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Erin Gillespie presents paper at ISBM conference

Assistant Professor Erin Gillespie presented research on the economic, symbolic and human resource approach to sales management at the academic conference for marketing researchers and practitioners.

Erin Gillespie, assistant professor of marketing in the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business, presented “Economic, Symbolic, and Human Resource Approach to Sales Management: An Examination of the Specificity of Salesperson Experience and the Underlying Process” at the Institute for the Study of Business Markets biennial academic conference this past summer.

Son Lam, University of Georgia, and Stephanie M. Noble, University of Tennessee coauthored the paper with Gillespie.

Erin Gillespie, assistant professor of marketing

The paper’s abstract readsSalespeople are often responsible for a portfolio of products, with the company’s expectation that the salespeople will sell each of these products with an appropriate amount of time and effort. If products are not given the adequate amount of selling time, then those products are likely to suffer in performance, adversely affecting the company. As such, motivating salespeople to do their jobs effectively is a critical element in achieving salesperson and company success.

This research examines (1) when the quota system (the economic approach), salesperson competitiveness trait (the Human Resource approach), and salesperson-product identification (the symbolic approach) are effective, and (2) perceived challenge and salesperson-product attachment as mediators of the effects of these three management approaches on salesperson product-specific effort.

Results from a multisource data set of salespeople and sales managers show that, other things equal, (1) quota system enhances salesperson product-specific effort by reducing perceived challenge and enhancing salesperson-product attachment, (2) salesperson-product identification and salesperson competitiveness enhance salesperson product-specific effort by boosting salesperson-product attachment. Three specific aspects of salesperson experience, namely experience with the company, experience with selling the product, and experience in sales, have differential moderating effects. First, the challenge-reducing effect of quota system is weaker among tenured salespeople. Second, salespeople who do not identify with the product perceive the product as more challenging to sell over time. Finally, competitive salespeople who are less experienced in sales are more likely to grow attached to the product than those who are more experienced in sales. These findings provide novel insights into the dynamics and the process of three very different approaches to manage salesperson effort and performance.

The Institute for the Study of Business Markets (ISBM), headquartered at Penn State, is a global network of researchers and member firm practitioners focused on advancing the state of the art and profitability of the practice of B-to-B marketing. The objective of their biennial conference is to develop new ideas and new ways to address the pressing issues at the interface of the B2B academic communities; generate new research approaches and ideas; and to provide a forum for interaction amongst the world’s leading B2B researchers.

Nicole Filippo,
9/15/2014 11:05 AM