Operationalizing Salesperson Performance with Secondary Data: Aligning Practice, Scholarship, and Theory


Despite the large body of research that examines the determinants of salesperson performance,significant variation exists regarding how scholars can operationalize salesperson performance using secondary, firm-provided data. Moreover, this variation often exists without explanation or justification. We explore the issue in three parts. First, we conduct an exploratory practitioner survey to discover various salesperson performance operationalizations (SPOs) in use by salespeople and sales managers. Second, using a carefully constructed and theoretically driven evaluative framework, we conduct a systematic review of the literature on salesperson performance that encompasses over thirty years of empirical research on the subject; this review allows us to better understand the SPOs that scholars use. Third, we compare these practitioner and scholarly perspectives to create a comprehensive conceptual model of the different types of SPOs. The model highlights theoretical insights and provides guidance to scholars, reviewers, and practitioners related to the selection of appropriate SPOs for meeting specific research objectives.

In Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science
Alec Pappas
Assistant Professor of Marketing

My research interest is on marketing strategy with an emphasis on the effects of social dynamics (e.g., intraorganizational social networks. social capital, and social influence) on managerially focused outcomes like employee performance and turnover.