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Article
Publication date: 12 August 2021

Thomas E. DeCarlo, Thomas Powers and Ashish Sharma

To sustain firm profitability, it is critical for sales managers to direct business-to-business (B2B) salespeople to generate revenues by simultaneously acquiring new…

Abstract

Purpose

To sustain firm profitability, it is critical for sales managers to direct business-to-business (B2B) salespeople to generate revenues by simultaneously acquiring new customers and selling to current customers. However, emerging research indicates territory-based B2B salespeople have a preferred customer engagement orientation that reflects a tendency for engaging in selling activities to new (i.e. hunters) and/or existing (i.e. farmers) customers, suggesting that managerial ambidexterity directives could have deleterious effects on salespeople. This paper aims to address this possibility by investigating the moderating effects of salesperson regulatory focus on the relationship between managerial directives for salesperson ambidexterity and salesperson job satisfaction.

Design/methodology/approach

The study uses a mixed-method approach by using a field study of 106 matched sales manager–salesperson dyads from a large Fortune 500 B2B industrial distributor sales force and an experiment involving 152 B2B salespeople from a cross-section of industries.

Findings

The results indicate that sales manager ambidexterity requests reduce salesperson job satisfaction. However, the findings also demonstrate that salesperson regulatory focus moderates these negative effects such that the negative effect of manager ambidexterity requests on job satisfaction is reduced for salespeople with high vs low levels of regulatory focus ambidexterity balance. The results from the cross-sectional experimental study illustrate the cognitive mechanism that helps explain why this occurs.

Research limitations/implications

The Fortune 500 firm used in Study 1 uses a territory-based generalist sales force model where salespeople are not incentivized to prioritize hunting over farming (and vice versa). As a result, the findings may not generalize to firms with hunting/farming incentive systems or to those that operate in particular industries requiring a focus on either hunting or farming.

Practical implications

The findings show why managers attempting to direct territory-based salespeople to increase their ambidexterity behaviors may undermine the job satisfaction of certain salespeople by triggering a decrease in motivation while the same directives have the opposite effect for other salespeople. The findings also demonstrate salesperson reactions to ambidexterity requests, which provide additional insights for effective salespeople hiring, training and management.

Originality/value

The findings have implications for better understanding the effectiveness of sales management leadership directives. The study also offers a promising direction for future research to investigate salesperson receptivity to managerial controls.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

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Article
Publication date: 3 March 2020

Stefan Sleep, Andrea L. Dixon, Thomas DeCarlo and Son K. Lam

This study aims to explore the changing nature of the inside sales role and the individual capabilities required for success. Additionally, it examines the influence of…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore the changing nature of the inside sales role and the individual capabilities required for success. Additionally, it examines the influence of organizational structure on inside sales force capabilities. Although business-to-business firms are investing heavily in inside sales forces, academic research lags behind this evolution.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a two-study qualitative approach, the authors examine contemporary inside sales forces’ responsibilities and operational configurations. Study 1 uses a cross-industry sample of sales leaders and professionals to examine roles and responsibilities. Study 2 used the second sample of sales leaders and professionals to explore the impact of various organizational configurations.

Findings

The study identifies important differences between inside and outside salespeople in terms of job demands and resources; inside salespeople’s greater reliance on sales technology and analytics than outside counterparts; and existing control systems’ failure to provide resources and incentives to match with inside salespeople’s increasing strategic benefits and job demands. The study also explores four distinct inside–outside configurations. The differences among these configurations help to explain the distinct benefits and costs of each configuration regarding the company, customer and intra sales force processes, which, in turn, determine inside salespeople’s strategic benefits and job demands.

Research limitations/implications

The authors discuss the theoretical implications of these findings for research on the evolving roles and capabilities of the inside sales force; antecedents and consequences of firms’ choice of inside–outside sales force configurations; and the impact of technology and the inside sales force. They propose a research agenda that includes a series of specific future research questions.

Practical implications

This study informs managers of the unique role of the inside sales force and how it differs from their outside counterpart. The results inform managers of the issues inherent to various inside sales configurations, helping them determine, which configuration best addresses their customers’ needs.

Originality/value

This research provides a detailed, updated account of the differences between inside and outside sales forces and the benefits/costs of major inside–outside sales force configurations. Drawing from job demands-resources, organizational structure and strategy-context fit theories, the authors develop research propositions about the underlying structural differences of inside-outside sales force configurations; how these differences drive the inside sales force’s increasing strategic benefits and job demands; and organizational choice of inside sales force configurations. A research agenda is then presented.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 54 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

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Article
Publication date: 14 September 2015

Thomas DeCarlo, Tirthankar Roy and Michael Barone

The purpose of this study is to examine how trends in historical data influence two types of predictive judgments: territory selection and salesperson hiring. Sales…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine how trends in historical data influence two types of predictive judgments: territory selection and salesperson hiring. Sales managers are confronted frequently with decisions that explicitly or implicitly involve forecasting with limited information. In doing so, they conceptualize how the magnitude of these trend effects may be affected by the experience managers have in making these types of judgments. Study 1 provides evidence of a curvilinear relationship between experience and reliance on the trend data whereby the sales territory selections of novice sales managers exhibited greater susceptibility to informational trends than did the evaluations of naïve and expert decision-makers. A benchmark analysis in Study 2 further revealed that the salesperson selections made by novice and expert sales managers were equally biased, albeit in opposite directions, with novices overweighting and experts underweighting historical performance trends. Implications of these findings are discussed, as are avenues for future research.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors employ an online experimental design methodology of practicing managers. For Study 1, they use regression, whereas Study 2 uses a deterministic process to develop a priori predictive benchmark forecasts. Ordinary least squares is then used to estimate manager’s decisions, which are then compared to the predictive forecasts to determine accuracy.

Findings

Study 1 provides evidence of a curvilinear relationship between experience and reliance on the trend data whereby the sales territory selections of novice sales managers exhibited greater susceptibility to informational trends than did the evaluations of naïve and expert decision-makers. A benchmark analysis in Study 2 further revealed that the salesperson selections made by novice and expert sales managers were equally biased, albeit in opposite directions, with novices overweighting and experts underweighting historical performance trends.

Originality/value

The present inquiry is the first to provide insights into an important issue that has been the subject of equivocal findings, namely, whether experience in a judgmental domain exerts a facilitating or debilitating effect on sales manager decision-making. In this regard, some research supports the intuition that experience in making a particular type of decision can insulate managers from judgmental bias and, in doing so, improve decision quality (see Shanteau, [1992a] for a summary). In contrast, other work provides a more pessimistic view by demonstrating that the quality of decision-making is either unaffected by or can erode with additional experience (Hutchinson et al., 2010). To help reconcile these conflicting findings, the authors presented and tested a theoretical framework conceptualizing how trends may influence predictive judgments across three levels of decision-maker experience.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 49 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1997

Thomas E. DeCarlo

Examines consumer perceptions regarding the effectiveness of government‐mandated alcohol warning labels and organizational efforts to promote responsible drinking from the…

Abstract

Examines consumer perceptions regarding the effectiveness of government‐mandated alcohol warning labels and organizational efforts to promote responsible drinking from the perspective of social judgment theory. Investigates receiver involvement as a predictor of perceived effectiveness for alcohol warnings and warning labels. Finds the relationship between levels of alcohol consumption and perceptions of warning‐label effectiveness to be insignificant; and that health consciousness to be ineffective in predicting perceptions of label effectiveness. However, health consciousness was related to the tendency to read product warning labels. Additionally, examines the source credibility and language intensity of the message for their effects on perceptions of alcohol warning effectiveness. The findings demonstrated that when highly credible sources use intensely worded alcohol warnings, the message is perceived to be more effective than when high‐credibility sources use less intensely worded warnings or when messages are presented by low‐credibility sources.

Details

Journal of Consumer Marketing, vol. 14 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0736-3761

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Article
Publication date: 28 August 2019

Valter Afonso Vieira, Valter da Silva Faia, James Boles, Bruno Rafael Marioti and Rita Cassia Pereira

The purpose of this study is to develop a theoretical model that posits locomotion-assessment ambidextrous orientation as predictor of salesperson acquisition–retention…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to develop a theoretical model that posits locomotion-assessment ambidextrous orientation as predictor of salesperson acquisition–retention ambidexterity, which as a consequence increases sales. The authors drawing on regulatory focus theory and self-regulatory for this propose.

Design/methodology/approach

Salespeople involved in the study represent different firms selling a wide variety of food and household products to a wholesaler, which resells them to supermarket chains. The authors collected data from 231 industrial salespeople.

Findings

First, salesperson assessment focus amplified locomotion’s effect on acquisition–retention ambidexterity. Second, salespeople increased their performance by implementing an acquisition–retention ambidextrous orientation that balances prospecting for new customers and growing existing customers. Third, findings revealed a mediating effect of ambidextrous orientation on the relationship between regulatory mode and sales performance. Finally, outcomes supported the conditional moderated-mediated effect of regulatory mode in explaining performance through ambidextrous orientation.

Practical implications

Results suggest that salespeople need to equalize their dual orientations in a complementary way to elaborate their selling strategies according to each customer. For example, in an unbalanced orientation, putting high levels of assessment into a sales encounter can reduce the effective and efficient use of time in interacting with customers.

Originality/value

The authors further illustrate the importance of using both locomotion and assessment in attaining sales goals (Pierro et al. 2013). This synergistic effect is known as the complementary hypothesis (Pierro et al., 2006a, 2006b). Each dimension complements the other and has a moderated-mediated effect on performance through acquisition–retention ambidexterity.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 34 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article
Publication date: 1 November 2001

Linda S. Pettijohn, R. Stephen Parker, Charles E. Pettijohn and ohn L. Kent

Performance appraisals are often described asthe “job managers love to hate”. A study was designed to provide sales managers with information designed to increase the…

Abstract

Performance appraisals are often described asthe “job managers love to hate”. A study was designed to provide sales managers with information designed to increase the benefits of engaging in the evaluation process and reduce the negative sentiments often associated with appraisals. To accomplish this objective, 214 salespeople were personally interviewed and asked to provide information regarding their perceptions of their performance appraisals. The results indicate that salespeople have positive perceptions regarding the appraisal process. Findings also indicate that while salespeople are oftenevaluated at least twice annually, the criteria used are not always the ones thatsalespeople view as being the most appropriate. The conclusions derived from the analysis may provide insight to sales managers as they attempt to develop and implement appraisal processes that are viewed as being valid and as they attempt to enhance the benefits that may be obtained from engaging in this process.

Details

Journal of Management Development, vol. 20 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0262-1711

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 1996

Thomas L. Ainscough, homas E. DeCarlo and homas W. Leigh

Expert systems seek to solve problems by using a computer to apply reasoning methodologies to knowledge in a specific domain in order to render advice or recommendations…

Abstract

Expert systems seek to solve problems by using a computer to apply reasoning methodologies to knowledge in a specific domain in order to render advice or recommendations, much like a human expert. Presents a methodology which uses the behavioral rules of multiple expert salespeople to develop a prototype of a flexible, yet systematic, sales expert system. The prototype expert system in this study was built using the selling scripts and if‐then contingency rules of expert salespeople in the insurance industry. The system mimics the selling process for interviewing, qualifying, and scheduling an appointment with an insurance prospect. While the expert system describes a relatively simple selling process, relative to the complexity of an actual face‐to‐face sales call, the procedure described is quite general.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

Keywords

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 20 June 2017

David Shinar

Abstract

Details

Traffic Safety and Human Behavior
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-222-4

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Article
Publication date: 29 July 2019

Anthony Thomas Garcia, Anthony Loviscek and Kangzhen Xie

Does Fortune magazine’s list of the 100 Fastest-Growing Companies have information content; that is, is the list a source for market-beating performance? The paper aims to…

Abstract

Purpose

Does Fortune magazine’s list of the 100 Fastest-Growing Companies have information content; that is, is the list a source for market-beating performance? The paper aims to discuss this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

Using data for 26 annual periods, 1991–2016, the paper examines the top 5, 10, 25, 50 and all 100 stocks on a return-risk basis, including an application of Modern Portfolio Theory. To generate portfolio performance metrics, the study uses conventional mean-variance analysis, which includes the estimation of returns and risks, where risk will be measured by standard deviation and β. To arrive at the performance metrics and to determine whether information content is embedded in the list, the study reviews a series of tests. Because Fortune ranks the companies from 1 to 100, the data can be used to test if information content is displayed in sub-groups, such as in the first five to ten companies, even if it does not exist in the 100-stock portfolios.

Findings

The study finds that the returns are not high enough nor are the risks low enough statistically to conclude the existence of significant information content.

Research limitations/implications

As part of the authors’ efforts to move to the population of 2,600 firms as closely as possible, the authors use “delisting” returns from CRSP on 120 firms to account for missing observations, with a final sample size of 2,594 firms.

Practical implications

The evidence indicates that investors drawn to Fortune’s “100 Fastest-Growing Companies” should view them skeptically as a source for an effective stock selection strategy.

Originality/value

On the basis of the results of this study, readers will conclude that subscribers drawn to Fortune’s “100 Fastest-Growing Companies” should view them skeptically for investment recommendations. From a portfolio perspective, the study is unable to uncover information content that could lead to a market-beating performance, suggesting that the published criteria Fortune uses to select the Fastest-Growing Companies is embedded in the prices of the stocks even before Fortune publishes its list. The study notes that the selection criteria used by Fortune do involve some judgments on the part of the editorial staff (e.g. whether an announced restatement of previously reported financial data appears to have a significant impact), which means that someone who wished to anticipate the publication of the next list of the “Fastest-Growing Companies” would not only have to gather information but would also have to correctly anticipate these judgment calls.

Details

Managerial Finance, vol. 45 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4358

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1974

Frances Neel Cheney

Communications regarding this column should be addressed to Mrs. Cheney, Peabody Library School, Nashville, Tenn. 37203. Mrs. Cheney does not sell the books listed here…

Abstract

Communications regarding this column should be addressed to Mrs. Cheney, Peabody Library School, Nashville, Tenn. 37203. Mrs. Cheney does not sell the books listed here. They are available through normal trade sources. Mrs. Cheney, being a member of the editorial board of Pierian Press, will not review Pierian Press reference books in this column. Descriptions of Pierian Press reference books will be included elsewhere in this publication.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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