Marketing Letters

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 239–253 | Cite as

The embedded sales force: Connecting buying and selling organizations

  • Kevin Bradford
  • Steven Brown
  • Shankar Ganesan
  • Gary Hunter
  • Vincent Onyemah
  • Robert Palmatier
  • Dominique Rouziès
  • Rosann Spiro
  • Harish Sujan
  • Barton Weitz
Article

Abstract

Business-to-business firms are increasingly focusing on building long-term partnering relationships with key customers. Salespeople are often responsible for managing these relationships. To be effective as relationship managers, salespeople need to be embedded in both their firm’s and customers’ organizations. They need to have extensive knowledge of their customers’ business and also know and be able to leverage their firm’s resources to develop offerings tailored to their customers’ needs. Their companies and sales managers need to use different approaches to manage and support salespeople in this new role. In this paper, we examine some issues affecting the interfaces between elements of the embedded sales force and suggest some directions for future research and methods for examining these issues.

Keywords

Sales force Relationship Embedded 

References

  1. Amabile, T. M., Conti, R., Coon, H., Lazenby, J., & Herron, M. (1996). Assessing the work environment for creativity. Academy of Management Journal, 39(5), 1154–1184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson, E., & Oliver, R. (1987). Perspectives on behavior-based and outcome-based sales force control systems. Journal of Marketing, 51, 76–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson, E., & Onyemah, V. (2006). How right should the customer be? Harvard Business Review, 84(7/8), 58–67.Google Scholar
  4. Bell, S. (2007). Deep level composition variables as predictors of team performances: A meta-analyses. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92, 595–615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bradford, K., Liu, Y., Xu, J., Weitz, B. (2008a). Relationship orientation and salesperson effectiveness. In Presentation at Erin Anderson Research Conference. Philadelphia: The Wharton School, October 17–19.Google Scholar
  6. Bradford, K., Liu, Y., Xu, J., Weitz, B. (2008b). Internal selling behavior: an investigation of antecedents and consequences. In Presentation at Erin Anderson Research Conference. Philadelphia: The Wharton School, October 17–19, 2008.Google Scholar
  7. Brewer, M. B., & Chen, Y.-R. (2007). Where (who) are collectives in collectivism? Toward conceptual clarification of individualism and collectivism. Psychological Review, 14(1), 133–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brown, S. P., Westbrook, R. A., & Challagalla, G. (2005). Good cope, bad cope: adaptive and maladaptive coping strategies following a critical negative work event. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90(4), 792–798.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brown, S. P., Fu, F. Q., Jones, E., Baldauf, A. (2008). How to sell new products to the sales force: managerial influence and gate-keeping effects. In Presentation at Erin Anderson Research Conference. Philadelphia: The Wharton School, October 17–19.Google Scholar
  10. Challagalla, G. N., & Shervani, T. A. (1996). Dimensions and types of supervisory control: Effects on salesperson performance and satisfaction. Journal of Marketing, 60, 89–105.Google Scholar
  11. Chen, C.-A. (2008). Linking the knowledge creation process to organizational theories: A macro view of organization-environment change. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 21(3), 259–279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Christian, M., Ellis, A., Ganesan, S., Faure, C. (2008). The effects of goal orientation in teams: Much more than the mean. In Presentation at Erin Anderson Research Conference. Philadelphia: The Wharton School, October 17–19.Google Scholar
  13. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1997). Finding flow in everyday life. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  14. De Dreu, C. K. W., Carsten, K. W., & Van Vianen, A. E. M. (2001). Managing relationship conflict and the effectiveness of organizational teams. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 22(3), 309–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dixon, A., Spiro, R., & Jamil, M. (2001). Successful and unsuccessful sales calls: measuring salesperson attributions and behavioral intentions. Journal of Marketing, 65(3), 64–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dixon, A. L., Gassenheimer, J., & Barr, T. F. (2003). Identifying the lone-wolf: a team perspective. Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management, 23, 205–219.Google Scholar
  17. Ferris, G. L., Davidson, S. L., & Perrewé, P. L. (2005). Political skill at work: Impact on work effectiveness. Mountain View, CA: Davis-Black.Google Scholar
  18. Granovetter, M. (1999). Coase encounters and formal models: Taking gibbons seriously. Administrative Science Quarterly, 44(1), 158–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Homburg, C., & Jensen, O. (2007). The thought worlds of marketing and sales: Which differences make a difference? Journal of Marketing, 71, 124–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hunter, G. K., Panagopoulos, N. G. (2008). The moderating effects of customer-centric culture on the psychological mechanisms of change in sales technology to performance relationships. In Presentation at Erin Anderson Research Conference. Philadelphia: The Wharton School, October 17–19.Google Scholar
  21. Hunter, G. K., & Perreault, W. D., Jr. (2006). Sales technology orientation, information effectiveness, and sales performance. Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management, 26, 95–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hunter, G. K., & Perreault, W. D., Jr. (2007). Making sales technology effective. Journal of Marketing, 71, 16–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jap, S. (2003). An exploratory study of the introduction of online reverse auctions. Journal of Marketing, 67, 96–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jehn, K. A. (1997). A qualitative analysis of conflict types and dimensions in organizational groups. Administrative Science Quarterly, 42, 530–557.Google Scholar
  25. Jones, E., Brown, S., Zoltners, A., & Weitz, B. (2005a). Changing environment of selling and sales management. Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management, 25, 104–113.Google Scholar
  26. Jones, E., Dixon, A. L., Chonko, L. B., & Cannon, J. P. (2005b). Key accounts and team selling: a review, framework, and research agenda. Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management, 25, 182–198.Google Scholar
  27. Jones, E., Sundaram, S., & Chin, W. (2002). Factors leading to sales force automation use: A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management, 22(3), 145–156.Google Scholar
  28. Kipinis, D., & Schmidt, S. M. (1988). Upward-influence styles: relation with performance, evaluation. salary, and stress. Administrative Science Quarterly, 33(4), 528–542.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Krippner, G., Granovetter, M., Block, F., Biggart, N., Beamish, T., Hsing, Y., et al. (2004). Polanyi symposium: A conversation on embeddedness. Socio-Economic Review, 2, 109–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Maio, G. R., Thomas, G., Fincham, F. D., & Carnelley, K. B. (2008). Unraveling the role of forgiveness in family relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94(2), 307–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. McKnight, D. H., Cummings, L., & Chervany, N. (1998). Initial trust formation in new organizational relationships. Academy of Management Review, 23, 473–490.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Moon, M., & Armstrong, G. (1994). Selling teams: A conceptual framework and research agenda. Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management, 14, 17–31.Google Scholar
  33. Nonis, S. A., & Sager, J. K. (2003). Coping strategy profiles used by salespeople: Their relationships with personal characteristics and work outcomes. Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management, 23, 139–150.Google Scholar
  34. Oh, H., Labianca, G., & Chung, M.-H. (2006). A multilevel model of group social capital. Academy of Management Journal, 31(3), 569–582.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Onyemah, V. (2008). From sales force control systems to sales manager development: a sequence of studies. In Presentation at Erin Anderson Research Conference. Philadelphia: The Wharton School, October 17–19, 2008.Google Scholar
  36. Onyemah, V., & Anderson, E. (2009). Inconsistencies among the constitutive elements of a sales force control system: Test of a configuration theory-based performance prediction. Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management, 29(1), 9–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Palmatier, R. W. (2008). Interfirm relational drivers of customer value. Journal of Marketing, 72, 76–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Palmatier, R. W., Gopalakrishna, S., & Houston, M. B. (2006). Returns on business-to-business relationship marketing investments: Strategies for leveraging profits. Marketing Science, 25(5), 477–493.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Palmatier, R. W., Jarvis, C. B., Bechkoff, J. R., & Kardes, F. R. (2009). The role of customer gratitude in relationship marketing. Journal of Marketing, 73, 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Perry, M. L., Pearce, C., & Slims, H. P., Jr. (1999). Empowering selling teams: How shared leadership can contribute to selling team outcomes. Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management, 19, 35–52.Google Scholar
  41. Plouffe, C., & Barclay, D. W. (2007). Salesperson navigation: The intraorganizational dimension of the sales role. Industrial Marketing Management, 36, 528–539.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Porter, S. S., Kraft, F. B., & Claycomb, C. (2003). The practice of a wellness lifestyle in a selling environment: A conceptual exploration. The Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 23, 191–204.Google Scholar
  43. Rouziès, D., Anderson, E., Kohli, A., Michaels, R., Weitz, B., & Zoltners, A. (2005). Sales and marketing integration: A proposed framework. Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management, 25, 123–132.Google Scholar
  44. Rouziès, D., Hulland, J., Barclay, D. (2008). Marketing and sales interface: A social capital perspective. In Presentation at Erin Anderson Research Conference. Philadelphia: The Wharton School, October 17–19.Google Scholar
  45. Sengupta, S., Krapfel, R., & Pusateri, M. (2000). An empirical investigation of key account salesperson effectiveness. Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management, 20, 253–261.Google Scholar
  46. Sheth, J. N., & Sharma, A. (2008). The impact of the product to service shift in industrial markets and the evolution of the sales organization. Industrial Marketing Management, 37, 260–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sujan, H., Kacker, M. (2008). The effects of poor swales leadership on job satisfaction. In Presentation at Erin Anderson Research Conference. Philadelphia: The Wharton School, October 17–19.Google Scholar
  48. Sujan, H., Weitz, B. A., & Kumar, N. (1994). Learning orientation, working smart, and effective selling. Journal of Marketing, 58, 39–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Tuli, K. R., Kohli, A., & Bharadwaj, S. (2007). Rethinking customer solutions: from product bundles to relational processes. Journal of Marketing, 71, 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wagner, R., Sujan, H., Sujan, M., Rashotte, C., & Sternberg, R. (1999). Tacit knowledge in sales. In R. Sternberg & J. Horvath (Eds.), Tacit knowledge in professional practice: research and practitioner perspectives (pp. 155–182). Mahwah: Laurence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  51. Weitz, B., & Bradford, K. (1999). Personal selling and sales management: A relationship marketing perspective. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 27, 241–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wheelan, S. A. (Ed.). (2005). The handbook of group research and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  53. Workman, J. P., Homburg, C., & Jensen, O. (2003). Intraorganizational determinants of key account management effectiveness. Academy of Marketing Science Journal, 31, 3–21.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin Bradford
    • 1
  • Steven Brown
    • 2
  • Shankar Ganesan
    • 3
  • Gary Hunter
    • 4
  • Vincent Onyemah
    • 5
  • Robert Palmatier
    • 6
  • Dominique Rouziès
    • 7
  • Rosann Spiro
    • 8
  • Harish Sujan
    • 9
  • Barton Weitz
    • 10
  1. 1.University of Notre DameNotre DameUSA
  2. 2.University of HoustonHoustonUSA
  3. 3.University of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  4. 4.Case Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA
  5. 5.Babson CollegeBabson ParkUSA
  6. 6.University of Washington Business SchoolSeattleUSA
  7. 7.HEC School of Management—ParisParisFrance
  8. 8.Indiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  9. 9.Tulane UniversityNew OrleansUSA
  10. 10.University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations