Salesperson knowledge distinctions and sales performance

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Although it is conceptually and practically posited that salesperson knowledge has a direct relationship to performance, empirical research concerning this topic has been limited. In a free elicitation study of 150 multi-line insurance agents, the authors demonstrate that higher performing sales personnel have more elaborate, contingent and context-specific procedural knowledge than that of less effective agents. Moreover, higher performing sales personnel's contingent knowledge is shown to be more relevant to the sales call and more adaptive or responsive to the specific contingency than lower performers. In addition, higher performers have more intermediary and indirect goals prior to initially contacting a prospect. These results fuel a call for further research concerning the procedural knowledge roots underlying sales performance, as well as the practical exigencies involved in developing, managing and retaining the knowledge resource of the sales force as a firm-level asset. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]