Purpose – This paper aims to present perceptions of sales executives from three countries regarding expectations for the future of the sales profession and sales position. Design/methodology/approach – Results of a thematic interpretation of in‐depth interviews are presented, using several agenda‐setting articles as a foundation. Findings – Executives struggle with how salespeople should add value, especially in today's multi‐channel environment. Greater professionalization is needed in countries where the state of the profession is less developed. Emergent strategy is practiced but not universally. Sales executives generally believe that little incremental value in technology can be gained, though it is apparent that technology is not being fully utilized. Other findings are also discussed. Research limitations/implications – Researchers should consider classifying sales research by sales strategy rather than industry or country unless those aspects are factors being studied; further, questions such as how do salespeople create value and when is human intervention in the sales process required are offered. Practical implications – Executives should re‐examine sales technology, particularly in managing and transferring knowledge. Emergent strategy requires processes for identifying and transferring effective adaptation. Sales organizations must develop, at the salesperson level, greater business acumen, to be gained through training, experience or selection. Originality/value – This study identifies issues and factors that will influence sales practice and should influence sales research into the future. Particularly, the study is the first to highlight the use of emergent strategy, as well as the issue of identifying and creating value.
Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 14, 2008
Keywords: Sales management; Sales training; France; United States of America; Mexico; Perception