Empowering salespeople: Personal, managerial, and organizational perspectives



The traditional seven steps of personal selling have remained virtually unchanged since the early 1900s. Meanwhile, the actual roles and duties of salespeople have pushed far into customer relationship management (CRM). Psychologically and professionally, salespeople need greater empowerment for their expanding CRM responsibilities. However, empowerment is a complex process requiring several individual, managerial, and organizational changes for successful implementation. As part of the empowerment process for its salespeople, companies need to provide supporting structures, processes, and incentives for customer-oriented behavior. At the same time, the Internet and other telecommunications advances in the macroenvironment are accelerating empowerment changes in personal selling—mainly on the customer side of the exchange. To effectively and efficiently carry out their growing yet still poorly defined CRM roles, salespeople need to be comprehensively empowered, trained, motivated, and rewarded. Companies that most effectively empower their salespeople should reap substantial rewards in profitability and loyalty from both their salespeople and customers. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.