Chair or Co-Chair
Dr. Brian Rutherford
Dr. Greg Marshall
Dr. Joseph F. Hair
The sales process is undergoing a revolution as a result of social media and related technological advancements. Although each step of the sales process is being affected, the most drastically altered step is likely the sales call. The purpose of this research is to examine the impact the type of sales call used by sellers has on both the buyer’s evaluation of the salesperson and the seller’s attribution of sale call success or failure. The study consists of two essays. The first focuses on the buyer’s evaluation of the salesperson based on the frequency and alignment of their use of specific types of sales calls. The second essay centers on the salesperson’s attribution pertaining to both sales call success and failure. Three forms of sales call communication are examined: face-to-face sales calls, sales calls using historical sales communication tools, and technologically enhanced sales calls. Panel data is obtained for both buyers and sellers. In the first study, buyers are surveyed to determine if the type of sales call used by the seller met their expectations thereby influencing their evaluation of the salesperson. In the second study, sellers are surveyed to determine how the type of sales call they used affects their attribution related to the sales call success or failure. The data in the first study is analyzed using linear regression to determine which form of sales calls influence
the buyer’s evaluation of the salesperson, while the data in the second essay is analyzed using logistic regression since the dependent variable is binary (success/failure). Two moderator variables are considered. In the first essay, the buyer’s evaluation of the seller is predicted as being moderated by the phase of the relationship between the buyer and the seller. In the second essay, the seller’s attribution of the success or failure is hypothesized as being moderated by the type of sales position the seller occupies. The contribution of this study is at least two-fold. First, this study bridges the gap between face-to-face sales call research and technologically enhanced sales tool research, providing a basis for determining the appropriate balance between the two communication styles. Second, by taking into account the moderating variables of relationship phase and type of sales position, salespeople can make accommodations in their sales call strategy based on the seller/buyer relationship phase or the type of sales position they occupy.