Document Type



Doctor of Business Administration


Business Administration

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Joseph Rottman, D.Sc.


Joseph Rottman, D.Sc.

Jennifer Reynolds-Moehrle, Ph.D.

Bindu Arya, Ph.D.


For decades, sales organizations have faced the ongoing challenge of attaining the maximum sales results from their salespeople. Whether a salesperson has plenty of skill but lacks the will to reach their potential or has the will to become a top salesperson but lacks the necessary skills to reach their potential, the failure of sales organizations to obtain maximum results from their salespeople is a problem. Some salespeople have plenty of skill but lack the will to reach their potential, while others have the will to become a top salesperson but have not yet acquired the necessary skills to reach their potential. In this paper, we discuss the skill and will attributes thoroughly as we utilize a qualitative approach involving interviews with 16 sales managers in a variety of B2B and B2C industries to gain a perspective from those who work in outside sales every day. We also delve into the role of inside salespeople with an in-depth discussion of how the salesforce structure is different for inside sales teams vs. outside sales teams. In particular, we discuss how the use of various technology tools (e.g., phone, email, face-to-face video calls, teleconference calls, etc.) that are used in inside sales has led to a significant growth in the importance, role, and number of inside salespeople throughout the past decade. This growth in inside sales has also led to an increase in efficiency for sales organizations. The focus of this research, though, is on outside sales as we seek to answer the question of which attributes separate top-performing outside salespeople from the rest.