When should the customer really be king? : On the optimum level of salesperson customer orientation in sales encounters

Homburg, Christian ; Müller, Michael ; Klarmann, Martin

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URL: https://ub-madoc.bib.uni-mannheim.de/34535
URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-345351
Document Type: Working paper
Year of publication: 2010
The title of a journal, publication series: Reihe: Wissenschaftliche Arbeitspapiere / Institut für Marktorientierte Unternehmensführung
Volume: W136e
Place of publication: Mannheim
Publishing house: Inst. für Marktorientierte Unternehmensführung, Univ. Mannheim
Publication language: English
Institution: Business School > Business-to-Business Marketing, Sales & Pricing (Homburg 1998-)
Subject: 650 Management
Abstract: In today’s age of relational selling, it is a key challenge for salespeople to determine to what degree customer-oriented behaviors also drive sales performance. There-fore, this study analyzes whether a salesperson’s customer orientation in sales encounters has an optimum level with regard to sales performance and customer attitudes. Using triadic data from a cross-industry survey of 56 sales managers, 195 sales representatives, and 538 customers, the authors provide strong empirical support for a curvilinear, inverted U-shaped effect of a salesperson’s customer orientation on sales performance, while the effect of customer orientation on customer attitudes is continuously positive. Moreover, the findings reveal that the optimum level of customer orientation with regard to sales performance is higher for salespeople selling individualized products, in firms pursuing a premium price strategy and in markets with a high degree of competitive intensity.

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