Do marketing dashboards matter to the salesforce and your firm? Absolutely, especially when paired with a strong competency in sales. This study suggests that marketing dashboards and a strong competency in sales work well together in helping the firm generate meaning of its environment and generate learning. Marketing dashboards provide the consistent information across the organization that effectively aids in enhancing the sales force’s efforts in generating learning within the firm. Similarly, sales capability aids in the interpretation of the information distributed by the dashboard. When these two complementary resources are used together, it generates sensemaking, which ultimately is a pathway toward cost efficiency and acquiring customers and generating satisfaction.
For more information, check out the article: Michael T. Krush, Raj Agnihotri, Kevin J. Trainor, Edward L. Nowlin, Enhancing organizational sensemaking: An examination of the interactive effects of sales capabilities and marketing dashboards, Industrial Marketing Management, Available online 5 March 2013.
Do personal connections still matter? You bet. Generating rapport matters—especially between contact personnel and customers. Rapport, (generating personal connection and enjoyable interactions) should not be overlooked in sales, especially for those having interpersonal contact with customers. The results show the value of rapport in generating positive word-of-mouth communication and customer satisfaction. The study also provides direction for managers of customer contact personnel. Keys to generating rapport and starting on the pathway toward customer satisfaction and word-of-mouth include:
- Familiarity: Getting to know the customer and gathering information about the individual
- Self-disclosure: Sharing information about yourself
- Extra attention to the customer: Uncommon attention/attentiveness to the customer
- Common grounding: Discovery of personal connections outside of the business context
For more information, check out the article: Gerrard Macintosh, (2009) "The role of rapport in professional services: antecedents and outcomes", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 23 Iss: 2, pp.70 – 78.
Insight into interpersonal traits of the salesperson: Empathy and Guilt-Proneness: For sales managers, one of the key questions lies in understanding the key traits that impel sales behaviors. In this study of Indian salespeople, the results show that the greater the salesperson’s empathy, the greater their likelihood of helping other salespeople. Surprising, guilt proneness actually translated into a greater level of increasing customer satisfaction and maintaining the customer base. This research demonstrates that sales managers must pay careful attention to the traits that drive customer performance. While empathy is commonly considered a critical trait for effective salespeople, our research shows that in some contexts, other interpersonal traits may actually be more valuable.
For more information, check out the article: Raj Agnihotri, Michael Krush, Rakesh K. Singh, (2012) "Understanding the mechanism linking interpersonal traits to pro-social behaviors among salespeople: lessons from India", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 27 Iss: 3, pp.211 - 227
Faculty members from The Center for Professional Selling and Sales Technology may be contacted to discuss the potential for individual-firm research studies, training and speaking engagements. Please contact us regarding your project and billing rates.