SOCOs Impact on Individual Sales Performance: The Integration of Selling Skills as a Missing Link

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2009


Conventional wisdom suggests that a customer orientation is a vital cornerstone upon which the success of salespeople is predicated in terms of serving their customers and prospects. However, at a pragmatic level, not all salespeople practice a customer-oriented philosophy in their day-to-day selling. In fact, decades of sales research provide largely inconclusive results with respect to individual salespersons' customer orientation and performance outcomes. We argue that for customer orientation to be a predictor of sales performance, specific selling skills must be present. Furthermore, we empirically demonstrate that without these requisite selling skills, salespeople are better off utilizing a sales orientation approach, as opposed to a customer orientation approach. More provocatively, this research shows that a “missing link” in the long standing body of research on the SOCO (sales orientation/customer orientation) perspective is that specific selling skills can impact sales performance directly as well as moderate the impact that both a “sales orientation” and a “customer orientation” ultimately have on sales performance.



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