IMPLEMENTING MARKETING STRATEGIES THROUGH BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS SALES FORCES: A SOCIAL NETWORK PERSPECTIVE
MetadataShow full item record
Strategy implementation has long been a topic of interest in marketing and sales literature. However, despite the theoretical and managerial importance of this topic, limited research has been conducted to understand the mechanisms through which behavioral and interpersonal factors influence the strategy implementation process. In this research, we are particularly interested in studying marketing strategy implementation through B2B sales forces. During the implementation process, it is critical for higher-level sales managers to motivate their subordinates and obtain their commitment to the implementation tasks. Drawing on social network literature, we use datasets from two large US-based B2B companies to study how the interplay between formal and informal organizational structures in B2B sales forces may affect the commitment of sales managers and salespeople to their roles during a specific marketing strategy implementation. Moreover, we explore how sales managers should leverage formal relationships and informal social networks inside their sales business units in order to facilitate the implementation process. This study has important implications both to the theory and practice of sales management. Our results demonstrate that weak network ties between B2B sales managers and their sociometrically central subordinates can have detrimental effects during the implementation of marketing strategies. Thus, managers should either build strong network ties with their influential subordinates or manipulate the social network structures around them in order to harmonize the strategy implementation efforts in their sales groups.