The Perceived Impact of Information Technology on Salespeople's Relational Competencies

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Abstract:

Over the last decade, a steady stream of academic research and practitioner articles has examined the adoption and use of information technology (IT) applications in sales and customer services. In much of this literature, sales-related IT tools have been heralded as enhancing salespeople's customer service delivery, professionalism and general sales effectiveness. However, the literature has yet to investigate the precise nature of salespeople's experience with IT tools in their daily sales tasks. Specifically, a core area of salespeople's skills – namely their ability to practice relationship selling – has been ignored by the sales management literature examining the impact of such tools. This research investigates how the incorporation of IT tools in salespeople's customer interactions affects salespeople's perceived relational competencies. Results indicate that while IT tools can enhance some relational competencies, they are likely to inhibit other competencies that may be crucial in industries where close personal customer relationships are core to a firm's success.

Keywords: INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY; RELATIONSHIP SELLING; SALES FORCE AUTOMATION; SALES MANAGEMENT

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1362/026725706778612158

Publication date: August 1, 2006

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