Building Effective Inside-Outside Sales Rep Dyads: A Collaboration Perspective

45 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2020 Last revised: 2 Jun 2022

See all articles by Huanhuan Shi

Huanhuan Shi

Texas A&M University

Shrihari Sridhar

Texas A&M University - Department of Marketing

Rajdeep Grewal

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Kenan-Flagler Business School

Date Written: May 30, 2022

Abstract

Business-to-business (B2B) firms regularly engage in collaborative selling where an outside sales (OS) representative (rep) interfaces with customers and an inside sales (IS) rep supports the OS reps through remote selling. While anecdotal evidence abounds, there is little empirical evidence examining factors driving successful IS-OS dyadic selling, as evidenced by objective sales performance. The authors use an organizational behavior lens and theories of shared team experiences and member knowledge diversity to posit that the collaboration length, collaboration intensity, and product knowledge diversity affect IS-OS dyad sales outcomes. Further, they unpack how the efficacy of each collaboration attribute should be contingent on the length of the customer–firm relationship and the customer’s product need complexity. Using field data and identification strategies suitable to the setting, the authors confirm that an IS–OS dyad’s collaboration length, collaboration intensity, and product knowledge diversity have a positive effect on customer-level sales outcome. However, they find a nuanced interplay of IS-OS collaboration characteristics with customer characteristics. For example, customers with more complex product needs buy more when dyadic collaboration is long or intensive but not when the dyad possesses diverse product knowledge. The conceptual framework and empirical results together enable sales managers to match IS-OS dyads to customers they can serve profitably.

Keywords: business-to-business sales, team selling, inside sales rep, outside sales rep, collaboration

JEL Classification: M3

Suggested Citation

Shi, Huanhuan and Sridhar, Shrihari and Grewal, Rajdeep, Building Effective Inside-Outside Sales Rep Dyads: A Collaboration Perspective (May 30, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3632460 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3632460

Huanhuan Shi

Texas A&M University ( email )

Langford Building A
798 Ross St.
College Station, TX 77843-3137
United States

Shrihari Sridhar

Texas A&M University - Department of Marketing ( email )

430 Wehner
College Station, TX 77843-4218
United States

HOME PAGE: http://mays.tamu.edu/directory/shriharisridhar/

Rajdeep Grewal (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Kenan-Flagler Business School ( email )

McColl Building
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3490
United States

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