Exchange Behavior in Selling and Sales Management
When the issue stimulating the and make concessions to build commitment to the rela- conflict is not very important to the seller, the salespeople tionship.
- Definition of 'Personal Selling'.
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On the other hand, the confrontation manage- can make a concession to the buyer, signaling an interest in ment approach provides information to the buyer about the developing the relationship, with limited costs or risk. Thus, we propose that the use of avoidance but they differ in terms of level.
Salespeople engaging in a and accommodation approaches will have a positive effect compromise approach exchange information about their when the issues are of low importance to the seller and a goals and then make concessions to find an intermediate negative effect when the issues are of high importance.
When The effectiveness of a compromise approach on relation- salespeople use collaboration, they provide a stronger sig- ship quality is similar to avoidance for low-importance is- nal of commitment by exchanging sensitive information to sues, but for high-importance issues resolving the creatively identify mutually beneficial alternatives. This disagreement by compromising has less of a negative ef- approach can be dysfunctional if the buyer uses the sensi- fect than simply acquiescing to the buyer. In addition, the intensity and chances of sellers realizing their preferred outcome.
How- sensitivity of information exchange and the problem solv- ever, the use of this approach also signals a lack of interest ing when using the collaboration approach require a con- in the buyer's concerns and an unwillingness to make con- siderable investment in time and human resources. The cessions. Thus, we pro- positive benefits of the seller achieving its preferred out- pose that an accommodating conflict management come. However, if the issue is important to the seller, pro- approach has a positive effect on relationship quality when viding information about its needs and increasing the the buyer and seller are not committed, but a negative probability of satisfying those needs by using a confronta- effect when they are committed to the relationship.
This suggests that the use of a confrontation ing conflict, they demonstrate a concern for their individ- approach will have a positive effect when the issues are of ual outcomes over joint outcomes and thus jeopardize the high importance and a negative effect when the issues are development of the relationship. Thus, Table 3 suggests of low importance.
Exchange Behavior in Selling and Sales Management
However, in committed relationships, the buyer rec- may not outweigh the costs of dealing with conflicts ognizes that the sellers are focusing on the relationship involving issues of low importance. Thus, we expect that a rather than an individual outcome. Hence, the confronta- collaboration approach will have a negative effect on rela- tional approach has a positive effect because it communi- tionship quality when the issues are of low importance and cates the needs of the seller to the buyer. The critical difference in the effectiveness of the com- promise and collaboration approaches is the amount and Commitment to relationship.
In this section, we discuss type of information exchanged. Since a compromise the differential impact of the conflict management ap- approach involves the exchange of nonproprietary infor- proaches when buyer and seller are either mutually com- mation to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution, we pro- mitted or uncommitted to the relationship. Avoidance may pose that the use of a compromise conflict management be useful on an incidental basis in buyer-seller conflict style is positively related to relationship quality regardless situations to prevent escalation of disagreements about mi- of the channel members' level of commitment.
However, the regular use of this approach frus- The effects of a collaborative conflict management trates the ability of both parties to satisfy their needs. Thus, style on relationship quality may differ, depending on the the avoidance conflict management style is likely to have level of the mutual commitment. When buyer and seller detrimental effects on relationship quality, regardless of are mutually committed to the relationship, they are moti- the level of mutual commitment. The members are moti- commitment, the concessions offered by the seller using vated to resist jeopardizing the relationship by opportunis- an accommodation approach signal an interest in building tic use of proprietary information learned about the other the relationship and encourage the buyer to reciprocate, channel member.
Therefore, the use of a collaborative leading to the escalation of trust and satisfaction.
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However, style increases relationship quality in committed relation- this willingness to give in to the other party without con- ships because the benefits of identifying novel solutions sideration for one's own position is unlikely to be a useful outweigh the risks of opportunistic use of proprietary long-term conflict approach in a mutually committed rela- information. They are more likely to act opportunistically responsibility for selling all of their finns' products to all toward the other party to gain a short-term advantage.
We customers in a specific territory. Some firms have refined suggest that the use of a collaborative approach may have the basic geographic organization by creating sales forces detrimental effects on relationship quality in uncommitted specialized by product type, industry, or activity such as in- relationships because the sharing of candid information side and field, or new customer and account maintenance. Firms emphasizing a partnering role for salespeople organize their sales force by customers.
We suggest some poten- with the customer. The team members are permanently tial constructs that might moderate the effect of these con- assigned to the team and are often located in or near the flict management approaches on relationship quality. The customer's headquarters. IBM also has reorganized from objective of this discussion is to provide some ideas for an industry- to a customer-focused sales force; however, addressing the questions we posed at the beginning of this the IBM teams are more ad hoc with the relationship man- discussion about the importance of conflict management ager, calling upon specialists within the company when in the partnering role: 1 What are the different they are needed.
Behavioral Approaches to Industrial Marketing: Extant and Emerging Research
Thus, the specialists team members have approaches for managing conflict? While the research on sales force Given the limited research addressing these questions in organization and specialization is limited Mahajan and the context of buyer-seller relationships, it is hoped that Radas ; Rangaswamy and Mahajan ; Rao and this discussion will stimulate research to identify the Turner , this customer-centered organization seems approaches used by salespeople to manage conflict, the to be appropriate for the partnering era since it focuses impact of these approaches on relationship quality, and the salespeople's attention on the customer relationship rather boundary conditions for these relationships.
Some issues re- There is very little research on the management of lated to the use of sales teams deserving research attention salespeople in a partnering role. Research on the manage- are the following: ment of national account managers NAMs and key 9 Under what conditions does the use of teams in- account managers KAMs may shed some light, since crease sales force productivity? However, this research has largely been directed toward Use of sales teams. A growing number of companies are adopting a team approach for selling their product and identifying the degree to which firms used NAMs and KAMs, the types of firms using them, and conditions services.
The nature of these teams ranges from cross- functional teams selling airplanes to airlines to pharma- under which their use is appropriate Weilbaker and ceutical companies organizing their salespeople in a dis- Weeks The discussion of these issues is organized around the traditional sales management issues of organization, Research needs to be directed toward determining when sales teams are appropriate--when they increase the selection and training, evaluation, and compensation.
While the use of sales teams has the potential Centered and Sales Teams to increase sales by improving the offerings provided to customers, sales teams also increase costs. This shared knowledge results team members. The research on among team members. McGrath and Altman shift the team diversity, benefit-cost trade-off. Transfor- For example, golf teams undertake an additive task, mational leadership involves providing inspiration for the while soccer teams participate in an interdependent task.
Research on mance on interdependent tasks is determined by the degree cross-functional teams has found that transformational to which group members work together and contribute leadership increases team performance Crnkovisch and their unique abilities to accomplish a goal. Hesterly We propose that as the degree of interdependency in the Finally, relationship managers can increase produc- sales task increases, the performance of sales teams com- tivity by effectively managing the inherent conflict in pared to individual salespeople increases.
Thus, the forma- cross-functional sales teams. Research in a simulated tion of cross-functional sales teams to sell airplanes will be environment suggests that the use of a collaboration con- more productive than the formation of a team composed of flict management approach improves task performance, salespeople responsible for their own accounts in a district. Highly productive Bradford, Stringfellow, and Weitz To accom- The critical input into the selection and training of rela- plish the interdependent tasks associated with the partner- tionship managers is identifying the KSAs required to ing role, sales teams need to be composed of people from effectively perform the partnering role see Wotruba different functional areas in the firm possessing diverse This diversity on sales teams increases the probability of developing crea- Knowledge.
Salespeople as relationship managers need tive, win-win solutions and realizing the support from dif- to have a sophisticated knowledge of the buying firm--its ferent functional areas for implementing the solutions. This decreasing the team's productivity. Team members from knowledge is needed to identify opportunities and ap- different functional areas and backgrounds have different proaches for creating value. It addition, relationship man- goals and mind-sets, which can lead to miscommunication agers need a detailed knowledge of their firm's capabilities and conflict within the team Dougherty These and resources and the people within their company that countervailing forces may account for the mixed results can be accessed to address particular issues.
The rela- Research on cross-functional new product develop- tionship managers need more strategic than tactical ment teams suggests that the problems caused by team knowledge. Knowledge of the benefits offered by the com- diversity can be reduced by type of people assigned to the pany's products, services, and the customer's present team and the behaviors of the relationship manager--the applications is adequate for performing the marketing team leader cf.
Stringfellow The communication role. The effectiveness in the partnering role is based on and conflict problems associated with diversity are knowledge of what the seller can do and what the buyer reduced when team members have some overlap with each will want to do in the future.
Salespeople’s Renqing Orientation, Self-esteem, and Selling Behaviors: An Empirical Study in Taiwan
Specifically, the productivity of The relationship manager's knowledge acquisition cross-functional sales teams is increased when the team probably comes from considerable on-the-job learning members have some experience in other functional areas experiences rather than from formal or informal training.
Sales competitors. While traditional salespeople might have are also a useful measure for evaluating performance of the good customer knowledge, other employees in the selling salespeople production role because their objective is sim- firm, such as product managers, may have superior indus- ply to make sales.
The objective of salespeople in a part- try and company knowledge and thus be good candidates nering role is more complex. The goal of the salespeople in for relationship manager positions.
Skills and abilities. Some of the skills and ability used In light of this relationship-oriented objective, many by relationship managers are creative problem solving, in- firms with salespeople in partnering roles are comple- novativeness, interacting with people in different func- menting the traditional output measures of sales effective- tional areas and levels in the buying and selling ness such as sales, sales to quota, and gross margin with organizations, conflict management, building trust being measures of customer satisfaction and even using these reliable, empathetic, and ethical with people in both or- satisfaction measures as part of the incentive compensa- ganizations, planning and project management, and work- tion Lambert, Sharma, and Levy Typically, these ing on and leading teams.
Many of these skills and abilities measures are assessed through questions answered by the differ from those needed by traditional salespeople and are customers' employees about their satisfaction with their certainly antithetical to the stereotypical view of salespeo- relationship and their firms' relationship with the supplier: ple as "loners" Some of the skills required for the partner- However, a number of scholars question the usefulness of ing role are similar to the attributes of entrepreneurs satisfaction as a measure of relationship quality Gale Morris, Avila, and Teeple , while others are similar ; Higgins ; Sharma Relationship manag- Some of the distinct but related constructs that ers, like brand managers, often must gain the support of researchers have considered in their conceptualization of their firms' employees without having the authority to di- relationship quality are trust, commitment, satisfaction, rect the employees' activities.
Rela- Evans, and Cowles ; Dorsch, Swanson, and Kelley tional competency is defined as "characteristics of the ; Dwyer et al. Mea- mensional output measure of relationship quality. We pro- sures of relational competency assess two dimensions of pose that a measure of relationship quality needs to include personality: 1 initiation and 2 enhancement. Initiation both attitudinal and behavioral measures of the present includes skills related to initiating and controlling the rela- relationship and the expectations for the relationship in the tionship--skills that are typically associated with the sales future.
Satisfaction is an inappropriate output measure of and marketing roles--and enhancement involves enhanc- relationship quality because it assesses only the present ing and maintaining the relationshipskills more associ- attitude toward the relationship and thus is not a good pre- ated with the partnering role Carpenter Hence, we need to The behavioral measures in the framework indicate develop new approaches for selecting and developing rela- what a buyer is doing now and plans to do in the future, tionship managers.
The inclusion of both attitudinal and behav- of Partnering Role ioral measures is consistent with the view that both of these components are needed to assess brand loyalty--a Research on performance evaluation makes a distinc- construct indicating the quality of the relationship tion between output measures such as sales and gross mar- between a brand and a consumer Dick and Basu ; gin and input measures such as number of calls and Jacoby and Kyner For salespeople in the production role, both sales relationship, while the future measures provide an indica- output measure and numbers of calls input measure tion of the potential for growing value in the relationship.
There is a growing consensus in that effort an input cannot be assessed; only sales an out- the channels literature that commitment and trust are cen- put can be observed cf. Coughlin and Sen While tral constructs in relational exchanges. They are critical to little marketing research has considered schemes for com- the parties making investment in a relationship to grow pensating teams, research in economics Holmstrom value Morgan and Hunt Idiosyncratic investments I; McAfee , social psychology Karau and Wil- are a strong behavioral signal that the buyer is committed liams , and management Comer ; Kidwell and to the relationship Anderson and Weitz Bennett provides some useful insights.
In conclusion, we propose that a multidimensional out- Social loafing, the decline in member effort when on a put measure is needed to assess the performance of sales- team, is a major problem affecting team productivity. Given the dif- Social loafing is a form of free tiding--team members ficulty in collecting the data to develop this multidimen- think they will receive the rewards accruing to the team sional output measure and the problems in determining the even though they withhold their contribution because they contribution of individual team members, firms with sales- believe other members of the team will compensate for people may need to place more emphasis on input mea- their lack of effort.
Research has found that social loafing sures to assess the performance of relationship managers is reduced when each team member is assigned a specific and members of a sales team. These input measures might task, there is no redundancy in tasks, and when the activi- range from the quality of proposals made to the customer ties and output of each team member can be accurately to the degree to which a person engages in team-building assessed. However, these conditions are not present in the behaviors. Rewarding Salespeople and Sales The solution to this problem in the economics research Teams in the Partnering Role is to provide an all-or-nothing incentive, a bonus, to the team if it realizes a goal.
Under this incentive, social loaf- In this section, we discuss two issues concerning the ing is reduced because the team members recognize they policies and procedures used to reward salespeople and will get a reward only if the goal is realized and thus they sales teams in partnering roles: 1 compensation of sales have no incentive to loaf.
Rather than relying on just incen- teams and team members and 2 policies concerning pro- tives, the management literature has suggested approaches motions with respect to relationship managers. As mentioned previously, the use of Another issue that arises is the distribution of the team sales teams has increased as firms focus more attention on incentive, the bonus, among the team members. Should developing long-term, partnering relationships with cus- each team member get an equal share of the bonus or tomers. Measures Renqing Orientation We used Cheung et al.
Working Hard We used Sujan et al. Open in a separate window.