Applied organizational research: Sales Force Effectiveness (SFE) in Retail June – November 2019

Case study in retail: a structured research process to explore sales force effectiveness and recommendations to enhance SFE in a retail organization operating in 14 countries.

The research question of this project focused on exploring the barriers and enablers for sales managers to be successful in sales and to identify the catalysts for sales force effectiveness. The first stage of this research consisted of a literature study on sales force effectiveness, which aimed to identify its major indicators. The findings from literature formed the basis for qualitative interviews with retail managers and other actors involved in sales and retail. The interviews resulted in creating a framework that allowed the systematic exploration of barriers and enablers. This framework was introduced as SFE Wheel. The SFE Wheel consisted of 8 dimensions. Next, an online questionnaire comprising 86 questions was developed. With the help of local retail staff, the questionnaire was translated and disseminated to groups involved in the sales process. A sample of 1.500 retail staff in 14 countries was included in this study. 

As limesurvey (an open source survey software)was used in this study, no back-translation into English (except for comments) was needed. Hence, it was possible to go right into data interpretation and analysis, which concluded with answering the research question as stated above. In the last stage, data-based recommendations and programs to improve sales force effectiveness were provided.

A lasting impression:

The SFE Wheel was highly appreciated by the subsidiaries in the participating countries and was used as an analytical tool for local initiatives in organizational development and people management.

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