Although industrial sales is widely discussed in both practitioner and academic circles, no clear definition of “industrial” has been established. We present a definition of industrial sales that distinguishes it from other sales domains, and we draw from a panel of industrial sales executives and a random sample of industrial sales managers to generate and evaluate the importance of a comprehensive list of knowledge, skills, and value competencies that are required for success in industrial sales. Technical competencies, while important, were rated relatively less so than selling- and customer-related competencies. Among other recommendations, we implore industrial sales executives to incorporate a global mindset into their sales organization, and we challenge academics to extend personal selling beyond the business school to engineering, computer science, and other technical disciplines from where industrial salespeople often recruit.



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