News story 17th May 2017

Improving your salesforce with internal benchmarking

The Department of Marketing recently hosted a public lecture titled 'Improving your salesforce with internal benchmarking'. It was presented by Professor Wagner Kamakura who is a Professor of Marketing at the Jones Graduate School of Business, Rice University.

This public lecture explored the gains made by those retailers who identify the sales growth potential for in-store salespeople in every product category. Wagner presented a novel approach that enables retailers to develop an equitable evaluation of their salesforce, accounting for both observable and unobservable factors affecting sales.

A unique dataset from a franchise chain with 481 salespeople operating in 35 stores selling 11 related product categories was used to identify the gap between observed category sales and an estimated sales frontier for each salesperson and product category.

This approach showed that it is possible to benchmark each salesperson against all others across product categories, while accounting for observable and unobservable factors affecting sales performance. This benchmarking approach is valuable to retailers, because it allows them to equitably identify the top-performing salespeople, who should embrace the role of growth advisor, as well as under-performing salespeople, who become learners in learning programs.

Matching growth advisors and learners is critical to nurture a positive learning environment within the salesforce because it aligns top performers with tested and proven expertise on sales of a given product category with peers who struggle with the category in the same product-market.

Download the presentation.

About Professor Wagner A. Kamakura

Professor Wagner KamakuraWagner is the Jesse H. Jones Professor of Marketing at the Jones Graduate School of Business, Rice University and is an Adjunct Professor at Monash University. Prior to joining the Jones school, Professor Kamakura taught at Duke, Iowa, Pittsburgh and Vanderbilt universities. Before joining academia, he worked in market analysis, forecasting and planning at Duratex S.A. and Massey-Ferguson of Brazil.

Professor Kamakura's academic training has been focused on Business Analytics applied to Marketing problems. He has a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin and holds an EMBA and several degrees in Engineering from universities in Brazil. He co-authored Market Segmentation: Conceptual and Methodological Foundations, and published over one hundred articles in leading academic journals across multiple disciplines. He is also a past editor of the Journal of Marketing Research. His current research interests are in business analytics, consumption and time-use analysis, efficiency analysis, customer relationship management, market segmentation and market structure.