Marketing and Entrepreneurship: Research Ideas and Opportunities

By Gerald E. Hills | Go to book overview

13
Entrepreneurship and the Sales Function

Michael H. Morris, Raymond W. LaForge, and Thomas N. Ingram


INTRODUCTION

A discussion of entrepreneurship and the sales function requires definitions of important terms. Consistent with the other chapters in this book, we define entrepreneurship as the process of creating something different, with value, by devoting the necessary time and effort; assuming the accompanying financial, psychic, and social risks; and receiving the resulting rewards of monetary and personal satisfaction.

The sales function consists of two major elements: personal selling and sales management. Personal selling includes the personal communication aspects of a firm's promotional mix. The other promotional tools, such as advertising and sales promotion, are differentiated from personal selling by being the non- personal, mass communication portions of a promotional mix. Sales management is simply the management of a firm's personal selling function ( Ingram and LaForge 1992).

Sales researchers have largely ignored the entrepreneurship area. We are unaware of any studies that have examined personal selling or sales management for new ventures. Occasionally, researchers have presented some analyses that compare the sales management activities of smaller versus larger firms. Although personal selling and sales management may be important in new, entrepreneurial ventures, the reverse is also true. There is a role for entrepreneurship within the sales function itself, not only in start-up firms but in companies of all sizes and types. In fact, the sales function has the potential of being one of the most entrepreneurial areas within a company.

A considerable amount has been written about the need for companies to integrate entrepreneurship into their daily operations (e.g., Brandt 1986; Morris and Trotter 1990; Pinchot 1985). Rapid and threatening changes in the external

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