Current Research Projects

Salesperson Learning Preferences

This research investigates how salespeople prefer to learn, and the effectiveness of various learning delivery approaches. It examines training modalities such as in-the-field coaching, online courses, and classroom instruction, as well as more specific communication media such as web, print, video, and mobile applications.

Specific questions addressed include:

  • What technologies, delivery methods, and modalities are used by sales organizations to train and develop salespeople?
  • Are there generational differences in how salespeople prefer to receive training information?
  • What impact do various learning delivery approaches have on sales productivity, and firm performance?
  • What are sales management’s priorities in developing sales force learning programs?
  • What practices yield the best return on training investment?
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Salesperson Retention and Turnover


Sales positions are notoriously tricky to recruit for, and high performing salespeople challenging to retain. This research investigates sales force practices in hiring, onboarding, and retaining key performers. It identifies root causes of salesperson churn, methods used by organizations to retain salespeople, and the impact of these strategies on sales force and firm results.

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Sales Analytics Capabilities

Sales organizations include managers who must make decisions, and analytics support professionals with access to data and an understanding of how to investigate them. What is often missing is the link between the two in the form of reporting tools, provided in a format accessible and understandable for managers, that reflect relevant and timely insights.

This research explores how sales analytics are currently used to support sales leadership decision making. It identifies gaps between sales management needs and routinely available reporting output, and explores emerging analytics capabilities such as cognitive analysis.

Topics addressed include

  • Sales analytics practices within business to business sales organizations
  • Factors that support effective use of analytics
  • Management’s critical issues and improvement priorities
  • Emerging capabilities associated with effective advanced sales analytics
  • Sales analytics' impact on firm performance
  • Technology trends and ROI 
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Best Companies for Sales

Will your sales organization be on the list of the 2017 Best Companies for Sales?

The Sales Management Association and GrowthPlay have partnered to conduct the first annual “Best Companies for Sales” research initiative. 

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Enabling Indirect Sales Channels

This research examines support tactics for indirect sales channels – salespeople, agencies, affiliates, and networks engaged (but not directly employed) by vendor firms. Special focus is given to indirect salesperson effectiveness, and how selling firms can affect it with investments in content, technology, and training.

Specific questions addressed include:

  • What influences indirect sales channels’ effectiveness in delivering a selling firms’ value proposition?
  • What indirect channel support investments are most impactful for selling firms?
  • What indirect channel management practices drive significant value for selling firms?
  • How can selling firms gain higher indirect channel mindshare for their offerings?
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Salesperson Development Priorities

This research investigates the value firms place on specific salesperson characteristics, and compares those priorities with actual sales training and development activities. The research defines how companies answer the question, “What makes an effective salesperson?” and also “How do we develop effective salespeople?” Specific areas of inquiry include salesperson knowledge and skill, as well as achievement drive, attitude, and enthusiasm.

The research also examines firms’ sales force training and development investments, by measuring how, and how well, training efforts match management’s priorities. 

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