Sales Leadership, Sony Mobile’s Gustavo Mancera describes how research and reflection led to a new mind-set and approach that created differentiation in the marketplace. The problem to be addressed The rapidly changing market affected the entire team´s mind-sets including myself. We had fallen prey to negative mind-sets (Squire, 2009) while struggling to… 


The subtle approach

July 6th, 2015 by

Does coaching work best when team members are not even aware it is happening? Angie Dixey investigates. As organisations increasingly turn to coaching to help improve sales performance and develop talent, performing the role of “coach” has become a commonplace responsibility for sales managers. Yet, even as organisations continue to expect this activity from their managers, the issue of whether… 


Best practice for running an effective salesperson onboarding programme

July 6th, 2015 by

New research suggests the most successful programmes pursue a calculated blend of sales training and coaching activities. The bar has been raised. In a world where businesses are becoming increasingly proficient at managing a range of multi-channel, multi-touch and highly customer-focused interactions, how can we ensure that our newly recruited salespeople measure up to customers’ expectations? Toward this end, many… 


Re-imagining the hiring process to support growth aspirations

April 11th, 2015 by

As part of his SAP Masters programme, Paul Devlin is exploring how sales transformation can be implemented within his team and wider organisation. Here, he discusses how he has used reflection, “action research” and “appreciative inquiry” to enhance the sales recruitment process.   Current situation I lead a sales team of 18. The SAP MENA teams and my annual growth…