Nawar Chaker, Maxwell Pivonka ’19 win Best Paper award

The marketing professor and alumnus received the Best Paper in Personal Selling and Sales Management honor at the Society of Marketing Advances 2019 conference.

Nawar Chaker, assistant professor of marketing in the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business, and Maxwell Pivonka ’19, credit risk review analyst at Goldman Sachs, won a 2019 Best Paper award from the Society of Marketing Advances (SMA).

two men's headshots side by side
Dr. Nawar Chaker (left) and Maxwell Pivonka ’19

The duo received the Best Paper in Personal Selling and Sales Management honor for “Business-to-Business Inside Salespeople Social Media Use in Prospecting: A Qualitative Investigation.” Chaker presented the paper during the marketing association’s conference held Nov. 6-9.

Chaker and Pivonka began researching why and how salespeople are using social media early on in the sales process as part of Pivonka’s Honors thesis project.

“Recognizing the significance of social media as a way for buyers and sellers to connect in today’s dynamic environment, this research addresses the gaps in the literature by taking a deep plunge into the use of social media in B2B inside sales during the prospecting phase, where it is anticipated that social media use is most prominently utilized,” the authors write.

They leveraged in-depth interviews with sales professionals to more deeply and thoroughly understand how salespeople use social media in their prospecting efforts.

The authors’ findings suggest there are several strategies – leveraging social media communities, creating digital personas, maintaining indirect communication, and the ability to get to know prospects – that salespeople can use to more effectively and efficiently engage prospects, leading to increased prospect response and acquisition.

Chaker joined Elon after completing his doctorate in business administration with a concentration in marketing from the University of Tennessee. He has worked in marketing, sales, distribution and engineering. His research focuses on topics in marketing strategy, personal selling, sales management, and cross-functional sales relationships.

Pivonka graduated from Elon with degrees in finance and marketing. While at Elon, the Ohio native was involved with Student Government Association, Investment Banking Club, Men’s Club Volleyball, Alpha Kappa Psi and Special Olympics. He interned with Goldman Sachs as a securities division operations summer analyst as well as Gartner, Inc. as a business development coordinator.