The Strategic Role of the Sales Force: Perceptions of Senior Sales Executives

Cron, William L.; Baldauf, Artur; Leigh, Thomas W.; Grossenbacher, Samuel (2014). The Strategic Role of the Sales Force: Perceptions of Senior Sales Executives. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 42(5), pp. 471-489. Springer Science + Business Media LLC 10.1007/s11747-014-0377-6

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Current models of sales force strategy imply formidable information processing demands, which leads us to take a cognitive approach to studying the issue of sales force strategy. We focus on how top-level executives use mental models of sales force performance to simplify the issue of sales force strategy. We interviewed 74 senior executives responsible for their firms’ selling function using the repertory grid approach, as this methodology has been shown to be particularly effective at uncovering the collective cognitive maps on which executives’ decisions and behaviors are based. Executives identified a broad set of 37 strategic concepts that they felt distinguish the sales force efforts of directly competing companies. A second set of sales executives classified the 37 concepts into capabilities, resources, and organizational context concepts. Based on the classification results and feedback from both sets of executives, we developed research propositions for examining sales force strategy and provide directions for future research.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Department of Business Management > Institute of Innovation Management > Management

UniBE Contributor:

Baldauf, Artur


600 Technology > 650 Management & public relations




Springer Science + Business Media LLC




Tatiana Romanova Stettler

Date Deposited:

22 May 2015 10:53

Last Modified:

22 May 2015 10:53

Publisher DOI:





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