Know Your Customer: How Salesperson Perceptions of Customer Relationship Quality Form and Influence Account Profitability

Journal of Marketing, Vol. 78 (November 2014), 38-58

Darden Business School Working Paper No. 2553393

22 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2015 Last revised: 23 Mar 2015

See all articles by Ryan Mullins

Ryan Mullins

Clemson University

Michael Ahearne

University of Houston - C.T. Bauer College of Business

Son K. Lam

University of Georgia - Department of Marketing

Zachary Hall

Texas Christian University - M.J. Neeley School of Business

Jeffrey Boichuk

University of Virginia - McIntire School of Commerce

Date Written: November 1, 2014

Abstract

Firms often utilize salesperson intelligence in marketing strategies to improve sales performance. However, this approach is problematic if the information is based on inaccurate perceptions. In light of this, the authors introduce a theoretical model to study the antecedents and profit impact of salesperson perceptions of customer relationship quality. Dyadic analyses using matched survey responses from salesperson-customer dyads and secondary performance data reveal several insightful findings. Results show that self-efficacious salespeople are upwardly biased, whereas customer-oriented salespeople are downwardly biased in their perceptions of customer relationship quality. However, managers can correct these inaccuracies using a behavior-based control system. Response surface analyses illustrate that the effects of salesperson accuracy and inaccuracy are distinct and curvilinear. During later relationship phases, salespeople profit more from salesperson accuracy in high- and low-quality relationships (i.e., a U-shaped effect). Yet the increasingly harmful impact of salesperson inaccuracy on profit is more severe during earlier relationship phases. Together, these findings highlight the benefits of measuring salesperson perceptions and how to manage them.

Keywords: salesperson accuracy, customer relationship management, dyadic modeling, perceptual bias, response surface analysis

JEL Classification: M3, M31

Suggested Citation

Mullins, Ryan and Ahearne, Michael and Lam, Son K. and Hall, Zachary and Boichuk, Jeffrey, Know Your Customer: How Salesperson Perceptions of Customer Relationship Quality Form and Influence Account Profitability (November 1, 2014). Journal of Marketing, Vol. 78 (November 2014), 38-58, Darden Business School Working Paper No. 2553393, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2553393

Ryan Mullins (Contact Author)

Clemson University ( email )

255 Sirrine Hall
Clemson, SC 29634
United States
864-656-5292 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.clemson.edu/cbbs/faculty-staff/profiles/profile.html?userid=rmullin

Michael Ahearne

University of Houston - C.T. Bauer College of Business ( email )

334 Melcher Hall
Houston, TX 77204-6021
United States
713-743-4155 (Phone)
713-743-4572 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.bauer.uh.edu/Directory/profile.asp?firstname=Michael&lastname=Ahearne

Son K. Lam

University of Georgia - Department of Marketing ( email )

GA
United States

Zachary Hall

Texas Christian University - M.J. Neeley School of Business ( email )

Fort Worth, TX 76129
United States

Jeffrey Boichuk

University of Virginia - McIntire School of Commerce ( email )

P.O. Box 400173
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4173
United States

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