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Article
Publication date: 13 January 2021

Karen M. Peesker, Lynette J. Ryals, Gregory A. Rich and Lenita Davis

The purpose of this study is to identify and explain how leadership behaviors of sales managers can enhance the development of salespeople within the context of those…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to identify and explain how leadership behaviors of sales managers can enhance the development of salespeople within the context of those interpersonal connections and interactions that is the sales ecosystem.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors collected and analyzed qualitative data from in-depth interviews with a sample of 36 sales professionals. Over 47 hours of interviews were transcribed and analyzed via NVivo. The statements were labeled as particular leader behaviors using the Miles and Huberman (1994) coding system.

Findings

The study identifies coaching, customer engaging, collaborating and championing as the four key leader behaviors that are relevant to the sales ecosystem. Specifically, coaching and customer engaging enhance the individual microsystems of salespeople; and collaborating and championing enhance the corresponding mesosystems. Analysis of the interview statements further revealed that trust, confidence, optimism and resilience are four relational elements that tend to coexist with these leader behaviors in the sales ecosystem.

Practical implications

This study provides a structure for sales organizations to strengthen their sales ecosystem through targeted interventions and training for those that manage salespeople. Past research finds that sales organizations too often neglect this type of managerial training.

Originality/value

This is the first study to examine sales leadership through the lens of Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) ecological systems theory. Further, the qualitative methodology, which is relatively unique in sales research, provides rich data that is particularly useful for exploring how and why things have happened.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 36 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 18 November 2020

Marta Giovannetti, Silvio Cardinali and Piyush Sharma

This paper aims to explore the impact of salespeople’s goal orientation and self-regulatory mode on their performance through sales ambidexterity and sales technology…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the impact of salespeople’s goal orientation and self-regulatory mode on their performance through sales ambidexterity and sales technology infusion (STI) using a sales technology ecosystem approach.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper adopts a qualitative methodology, through in-depth interviews with salespeople from a diverse range of industries, age profiles and contexts, to explore the narratives and original meanings related to their goal orientation, self-regulatory mode, ambidexterity, STI and performance.

Findings

Sceptics are salespeople who may fear or hesitate to fully use the sales technology, whereas enthusiasts are ambidextrous salespeople with high STI, who are more open to change and able to face uncertainty, regardless of the differences in their background in terms of industry, age and experience.

Practical implications

STI may be influenced by individual factors, such as the salesperson’s goal orientation and self-regulatory mode. Hence, sales organizations should try to foster and facilitate further STI and sales ambidexterity, which are key to achieving positive outcomes in today’s technology-intensive sales settings.

Originality/value

This paper extends the current literature on sales technology and sales ambidexterity within a sales technology ecosystem perspective and provides new insight on the combined impact of these variables on the salesperson’s performance.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 36 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 3 December 2020

Sami Rusthollkarhu, Pia Hautamaki and Leena Aarikka-Stenroos

Digital ecosystemic business environments challenge dyadic approaches to value creation and particularly to business-to-business (B2B) sales. This paper aims to offer a…

Abstract

Purpose

Digital ecosystemic business environments challenge dyadic approaches to value creation and particularly to business-to-business (B2B) sales. This paper aims to offer a novel conceptualization of the connection between value creation and B2B sales, which indicates practical implications and builds an agenda for future research.

Design/methodology/approach

This conceptual paper integrates theoretical insights on service-dominant logic, service ecosystems, interactional value co-creation and B2B sales. This paper uses anecdotal evidence from the field of B2B sales to illustrate theoretical concepts developed in the paper.

Findings

The paper develops the concept of value idea emergence (VIE), the process through which B2B entities become aware of a pursuable benefit. The paper further proposes that value (co-)creation in ecosystems happens through VIE’s intertwinement with the process of value proposition creation, a process, which includes all activities needed to bring a value proposition to a customer. The paper then discusses the role of B2B in these processes and proposes an agenda for future research.

Practical implications

The novel conceptualizations of value (co-)creation can help B2B sales managers to understand the ecosystemic nature of the interactions that affect sales and value creation in the current business environment.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the literature on B2B sales and value creation by proposing a novel concept of VIE, introducing a conceptual model of interactive value (co-)creation in ecosystems and reformulating the role of B2B sales in value creation. These theory-developing insights can be used to guide both academic and managerial attention to interactions happening in the ecosystem outside of the buyer-seller dyad.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 36 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 16 February 2021

Ari Alamäki and Pentti Korpela

This study aimed to examine the digital transformation of business-to-business (B2B) sales and its effects on the management of value-based selling.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aimed to examine the digital transformation of business-to-business (B2B) sales and its effects on the management of value-based selling.

Design/methodology/approach

The study adopted a qualitative interview research design. A total of two participant groups—one consisting of sales management professionals and the other consisting of buyers—were created to conduct abductive data analysis to gain a new understanding of B2B sales management.

Findings

As a result of the digital transformation of sales, companies are shifting B2B sales towards value-based selling using a more proactive, continuous process wherein digital value co-creation activities play a big role. Similarly, their buyers now expect more proactive communication about new value propositions, but social media channels are of little importance to most B2B buyers. The management of digital value co-creation activities should be addressed from the sales ecosystem perspective, where non-sellers tend to have a strong role in communicating new value propositions.

Research limitations/implications

There needs to be further research on digital value co-creation activities in the sales ecosystem, as value-based selling requires that selling organizations focus more on educational digital content marketing and engagement with non-sellers via both marketing and sales activities.

Practical implications

Companies rarely exploit experts and project personnel when implementing digital sales strategies; however, they often meet with customers personally and network with them. This requires a broader perspective on sales management.

Originality/value

This is one of the first studies to explore the management of value-based selling from both seller and buyer perspectives.

Details

Baltic Journal of Management, vol. 16 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5265

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 25 May 2021

Lenita Davis, Pia Hautamaki and Dawn R. Deeter-schmelz

Abstract

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 36 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article
Publication date: 28 October 2020

Avinash Malshe and Michael T. Krush

The purpose of this study is to understand one portion of the sales ecological system. This paper focuses on the mesolevel or intra-organizational system that includes the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to understand one portion of the sales ecological system. This paper focuses on the mesolevel or intra-organizational system that includes the sales and marketing functions. This paper examines distinct tensions at three levels of the firm’s hierarchy and the mechanisms used to manage the tensions.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors use a qualitative data collection. A discovery-oriented process is used to understand the interconnections that exist among marketing-sales dyads at three organizational levels across several firms.

Findings

This paper uncovers distinct tensions and defenses exhibited by managers at each hierarchical level and this paper presents mechanisms that can are used to reduce the tensions.

Research limitations/implications

The multi-level perspective demonstrates the value of examining the intra-organizational aspect of the sales ecosystem. This paper uses a qualitative approach to highlight that sales-marketing tensions are unique to each of the hierarchical levels. This paper demonstrates that the tensions are a function of the unique roles each sales and marketing executive has within the organization.

Practical implications

To make the sales and marketing interface more effective, managers need to view tensions across the sales-marketing interface as complementary versus opposing forces. Managers must balance these tensions, rather than fight them and/or select one of the alternatives over the other. This paper suggests that paradoxical thinking may be a valued skillset for managers at each level of the organization.

Originality/value

The study uses a unique qualitative data set that examines the sales-marketing interface across three levels of an organizational hierarchy. Through this approach, this paper delineates specific tensions between marketing and sales within each level of the firm. This paper also describes mechanisms to manage the tensions common within the sales-marketing interface.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 36 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Book part
Publication date: 31 August 2016

Douglas P. Hannah, Robert P. Bremner and Kathleen M. Eisenhardt

This paper addresses resource redeployment in ecosystems. Prior research examines the value of resource redeployment across product markets in multi-business firms. In…

Abstract

This paper addresses resource redeployment in ecosystems. Prior research examines the value of resource redeployment across product markets in multi-business firms. In contrast, resource redeployment across ecosystems is an important corporate strategy employed by both single- and multi-business ecosystem firms that has received little attention. To address this gap, we present a case study of resource redeployment by an entrepreneurial firm in the US residential solar industry. We propose that the value creation mechanisms (i.e., improving capabilities, bottleneck relief) are fundamentally different when resources are redeployed in ecosystems. We identify “consumption-side” interdependence of components and “production-side” resource relatedness as playing critical roles in both types of value creation and propose conditions under which resource redeployment is most valuable. Overall, we contribute insights into the literatures on resource redeployment and strategy in business ecosystems.

Details

Resource Redeployment and Corporate Strategy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-508-9

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Article
Publication date: 30 November 2020

Patrick Weretecki, Goetz Greve and Jörg Henseler

The purpose of this paper is to investigate selling actors in multi-actor sales ecosystems. When selling actors start taking over tasks that were formerly performed by…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate selling actors in multi-actor sales ecosystems. When selling actors start taking over tasks that were formerly performed by salespeople, the distribution of tasks, allocation of responsibilities and finally the role of the salespeople changes. However, little is known about salespersons’ perceptions of selling actors’ identities and participation behavior in multi-actor sales ecosystems.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conducted a World Café, a new qualitative method to the field of sales research, to obtain first data on selling actor identities in multi-actor sales ecosystems. Salespeople, who had the chance to observe and interact with more than 98,000 selling actors, disclosed their perceptions of selling actors’ participation behavior in a multi-actor sales ecosystem. Four different data sources were analyzed using qualitative content analysis to develop a comprehensive understanding of the topic and to test validity through the convergence of information from different sources.

Findings

Using identity theory, a salesperson–selling actor relationship/behavior typology for multi-actor sales ecosystems was developed. Eight different selling actor identities were identified: avoider, observer, receptive actor, prepper, expecter, savvy actor, challenger and coworker.

Originality/value

The typology provides researchers and managers with a tool to better understand and evaluate sales ecosystems. This knowledge can be used as a starting point for the reassessment of the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary for salespeople in multi-actor sales ecosystems and to improve their training and coaching. The firsthand experiences reported by the participants of the World Café enable salespeople to identify different selling actors faster and prepare fitting approaches for all selling actor identities.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 36 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article
Publication date: 3 February 2021

Michel Klein

The concept of emotional labor refers to the management of emotions in interaction with customers. This study aims to suggest an integrative definition of emotional labor…

Abstract

Purpose

The concept of emotional labor refers to the management of emotions in interaction with customers. This study aims to suggest an integrative definition of emotional labor. It develops a conceptual framework that helps organize and synthesize key insights from the literature, in an interactional and multi-level perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

This integrated framework consists in a mapping of key research themes resulting from a systematic literature review, which includes research in sales and marketing. As critical affective processes in sales have not been studied sufficiently, both in business-to-business and business-to-customer selling, this review also incorporates works in other research fields.

Findings

Sales representatives’ emotional labor must be considered as a bi-directional interaction with the customer in a multi-level perspective. Moreover, emotional labor has rather negative consequences for the salesperson (e.g. burnout and job stress), but may have positive sales and customer outcomes. Findings suggest that the expression of genuine emotions should be used during sales interactions. In addition, organizations should prevent customers’ negative behaviors (e.g. mistreatment).

Practical implications

Emotional labor key practical implications with regard to several management functions such as the recruitment, performance management and training (Ashkanasy and Daus, 2002) of the sales representatives.

Originality/value

Research on emotional labor in a sales ecosystem is scarce. It has largely covered service industry employees in contact with customers, but has not paid enough attention to sales representatives (Mikeska et al., 2015). The proposed integrated framework concerning emotional labor focuses on the bi-directional interaction between the sales representatives and their customers.

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Article
Publication date: 17 June 2019

Andreas Hinterhuber and Bernard Quancard

This paper aims to discuss the changing role of the strategic account manager (SAM).

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to discuss the changing role of the strategic account manager (SAM).

Design/methodology/approach

This paper takes the form of an interview.

Findings

SAMs, in the future, will be ecosystem captains capable of managing complex relationships and teams, of organizing data and of telling stories with analytics. SAMs in the future will be assessed along with a set of metrics that it is similar to metrics of how top management consultants are evaluated: activities, competencies, intermediary results, sales/margins and quantified business value.

Originality/value

This interview discusses the current and future best practices of strategic account management.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 40 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

Keywords

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