UNH Sales Center Research

OUR Research Mission

We believe sustainable competitive advantage is embedded in the people who make up the organization. Yet, in salesforce management, firms often struggle with hiring, coaching, and retaining high-performing salespeople. Our research mission is to uncover leading-edge, research-based solutions for firms and sales managers that help with hiring, retention, and coaching throughout the salesperson lifecycle.

Select Scholarly Publications

Whom to hire and how to coach them: a longitudinal analysis of newly hired salesperson performance, Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management (2020) Link to Research
  • Award Winner: 2020 JPSSM Marvin Jolson Award for Best Contribution to Selling and Sales Management Practice
  • Featured: Keller Center Research Report 2022
  • Featured: Forbes.com, Should Your Startup Hire Sales Veterans or Rookies?

Salesperson hiring decisions are critical for firms, and managers typically accept one of two viewpoints regarding optimal hiring strategies. The first asserts that prior sales experience allows new salespeople to perform immediately upon hire and represents a valuable hiring heuristic. The second believes lack of prior experience allows managers to mold new salespeople to the hiring firm’s needs. Further complicating matters, formal sales education programs are gaining in popularity and may represent an alternative hiring heuristic for sales managers.

Key Takeaways

A chart from the research paper Whom to hire and how to coach them
Social Networks Within Sales Organizations: Their Development and Importance for Salesperson Performance, Journal of Marketing (2015) Link to Research
  • Award Winner: 2016 SalesSIG Excellence in Research, AMA
  • Award Winner: 2015 Roland Copeland Best Paper, Northeastern University
  • Featured: Forbes.com, 4 Reasons Social Capital Trumps All

Although the study of salesperson performance traditionally has focused on salespeople’s activities and relationships with customers, scholars recently have proposed that salespeople’s intraorganizational relationships and activities also play a vital role in driving sales performance. Network links are conducive to transferring complex knowledge that is not easily codified. These networks provide a sustainable competitive advantage to members of the specific social network. Therefore, salespeople’s network positions within the internal organizational network, and the connectivity they represent, are inexorably linked to their performance outcomes.

Key Takeaways

  • Ensure that salespeople are allocating adequate time and energy to navigating and building relationships within their own organizations
  • Emphasize knowledge other than that related to (product or firm) content. Specifically, managers should include political skill as part of a comprehensive, noncompetitive, and supportive new-hire training program.
  • Because training in interpersonal skills is challenging to execute in traditional lecture/presentation-based training programs, experiential training techniques should be explored.
  • Explore interventions that might encourage and enable the less extroverted salesperson to forge these useful connections that occur naturally with their extroverted counterparts.  
Cinthia Satornino headshot
UNH Sales Center Research Director

Dr. Cinthia B. Satornino is an Assistant Professor of Marketing and the Research Director for the UNH Sales Center at the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics. Cinthia spent over a decade in corporate and institutional settings as a business professional and consultant. She earned her MBA at the University of Florida and her Ph.D. at Florida State University.

Cinthia is a frequent speaker and panelist at practitioner and academic conferences and was invited to serve as a panelist for the Fulfilling America's Future: Latinas in the U.S. White House summit in Washington, D.C. in 2016. She was also recognized as one of the Top 40 Undergraduate Business Professors by Poets & Quants in 2017. Most recently, she and her coauthors earned the Marvin Jolson Award for Best Contribution to Selling and Sales Management Practice from the Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management.

Beyond her ongoing research, Cinthia continues to be an active consultant and frequently conducts management and strategy workshops for both private and public organizations.