The coordination strategies of high-performing salespeople: Internal working relationships that drive success

Michelle D. Steward, Beth A. Walker, Michael D. Hutt, Ajith Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Scopus citations

Abstract

The authors fill a gap in the salesperson performance literature by exploring the process that salespeople follow in coordinating the activities of ad hoc team members during high-opportunity customer engagements in the business market. In a two-phase study, the authors conduct depth interviews with salespeople and survey sales managers from a Fortune-100 company to identify the processes involved in the coordination of expertise. In Phase I, analysis of qualitative data reveals that higher-performing salespeople are more likely to (1) consider relational as well as technical skills when matching team members to customer requirements, (2) attract their preferred experts to the team, including a member to perform the project manager role, and (3) define the appropriate time in the sales cycle to initiate contact with the customer and deploy the team to the customer organization. Adopting a social network perspective in Phase II, the reputation of a salesperson's internal working relationships and, to a lesser extent, the diversity and strength of their relationship ties are central in explaining effective coordination of expertise. In turn, coordination of expertise is linked to salesperson performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)550-566
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of the Academy of Marketing Science
Volume38
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

Keywords

  • Ad hoc selling teams
  • Coordination of expertise
  • Internal working relationships
  • Sales management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing

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