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Sales Force Activities and Customer Trust

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Abstract:

In the "relational era", sales force role and activities are rapidly changing. Literature on both relationship marketing and personal selling emphasizes the importance of customer trust, which largely depends on sales force behaviours. This paper reviews such literature, provides empirical evidence of the current state of sales force activities in a sample of 113 sales managers of Italian firms, and explores sales force role, as perceived by the respondents, in gaining customer trust. The findings show four typical roles performed by the sales force and three classes of customer trust drivers. The research also identifies clusters of companies characterized by different combinations of activities carried out by the sales force and by different contributions made by the latter to gaining customer trust. The study also points out differences among industries with regards to sales force roles, as well as associations between such roles and some input and output variables both internal and external to the selling firms.

Keywords: CUSTOMER TRUST; EMPIRICAL RESEARCH; ITALY; RELATIONSHIP MARKETING; SALES FORCE ACTIVITIES; SALES MANAGERS

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1362/0267257022780606

Publication date: August 1, 2002

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