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The catbird seat of the sales force: How sales force integration leads to new product success

Sabine Kuester, Christian Homburg and Andreas Hildesheim

International Journal of Research in Marketing, 2017, vol. 34, issue 2, 462-479

Abstract: Spanning the boundary between the organization and external market participants, the sales force is in an advantaged position to garner unique market insights. At the same time the sales force has a pivotal role in bringing new products to the market as vendors following their own adoption. The present study reunites the literature that has previously considered the sales force either in their role as facilitators of market insights or as vendors of new products by proposing a mediating effects framework that explicitly examines the sales force in their dual role. Data collected from 609 firms provide evidence that the utilization of the sales force's insights for new product development, referred to as sales force integration, engenders new product success. The authors focus in particular on the examination of the input–output transformation process by studying multiple mediation paths through which sales force integration brings about new product success via new product advantages and sales force new product adoption. The effectiveness of sales force integration is highly contingent upon factors including information quality, timing, non-monetary sales force incentives, innovation degree, and competitive intensity. This study discusses how managers should act to fully benefit from the impact of sales force integration on new product success.

Keywords: Sales force integration; Boundary spanner; Multiple mediation; New product advantage; Sales force adoption; New product success (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ijresmar.2016.08.008

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