UNDER REVIEW: Organizational Innovativeness and Firm Performance: Does Sales Management Matter?

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The sales manager sets the tone for the salesforce operations. An intellectually stimulating sales manager can create a ripple effect of innovation down the line of salespeople in an organization. Salespeople then interact with individual customers to drive revenues by identifying and finding solutions to customer needs. To successfully execute this role, salespeople must acquire information external to the firm, including market trends, changing customer tastes, preferences, and customer perception of competition. Salespeople then use this knowledge and work with other units within their firm to develop innovative solutions for individual customers. The motivation received from intellectually stimulating sales managers, and external knowledge salespeople acquire in conjunction with the network position they hold within their firm, suggest the salesforce may have great value in facilitating firm innovation. In this paper the concept of sales manager intellectual stimulation and sales-firm collaborative integration are introduced and proposed to drive firm innovation and ultimately performance. Survey data were collected from a crossindustry sample (n=264) of companies. Results support the notion that sales manager intellectual stimulation leads to firm innovation, which in turn, enhances firm performance. However, intellectual stimulation is needed through the whole sales process to prevent the “dark sides” of over-innovative firms.

Industrial Marketing Management
Louis J. Zmich
Louis J. Zmich
Owner of Zmich Consulting Marketing and Sales Doctoral Candidate

Zmich Consulting LLC specializes in comercial and hand-coded website development, social media management and content creation, along with Google analytical guidance on how to improve the success of your business.