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Journal Articles Industrial Marketing Management Year : 2020

Increasing resilience by creating an adaptive salesforce

Arun Sharma
  • Function : Author
Deva Rangarajan


During disruptions such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the resilience of any commercial organization becomes a critical characteristic. This paper examines the flexibility of the sales process—that is, adaptive selling—as an analog to resiliency, and recommends that firms create an adaptive salesforce to increase resilience. By examining the extant research and conducting interviews with sales leaders, the findings of this paper suggest that an adaptive salesforce should focus on three areas of change within team structures. The first is an increase in flexibility and adaptiveness for the functions that the salesforce performs. The second area is an improvement of the adaptiveness of scale in which sales functions can be rapidly insourced or outsourced. The final area is technology adaptiveness, in which the salesforce adopts the use of technologies that are most relevant to customers. Implications for the firm, sales function, and individual salespeople are also derived.

Dates and versions

hal-03136152 , version 1 (09-02-2021)



Arun Sharma, Deva Rangarajan, Bert Paesbrugghe. Increasing resilience by creating an adaptive salesforce. Industrial Marketing Management, 2020, 88, pp.238-246. ⟨10.1016/j.indmarman.2020.05.023⟩. ⟨hal-03136152⟩
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