Sales theorists have long debated the most effective way to construct causal sales theories. Or, have they? The most common approach is to identify a set of variables known to affect sales outcomes and then develop a model that describes the relationships between these variables. However, this approach has several drawbacks. First, it is often difficult to identify all of the relevant variables. Second, even if all relevant variables are identified, it is often difficult to determine the precise nature of the relationships between them.
As a result, many sales theorists have advocated for a different approach to constructing causal sales theories. This approach, known as the “case study” approach, involves studying a small number of sales organizations in depth to identify the key variables that affect sales outcomes. This approach has several advantages over traditional methods of sales research.
- Allows for a more in-depth understanding of the sales process and its factors.
- Identifies previously unknown variables that may significantly impact sales outcomes.
- Provides a richer, more detailed understanding of the sales process than can be obtained through traditional methods of sales research
- Used to develop and test sales interventions in a controlled environment before being implemented in the market.
- More flexible and can be tailored to the specific needs of the organization being studied.
Sales theories abound, but a rule for constructing causal sales theories is essential for any salesperson who wants to be successful. Theories allow salespeople to understand and predict customer behavior, identify sales opportunities, and design sales strategies. A causal sales theory must be based on a deep understanding of the customer, the product, and the market. Data must also support it. Data can be collected through surveys, experiments, or observational studies. Once a sales theory is developed, it can be tested through field trials or laboratory experiments. If the data support the theory, it can be used to improve sales performance.
Construct Falsifiable Sales Theories: To construct a causal sales theory, one must create a false sales theory. This means that the theory must be able to be proven false through experimentation. If the theory cannot be proven false, it is not a causal sales theory. The reason why it is important to construct a falsifiable sales theory is that it allows for testing. Without testing, there is no way to know if the theory is correct. By testing the theory and proving it false, we can learn more about what causes sales to occur. It is important to remember that not all theories will be correct. Most theories will probably be proven false. However, we can slowly piece together what causes sales to happen by constructing falsifiable sales theories. Whichever method you choose, remember that the goal is to construct a theory that can be disproven. This may seem like a difficult task, but it is essential to create useful sales theories.
Build Sales Theories That Are Internally Consistent: Sales theories are important for understanding and predicting consumer behavior. However, sales theories must be internally consistent with being useful. This means the theory is based on logical assumptions consistent with known facts. Sales theories that are internally consistent are more likely to be accurate and useful in predicting consumer behavior.
The theory will be less effective at predicting and explaining sales outcomes if there are inconsistencies. When constructing a sales theory, it is important to consider the different factors that could impact sales. This includes both internal and external factors. All of the different variables should be considered to create a theory that is as accurate as possible. Internally consistent theories are more likely to be accurate and effectively predict and explain sales outcomes. When constructing a sales theory, it is important to consider the different factors that could impact sales.
Select Dependent Sales Variables Carefully: Sales theories are important for understanding how and why sales occur. However, selecting the dependent sales variables carefully when constructing a sales theory is important. Otherwise, the theory may be inaccurate or incomplete. There are a few things to consider when selecting the dependent sales variables.
- Variables should be relevant to the theory.
- Variables should be measurable.
- Variables should be able to be manipulated.
- Variables should be able to be controlled.
The sales theory may be inaccurate if the dependent sales variables are not carefully selected. This can lead to bad decision-making based on the theory. Therefore, it is important to take the time to choose the right variables when constructing a sales theory. The variables you select should be those you can realistically change or influence in some way. Otherwise, your theory will be of little use. Once you have selected your variables, you must identify their relationships. This is done through experimentation or observation. Once you have identified the relationships, you can start developing your theory.
Maximize Sales Concreteness: Sales theories should be constructed in such a way as to maximize sales concreteness. This means that salespeople should avoid jargon and technical terms when communicating with customers and instead use clear, concise language that is easy for the customer to understand. For example, they should focus on specific behaviors and outcomes rather than generalities and data and evidence rather than personal opinion or conjecture. Additionally, sales theories should be easy to remember and apply, so salespeople can quickly and easily put them into practice. By constructing sales theories with these factors in mind, salespeople can increase their chances of success in selling to customers.
Create Sales Theories in as Encompassing Ways as Feasible: Sales theories should be stated as encompassing as possible to best explain the causal relationships between different variables. This allows for a greater understanding of how the different elements of the sales process interact with one another. By considering as many variables as possible, sales theories can provide a more accurate picture of how the sales process works. Additionally, this approach can help to identify potential areas of improvement for the sales process.
Reference: Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research, by by Gary King (Author), Robert O. Keohane (Author), Sidney Verba (Author), Princeton University Press; New edition (August 17, 2021)