Fogelman College of Business and Economics
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Alan Bush

Improving Salesperson Performance

Researchers in the Fogelman College of Business & Economics are investigating ways of improving salesperson performance by examining the interaction of the salesperson's personal traits and their supervisor's management style.

For more than 80 years, sales executives and academic researchers have attempted to identify, analyze and understand what influences salesperson performance. Traditionally, researchers have investigated how characteristics of the individual, the manager or the organization influence salesperson performance.

In moving away from this traditional approach, the research team is instead viewing behavior as a function of the person and the environment or situation.  The researchers are examining how the person’s individual traits interact with the person’s environment to produce behavior. Specifically, the project explores three unique variables: an individual trait variable (competitiveness), an organizational or situational variable (type of leadership behavior), and an interactive variable (salesperson coachability) to see how all three interact to influence salesperson performance.

The research project is essentially attempting to answer the age old question, “Is a good salesperson born or made?” Perhaps it is a combination of the two.

The research team comprises Dr. Alan Bush (alanbush@memphis.edu, Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management in the Fogelman College), and Dr. Kirby Shannahan (PhD. University of Memphis) of the University of New Brunswick, CA.

Improving the Effectiveness of Sales Force Technology

Researchers in the Fogelman College of Business & Economics are investigating ways of improving sales force technology. Sales technology use is pervasive in today’s business-to-business markets as organizations continue to leverage information technology investments to improve sales force performance.

While there has been increased research attention on buyer-seller relationships in a business-to-business context, there is limited research on the impact of sales technology use on these relationships. The researchers hope to build on recent sales technology literature by utilizing a buyer-seller dyadic research model that captures both the salesperson and customer as informants in understanding the customer expectations and relationship performance of sales technology use in a business-to-business environment. 

Data will be collected from salesperson-customer dyads with the assistance of executives at a Fortune 500 company. Given the importance of sales technology use in a firm’s relational selling and value creation efforts, identifying salesperson perception gaps with customers will provide managers with important new insights to develop better buyer-seller relationships through sales technology.

The research team comprises Dr. Alan J. Bush (alanbush@memphis.edu, Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management ), Rich Rocco (Doctoral student, Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management), Dr. Dan Sherrell (Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management), and Dr. George Deitz (Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management).

Read more about FCBE research


Alan Bush

Alan Bush

Read more about FCBE research

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Last Updated: 1/23/12