Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-1-2014

Publication Title

International Business Review

Keywords

B2B marketing; international business; customer-oriented selling; Entrepreneurship/Innovation

Disciplines

International Business | Marketing

Abstract

In the international business-to-business (B2B) setting, a firm's salespeople often have more direct, prolonged, and intimate contact with the customer and market environments than any other employees of the firm. In fact, for customers in many B2B markets, the salesperson is the face of the firm. The sales function can be characterized as an inherently entrepreneurial activity. Entrepreneurship is founded on knowing or seeing something others do not see, and the sales force has long been recognized as an important source of knowledge about a firm's customers and environment. However, there has been relatively little work linking entrepreneurship to international sales performance, especially in the B2B context. This paper focuses on the intelligence-gathering role of salespeople to firms practicing corporate entrepreneurship in the international B2B setting. More specifically, drawing on the theories of corporate entrepreneurship and the knowledge-based view of the firm, the authors develop a conceptual model that proposes international sales performance for firms practicing corporate entrepreneurship will be enhanced when salespeople practice customer-oriented selling and the firm's absorptive capacity is stronger. Recommended methodology for testing the proposed model is a single-informant survey of sales managers with firms in the domain of interest, using structural equation modeling with moderator tests. The paper concludes with implications and directions for future research.

DOI

10.1016/j.ibusrev.2014.04.003

Version

Postprint

Volume

23

Issue

6

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