Salesperson improvisation: antecedents, performance outcomes, and boundary conditions

Premised on the idea that not all salesperson behaviors can be pre-scripted and that, increasingly, salespersons must find ways to respond to unexpected but urgent market conditions, this study theorizes the drivers, outcomes and boundary conditions of salesperson improvisation. Using primary data from industrial salespersons, the study examines how perceptions of resource availability and customer demandingness drive salesperson improvisation and condition its sales performance effects. Findings show that higher levels of salesperson improvisation are associated with increased sales performance. Additionally, a heightened perception of resource availability and greater customer demandingness are associated with increases in salesperson improvisation. Furthermore, findings indicate that the salesperson improvisation-sales performance relationship is strengthened when resource availability is greater and when customer demandingness is lower.