Sales force obsolescence: Perceptions from sales and marketing executives of individual, organizational, and environmental factors Academic Article uri icon


  • The trade and academic literature is replete with observations that many sales organizations are in the midst of a redefinition of the strategic role of their sales forces. With today's market forces, change is overdue in many sales organizations. Consequently, the issue of whether the sales force is becoming obsolete has come to the forefront in recent years. As business environments change rapidly, the relevance of the modern sales force comes into question. Data were gathered from 245 midlevel sales and marketing executives on perceived sales force obsolescence. Our findings suggest that obsolescence is a phenomenon for sales organizations to address. The main findings of our study are (1) obsolescence is a phenomenon that affects sales professionals' feelings toward the job (job satisfaction) and outcomes (performance); (2) a firm's market orientation is very important in lowering perceived obsolescence; (3) a learning orientation is important in detecting symptoms of obsolescence; (4) age and education are related to perceptions of obsolescence depending on the type of industry in which the sales force competes: high- or low-tech; and (5) organizational changes can also have a bearing on the sales force's perceptions of obsolescence. 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Jones, E., Chonko, L. B., & Roberts, J. A.

citation count

  • 16

complete list of authors

  • Jones, E||Chonko, LB||Roberts, JA

publication date

  • January 2004