Linking sales performance to entrepreneurial strategy-making, corporate entrepreneurship preparedness and entrepreneurial sales actions

John Edwards

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


Scholars and practitioners continue to explore new and practical approaches to improve business-to-business (B2B) sales performance. This is supported by nearly 80% of USA firms that make significant changes to their sales programs every two years or less to improve performance (Zoltners et al., 2012). Furthermore, the literature is limited in identifying B2B sales performance (Bolander et al., 2015). Significant variances in understanding B2B sales performance remain unexplained, suggesting that sales performance remains a complex area to identify and predict despite its importance. The imperative to deliver both top-line (sales) and bottom-line (profit) growth is a vital strategic goal for Australian firms operating in local and globally competitive markets. High-performing salespeople’s important role in achieving growth is a primary concern and priority for organisations in competitive B2B markets. While entrepreneurship is well recognised for its propensity to improve firm performance, little is understood about the relationship between entrepreneurial strategy-making, structuring an organisation to be entrepreneurial, and their effect on entrepreneurial sales actions and individual sales performance. This thesis empirically addresses these issues by asking:

What are the interrelationships between individual and business unit sales performance and: (i) entrepreneurial and simplistic strategy-making; (ii) organisational preparedness for corporate entrepreneurship; and (iii) entrepreneurial sales actions?

To answer this question, the study used the literature from strategic management, entrepreneurship and personal selling to build a theoretical framework tailored for B2B salespeople. Hypotheses derived from this framework were then empirically tested in a cross-industry sample of 252 Australian B2B salespeople.

Several significant findings are drawn from the study:

Through quantitative methods testing, entrepreneurial (“bottom-up”) strategy-making has a far more significant effect on organisational preparedness for corporate entrepreneurship (OPCE) than simplistic (“top-down”) strategy-making. The most critical factor influencing OPCE is management support for the B2B salespeople to be “entrepreneurial”. Causal modelling indicates that OPCE strongly influences entrepreneurial sales actions, such as sales innovativeness and creative selling. The effects of these entrepreneurial sales actions, creative selling and sales innovativeness positively impact individual and business unit sales performance. Therefore, entrepreneurial strategy-making has a more substantial effect than simplistic strategy-making on individual and business unit sales performance.

The study’s main contribution is applying entrepreneurial strategy-making, preparedness for corporate entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurial sales actions to sales performance within the sales management/personal selling discipline. These findings provide lessons for senior management when pursuing increased growth and revenue amongst salespeople, the consequences of their strategy-making process, and a greater understanding of the critical factors in creating an internal “entrepreneurship climate”.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Frost, Mark, Co-Supervisor
  • Nayeem, Tahmid, Principal Supervisor
  • Miles, Morgan, Advisor, External person
  • D'Alessandro, Steven, Advisor, External person
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publication statusPublished - 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Linking sales performance to entrepreneurial strategy-making, corporate entrepreneurship preparedness and entrepreneurial sales actions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this