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Inside sales agent’s sales activities influence on work outcomes and sales agent tenure through autonomous motivation

Richard Conde (University of Houston Downtown, Houston, Texas, USA)
Victor Prybutok (University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, USA)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 2 November 2020

Issue publication date: 25 May 2021




Previous sales research remains limited to analyzing the influence of sales activities with sales agent tenure. To date, research on this subject has focused on the downstream direct or indirect impact of sales activities to sales performance, failing to consider whether sales activities impact a sales agent’s tenure. This paper aims to assess the effect of sales activities on sales performance and sales agent engagement on sales agent tenure through the lens of autonomous motivation to better understand sales activities as an overall sales process antecedent


Through the utilization of secondary sales operational data, this research demonstrates the influence of sales activities on multiple sales agent outcomes, while depicting the importance of sales managers creating an autonomous motivational climate.


This research demonstrates the direct relationship between sales activities to job engagement and sales performance. However, sales activities have a negative relationship to sales agent tenure, which require a sales manager to create an autonomous motivation to mediate the relationship between sales activities and sales agent tenure.

Practical implications

Organizations are provided with sample methodology and analysis to better determine how a culture grounded in autonomous motivation mediates sales activities and can be a catalyst for improving sales agent tenure. Then, provide a better understanding of the effect of actual sales activities on important sales department work outcomes.


The model is the first to test holistically the influence of sales activities on sales performance, sales agent engagement and tenure jointly by using actual secondary operational data. This study provides a glimpse of the real world balance a sales manager must consider between climate and activities. Plus, this study takes initial steps to study sales agent engagement, an under-researched construct in sales research.



Funding: This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.


Conde, R. and Prybutok, V. (2021), "Inside sales agent’s sales activities influence on work outcomes and sales agent tenure through autonomous motivation", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 36 No. 5, pp. 867-880.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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