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Title: Exploring leadership behaviours perceived to enable salesperson performance
Author: Boehnke Peesker, Karen
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 3356
Awarding Body: Cranfield University
Current Institution: Cranfield University
Date of Award: 2016
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This exploratory study builds on previous sales leadership research by examining, comparing, and contrasting sales leaders’ and sales representatives’ perceptions of what leadership behaviours enable salesperson performance. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with sales teams in a global enterprise software company. Semi-structured interviews were transcribed and statements coded into categories of leadership behaviours. Overall the sales professionals perceived the leadership behaviours of coaching, collaborating, championing, customer engaging, challenging, and creating vision enable salesperson performance. References were also made to candidate recruiting, inspiring and rewarding, however these were less frequent. Sales leaders and sales representatives agreed that coaching, collaborating, championing and customer engaging enable salesperson performance, however sales leaders spoke more about coaching, creating vision and candidate recruiting, while sales representatives spoke more about collaborating, championing, customer engaging and challenging. High performing sales representatives referred to coaching and customer engaging behaviours more frequently than average and low performing sales representatives, indicating the importance of these behaviours. Respondents also revealed that the intense pressure to deliver quarterly results made leadership challenging in this environment. This may account for the difference between sales leadership behaviours and leadership behaviours identified in the literature. This study suggests that a high pressure complex sales context might influence the type of leadership behaviours that may be best suited to enable salesperson performance. This study contributes to the field by providing a framework of the sales leadership behaviours perceived to enable salesperson performance, providing confirmation that sales leaders adopt previously identified leadership behaviours in the sales context, and the identification of new leadership behaviours specific to the sales context. It also presents evidence that trust, confidence, optimism and resilience are potential mediators between sales leadership and salesperson performance, and it provides a set of implications for practice.
Supervisor: Ryals, Lynette Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Sales performance ; Sales leadership ; Personal selling ; Leadership behaviours ; Sales