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Sales manager training practices in small and large firms

C. David Shepherd (Department of Management, Marketing, and Logistics, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Georgia, USA)
Geoffrey L. Gordon (Department of Marketing, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, USA)
Rick E. Ridnour (Department of Marketing, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, USA)
Dan C. Weilbaker (Department of Marketing, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, USA)
Brian Lambert (American Society for Training and Development, Alexandria, Virginia, USA)

American Journal of Business

ISSN: 1935-5181

Article publication date: 28 October 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine practices of and differences between small and large organizations as they relate to the training of sales managers.

Design/methodology/approach

Utilizing a survey approach, data were collected from a sample of sales managers and trainers employed by firms across the USA. Analysis was conducted between “small” and “large” organizations based on sales force size.

Findings

While many similarities do exist between small and large firms' sales manager training practices, some significant differences also exist in terms of teaching approaches, types of instructors, training locations, methods, and content utilized. Results of the current study exhibit both similarities and differences as compared to results of sales manager training practices found in earlier studies.

Research limitations/implications

The study was based on a sample of sales managers and trainers employed by firms within the USA. Sales manager training practices could differ due to cultural differences, the industry the firm competes in, and other factors.

Practical implications

First, sales manager training activities show more similarities than differences between small and large firms. Second, internet‐based training methods are becoming prevalent in large firms while still struggling for acceptance in smaller ones. Third, no one type of instructor is viewed as being highly effective in either small or large firms. Fourth, senior management must support and encourage positive behavioral changes associated with sales manager training or else efforts will fail.

Originality/value

The current study answers the call for research to identify contemporary sales manager training practices, building upon results of previous studies.

Keywords

Citation

Shepherd, C.D., Gordon, G.L., Ridnour, R.E., Weilbaker, D.C. and Lambert, B. (2011), "Sales manager training practices in small and large firms", American Journal of Business, Vol. 26 No. 2, pp. 92-117. https://doi.org/10.1108/19355181111174499

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited