Knowledge-Based Sales Management Strategy and the Grafting Metaphor: Implications for Theory and Practice

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Industrial Marketing Management


An assessment of sales research reveals limited theoretical sophistication and grounding, less focus on intraorganizational issues, over emphasis on the micro (salesperson) versus the macro (sales function) aspects in sales management, and the criticality of knowledge to sales management. Although marketing literature draws on metaphors for theory development, there is very little sales management research that relies on metaphors for theory. In addition, reflecting the recent changes in the external environment, there have been several calls to research knowledge-based sales management. Therefore, this article explores knowledge grafting - a new theoretical metaphor - in the context of knowledge-based sales management. In doing so, first, we briefly overview the metaphor literature. Second, we introduce and evaluate the grafting metaphor. Third, we discuss the important issues of knowledge-based sales management. Fourth, we describe the knowledge grafting process and develop a knowledge grafting based conceptual framework in the context of sales management. Fifth, we discuss the strategic normative imperatives for practice. Finally, we conclude with a call for future research.

Original Citation

Madhavaram, S., & McDonald, R. (2010). Knowledge-based sales management strategy and the grafting metaphor: Implications for theory and practice. Industrial Marketing Management, 39(7), 1078-1087. doi:10.1016/j.indmarman.2009.12.009