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Deliberate Learning as a Strategic Mechanism in Enabling Channel Partner Sales Performance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Debbie Isobel Keeling, David Cox, Ko de Ruyter

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-123
Number of pages11
JournalINDUSTRIAL MARKETING MANAGEMENT
Volume90
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

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Abstract

As suppliers increasingly depend on their indirect sales channel, enablement of channel partners has become a strategic asset. We focus on the central role of deliberate learning within strategic enablement strategy. Specifically, we conceptualize deliberate sales learning as a three-dimensional construct (knowledge articulation, knowledge codification, knowledge certification) and identify the mechanisms through which it impacts on channel partner sales performance. Based on a survey of channel partners (N=383) of an FT100 company, we establish exploitative and explorative learning orientations as antecedents of deliberate sales learning, where this relationship is moderated by channel partners’ preference for online learning formats. The relatively weaker relationship between explorative learning orientation and deliberate sales learning is positively enhanced for those channel partners with a preference for interactive online modules. Further, we demonstrate that deliberate sales learning and deliberate sales practice act in serial mediation to positively impact sales performance. In addition to future research opportunities, we identify three core implications for the practice of strategic sales enablement; enhancing return on investment, managing learner motivation and activating learning engagement of channel partners.

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