Sustainability has become a consideration for every firm operating in today’s business landscape. Scholars are tasked with uncovering bridges and barriers to successfully implement sustainability strategies, and the academic community has largely responded. However, while sustainability research has proliferated across business disciplines, it is conspicuously missing from professional selling and sales management. This is partly due to conceptual ambiguity, but also because sustainability generally involves firm-level policies and programs, and therefore domains like consumer behavior, marketing strategy, and supply chain management have occupied the space. This is problematic because while executives develop sustainability strategies, the sales force is responsible for conveying those priorities to external stakeholders. Therefore, the goals of our manuscript are to: 1) organize and refine the definition of sustainability in a professional selling context, 2) review relevant literature that examines sustainability in that context, 3) explore emergent themes from this review that 4) reveal gaps in our understanding, and 5) present a research agenda for sales scholars to bridge these gaps and advance our understanding of the role of sustainability in sales and vice versa.
Colin B. Gabler, V. Myles Landers & Omar S. Itani (2023) Sustainability and professional sales: a review and future research agenda, Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, https://doi.org/10.1080/08853134.2023.2244675
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Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management