Perceptions of the Impact of Mobile Sales Force Automation on Salespeople’s Performance

Perceptions of the Impact of Mobile Sales Force Automation on Salespeople’s Performance

Eusebio Scornavacca (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand), Sid L. Huff (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand), Hartmut Hoehle (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand) and Adam Sutherland (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1939-5.ch010
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While mobile sales force automation (mSFA) has been studied by a number of researchers, little is yet known about the impact of these solutions on the overall performance of salespeople. This chapter explores the perceived impact of mSFA on salespeople’s performance, as seen by the salespeople themselves and also by their manager. The findings indicate that salespeople and management share different perceptions in regards to the extent that mSFA could improve individual performance.
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Literature Review

Mobile Sales Force Automation

Donaldson & Wright (2002) point out that several authors have noted a lack of a clear and convergent definition of sales force automation. According to Morgan & Inks (2001) these technologies involve “the use of computer hardware, software, and telecommunications devices by sales people in their selling and/or administration activities”. Scornavacca & Barnes (2008) define mobile sales force automation (mSFA) as the application of mobile and wireless technologies to SFA systems. In order to identify previous research on the topic of mSFA, an extensive search was conducted using the M-lit mobile literature database. This database contains approximately 1200 peer-reviewed references to published academic research on mobile business (Scornavacca 2007). In addition, a subsequent search was undertaken using the Proquest, Emerald and Web of Science databases.

The great majority of research on mSFA has explored this subject at the organizational level (Gebauer & Shaw, 2004; Innes, Barnes, & Scornavacca, 2005; Rodina, Zeimpekis, & Fouskas, 2003). In addition, many of these studies addressed mSFA adoption, particularly the benefits that businesses may gain by adopting mSFA solutions (Scheepers, Scheepers, & Ngwenyama, 2006; Scornavacca, Prasad, & Lehmann, 2006).

Previous research indicates that several positive impacts are derived from the application wireless technologies to the sales function. In particular, mSFA improves managers’ ability to communicate with salespeople, provides better remote access to back office systems, and access to up-to-date information (Rangone, Renga, & Balocco 2002; Scornavacca & Barnes, 2006). mSFA can provide significant benefits for corporate infrastructure as well as enhancing the efficiency of business operations (Nah, Siau, & Sheng, 2005). However, some researchers found that the development of mobile solutions has been confined to the improvement of existing processes, and has been dependent on the performance of mobile networks and hardware (Prasad, Scornavacca, & Lehmann, 2005).

While the organizational impact of mSFA has been well described in the mobile business literature, much less is known about the effects of mSFA on the individual performance of a salesperson (Junglas & Watson, 2003).

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