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Sales force automation usage, effectiveness, and cost‐benefit in Germany, England and the United States

Robert L. Engle (Vice President, Marketing and Sales Operation, Bayer Corp., Pharmaceutical Division, West Haven, Connecticut, USA)
Michael L. Barnes (Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, New Haven, Connecticut, USA)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 1 July 2000



A 42‐question survey on usage and beliefs regarding sales force automation (SFA) was collected, along with actual sales performance data, on 1,641 sales representatives of a large international pharmaceutical company in Germany, England, and the United States. The relationships between beliefs and usage and individual sales performance were examined both within and across countries and a cost‐benefit analysis completed. Factor analysis identified five usage groupings including: Planning and territory management; Administration and external information exchange; Within company communication; Active sales tool; and Passive sales tool. Significant usage, belief, and performance differences between countries were found, with the use of SFA explaining 16.4 per cent of the variance in sales performance across countries. General findings indicated that management and representatives believed SFA to be useful. US$22.2 million in sales increases were found to be attributable to SFA usage. At the same time, non‐discounted cash flow payback periods were found to range from 6.2 to 7.4 years. Potential contributing factors and implications are discussed.



Engle, R.L. and Barnes, M.L. (2000), "Sales force automation usage, effectiveness, and cost‐benefit in Germany, England and the United States", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 216-241.




Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

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