Sales Effectiveness and Firm Performance: A Small Firm Perspective
Shaw, Doris M., Entrepreneurial Executive
The purpose of this exploratory study was to examine the relationship between sales effectiveness and small firm performance in a time when a proliferation of technological innovations are available for use by salespeople. One such innovation, CRM systems, will be focused on in this study. A multi-item construct of sales effectiveness was linked to three non-financial performance measures. Over sixty sales representatives were surveyed and the regression analysis was used to examine the data. The results suggested that different sales effectiveness variables-resource management, perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, general attitude toward technology and comfort level are significantly and positively associated with small firm performance.
The number of small business startups has continued to rise in the 21st century. Statistics collected by the U.S. Small Business Administration reveal that over 23 million companies have been classified as "small" and responsible for the creation ofthree-quarters of the country's netjob growth (Acs and Arrington 2003). However, government statistics have also suggested that the staying power and ultimate survival of these businesses is still an ongoing concern. More specifically, it is estimated that about two-thirds of new small firm ventures have survived at least two years, while only half continue to exist after at least four years. While many of the firms closing their doors were profitable and thriving, the overwhelming majority of these firms shut down due their inability to garner the resources needed to sustain their competitiveness (Headd 2001).
Based on the continued reliance on and prominent role of the small business sector for economic development, it is essential to understand how resources utilized by small firms help them to remain competitive. The head of the Small Business Adminstration, Hector Barreto, has set forth a challenge to all of the firms under his domain to find innovative ways for becoming more customer-centric (Guadalupe 2003). He, himself, has openly discussed plans for his organization to be at the forefront of the utilization of technological innovations in order to create a more customer-focused Small Business Administration. Integral to his plans is the implementation of the appropriate configuration of information and communication technologies needed to increase his organization's responsive to the needs of his small-business customer base.
Technological advancements are allowing businesses of all sizes to develop the means for becoming more customer-driven. For instance, the transformation of the traditional marketplace into a vast marketspace now facilitates relations between buyers and sellers devoid of time, place, and occasionally costs constraints (Brannback 1997). The enabling role of information and communication technologies (ICT) has helped to simplify business processes and made it easier for sellers to supply information to current and potential customers, process their orders, as well as conduct the necessary business activities that promote long-term customer relationships. This can be particularly bénéficiai to the many small companies which strive to emulate the responsiveness and professionalism of larger firms that have the luxury of having more resources.
Over the past decade, several studies have concluded that the enabling role and use of technological advancements in the sales job has profoundly impacted the field of selling (Moncrief et. al. 1991; Marshall et. al. 1999). Communication with customers has been enhanced with products ranging from cellular phones to virtual meeting rooms, and information of all types can now be accessed with the push of a button. This is especially noteworthy due to the fact that salespeople often serve as the primary linkage between marketers and their customers.
By and large, an increased presence of …
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Publication information: Article title: Sales Effectiveness and Firm Performance: A Small Firm Perspective. Contributors: Shaw, Doris M. - Author. Journal title: Entrepreneurial Executive. Volume: 10. Publication date: January 1, 2005. Page number: 77+. © 2008 The DreamCatchers Group, LLC. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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