Relationship management: A sales role, or a state of mind?. An investigation of functions and attitudes across a business-to-business sales force

Iain Davies, Lynette J. Ryals, Sue Holt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Commentators suggest that the business-to-business sales role is changing and evolving into relationship management. Previous research indicates that a relationship management role is very different from 'traditional' sales, and that it may require a different attitude on the part of the relationship manager. This research explores attitudes towards various aspects of relationship management across an entire international business-to-business sales force in a service industry context. We find that attitudes towards relationship management do not in fact align with job role. A cluster analysis reveals three attitudinal types of sales persons: Self-Directed; Team Leaders; and Strategic Sellers. Our findings suggest that some individuals may have attitudes that are inappropriate to their roles, and that attitudes should be taken into account when selecting relationship managers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1049-1062
Number of pages14
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Volume39
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2010

Keywords

  • key account management
  • relationship marketing
  • sales
  • sales management

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