Performance Impact of Customer Orientation, Task Interdependence, and Information Sharing in Sales Teams: An Abstract
Team selling is a popular approach of retaining customers of strategic importance in B2B markets. Linking key account management (KAM) practices to team performance outcome has received increasing attentions in team selling and key account (KA) research (Jones et al., 2005). However, the intraorganizational implementation process of key account team selling has not been thoroughly investigated. Due to the complexity of the product offerings, many KA teams are cross functional (e.g., marketing, sales, manufacturing, R&D, etc.) and multi-geographical. Thus, it is a sustainable competitive advantage if managers provide team members with adequate access to information and ensure synchronized communication. However, KA managers often lack authority over fluid team members for functional resources. In addition, the nature of KA team selling has made the data collection difficult (Jones et al., 2005). Thus, although the importance of internal alignment in KAM implementation is widely recognized, extant research mainly focuses on qualitative approach but lacks of quantitative work.
To fill this gap, we developed a moderated mediation model investigating the impact of internal alignment on team performance from information sharing perspective using a multilevel data set. We identified two key drivers (i.e., customer orientation and task interdependence) of a team member’s formal information sharing and examined their impacts on team effectiveness. The model also considers the moderating effects of the team-based professional control and investigates to what extent this managerial moderator may affect the set of relationships.
The results of a multilevel data set from 115 members of 37 key account teams demonstrate a positive impact of customer orientation and task interdependence on formal information sharing. We observe a positive interaction between team-level professional control and formal information sharing on team satisfaction but a substitute interaction between team-level professional control and task interdependence. On one hand, when team-level professional control is high, a KA sales team member with high degree of formal information sharing with his/her counterparts perceives higher team satisfaction than that with low formal information sharing. However, on the other hand, such team-based informal control exerts a dysfunctional influence on the positive effect of task interdependence on formal information sharing. When the shared perception of professional control is high, the marginal value of formal information sharing decreases if the task interdependence is high. When team-level professional control is low, if the level of task interdependence is high, formal information sharing increases. Thus, managers need to evaluate the marginal benefit resulted from task interdependence and team-level professional control, respectively. In the meantime, they need to be cautious of encouraging both simultaneously, due to their potential declining effect in formal information sharing.