Building Effective Inside-Outside Sales Rep Dyads: A Collaboration Perspective
45 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2020 Last revised: 2 Jun 2022
Date Written: May 30, 2022
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: Suggested Citation