Sales Manager Training Practices in Small and Large Firms

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Publication Date


Publication Title

American journal of Business




– The purpose of this paper is to examine practices of and differences between small and large organizations as they relate to the training of sales managers.

Design/methodology/approach – Utilizing a survey approach, data were collected from a sample of sales managers and trainers employed by firms across the USA. Analysis was conducted between “small” and “large” organizations based on sales force size.

Findings – While many similarities do exist between small and large firms' sales manager training practices, some significant differences also exist in terms of teaching approaches, types of instructors, training locations, methods, and content utilized. Results of the current study exhibit both similarities and differences as compared to results of sales manager training practices found in earlier studies.

Research limitations/implications – The study was based on a sample of sales managers and trainers employed by firms within the USA. Sales manager training practices could differ due to cultural differences, the industry the firm competes in, and other factors.

Practical implications – First, sales manager training activities show more similarities than differences between small and large firms. Second, internet‐based training methods are becoming prevalent in large firms while still struggling for acceptance in smaller ones. Third, no one type of instructor is viewed as being highly effective in either small or large firms. Fourth, senior management must support and encourage positive behavioral changes associated with sales manager training or else efforts will fail.

Originality/value – The current study answers the call for research to identify contemporary sales manager training practices, building upon results of previous studies.