Is sales performance simply down to luck?

12th April 2015 |   Dr Beth Rogers

Dr Beth Rogers reports from the 8th Annual GSSI Conference.

Perhaps with some irony, the best paper of this year’s Global Sales Science Institute (GSSI) conference was titled “From Managing Sales Activities to Managing Luck: Can We Attribute Sales Performance to Luck?” Author Joel LeBon, an accomplished sales researcher from the University of Houston, joined academics and industry practitioners at GSSI’s 8th Annual Conference, which was held in the UK this year.

Any salesperson will know the feeling of relief when a “bluebird” order lands on the desk, especially if it arrives just after that almost certain order you promised the sales manager has backfired. Is this total luck? Some marketing activity or networking effort must lie behind every incoming enquiry. Gary Player’s quote “The harder I practise, the luckier I get” and Louis Pasteur’s “Chance favours the prepared mind” can both be applied to sales. As Joel Le Bon would put it, luck can be provoked.  

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Dr Beth Rogers has recently retired as Head of the Marketing and Sales Subject Group at Portsmouth Business School, She is also the author of Rethinking Sales Management. Before taking on an academic role, she had a career in sales and marketing in the information technology and professional services sectors. She is known as a pioneer of sales education from her work on key account management at Cranfield School of Management in the 1990s. Beth was elected chair of the UK National Sales Board from 2005-2009, which launched National Occupational Standards for the sales profession. She has taught account management and sales management in a variety of companies and countries, and has also contributed to the academic literature, trade magazines and The Times on sales topics.