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Examining the use of sales force management practices

David A. Reid (Department of Marketing, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, USA)
Richard E. Plank (College of Business, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA)
Robert M. Peterson (Department of Marketing, College of Business, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, USA)
Gregory A. Rich (Department of Marketing, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, USA)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 7 August 2017




The purpose of this paper is to understand what sales management practices (SMPs) are being used by managers in the current market place, changes over time, insights that can be gained and future research needs.


Data for this paper were collected via a cross-sectional internet-based survey using a sampling frame provided by a professional sales publication. ANOVA was used to analyze 159 sales manager respondents.


Empirical results indicate that several differences are evident across the 68 SMPs items gathered, especially in terms of the size of the sales force and establish some data on using technology in sales management. However, in spite of significant changes in the sales environment, many SMPs have had limited change.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations of this paper include a sample frame drawn from a single source and via the internet and, thus, may have excluded some possible respondents from participation and somewhat limit generalizability.

Practical implications

The results of this paper raise a number of important issues for sales managers to consider. First, which SMPs should they be using? Managers need to give serious thought as to which practices they choose to use. Second, why are so many of them not making more extensive use of sales force technology? Third, is it wise for sales managers to be relying on executive opinion as their most extensively used forecasting method or should they be emphasizing another approach? A fourth issue is the continued heavy emphasis on generating sales volume as opposed to profits.


The data provide a rare and updated understanding of the use of SMPs by sales managers.



Reid, D.A., Plank, R.E., Peterson, R.M. and Rich, G.A. (2017), "Examining the use of sales force management practices", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 32 No. 7, pp. 974-986.



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