The changing role of sales: viewing sales as a strategic, cross-functional process

Kaj Storbacka, Lynette Ryals, Iain A. Davies, Suvi Nenonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Citations (SciVal)


Purpose – Although there is substantial practitioner evidence for changes in the role and functioning of sales in the twenty-first century, there is little academic research charting new directions for the sales function in a business-to-business context. This paper aims to report on four case studies that illustrate how sales is changing.
Design/methodology/approach – The case studies involve large global companies who were changing their existing sales process to adapt to changing circumstances. The organizations comprised four global industries: construction, power solutions, building technology, and electronics and software.
Findings – The results demonstrate that sales is changing in three interrelated aspects: from a function to a process; from an isolated activity to an integrated one; and is becoming strategic rather than operational.
Originality/value – The results suggest that changes in the role of sales will affect sales processes and the way that the sales function liaises with other departments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)890-906
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Issue number7/8
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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