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Despite the growing recognition of the critical role of post-sale service on the salesperson-customer relationship, few studies have explored how salesperson service behaviors (SSB) are enhanced through tools such as salesbased customer relationship management (CRM) technology and social media. Using dyadic salesperson-customer data within a business-to-business context, this study analyzes the direct effects of sales-based CRM technology on the behaviors of diligence, information communication, inducements, empathy and sportsmanship. Additionally, the study examines the interactive effects of sales-based CRM technology and social media on these behaviors. The results indicate that sales-based CRM technology has a positive influence on SSBs and that salespeople using CRM technology in conjunction with social media are more likely to exhibit higher levels of SSBs than their counterparts with low social media technology use.
5. Discussion and implications
In the world of B2B sales, there is a lot of talk about ‘social selling’. 3 A 2015 industry report by PeopleLinx suggests that a vast majority of B2B sales and account management professionals (73% of the 277 respondents) consider social selling to be valuable. One of the key reasons for this trend is that social media is a comparatively low cost interactive marketing tool (VanBoskirk, Overby, & Takvorian, 2011). More importantly, it is a promising marketing tool that may complement the customer relationship management process. The current research enhances our understanding of this relatively new practice.
This research investigates how sales-based CRM technology and social media influence SSBs (assessed from the customer's perspective). While many researchers argue the impact that CRM has on buyer-seller relationships and organizational performance, this study addresses a gap in the literature by exploring the impact of CRM after the salesperson closes the deal. Moreover, despite the research on sales-based CRM technology and social media, to our knowledge, no studies have empirically tested the interactive effects of social media and CRM on SSBs. We hypothesized and found evidence that sales-based CRM technology positively influences salesperson information communication, empathy, and sportsmanship. Again, to the best of our knowledge, no studies to date have examined how sales technology can influence empathy and sportsmanship behaviors. Despite the lack of attention paid to these service behaviors, our finding that sales-based CRM technology positively influences empathy and sportsmanship is an important contribution to the sales technology literature. The positive effect of sales-based CRM technology on three SSBs suggests that sales technologies are important tools that support salespersons' tasks and behaviors, not only in closing the deal but also in building customer relationships (Hunter & Perreault, 2007).