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Abstract

Sales force automation (SFA) technologies are increasingly used to support customer relationship management (CRM) strategies. However, the popular press reports mixed results among companies incorporating SF A. technologies and the previous studies have less interested in relationship quality between sales person and customer as an outcome of SF A. Actually the improved quality of the salesperson-customer relationship may be the most important outcome of SF A usage. This outcome is especially meaningful in today`s marketplace given the increasing focus placed on customer retention and other customer related performance such as customer lifetime value. Therefore, this study seeks to further examine the impact of SF A usage within two different firms using SF A technologies to examine the impact of SF A usage on both customer relationship quality and sales performance. Additionally, the moderating roles of perceived managerial support and sales-person experience on the outcomes of SF A usage are examined. The results shows that direct effect of SF A usage on performance was not significant but highlight the mediating role of customer relationship quality in the SFA usage-sales performance relationship. Also, this research examines a number of moderating effects of both management supports for SF A and salesperson`s sales work experience. The results indicate that management support has a sig-nificant direct influence on relationship quality and salesperson performance, but not a significant moderating effect on the relationship between SF A usage and the outcomes (relationship quality and performance). Thus moderating effects were not supported but find significant main effects. First of all, finding of this study suggest that a formula for successful SFA implementation must be one that highlights a SFA usage →relationship quality→ sales performance sequence. This means when sales person use SF A they must build relationship with customer first then will return some long term performance. Second, the implications of not considering the introduction of big technology ini-tiatives in terms of fit within the company`s culture, strategy, structure, and environment may in many cases be quite noteworthy. Therefore, the launching of a new technology in the fimr, such as SF A. may have a nonlinear impact upon overall firm performance, depending on the presence of other complimentary resources and capabilities. Finally the authors offer a number of implications for research and practice, and suggest directions for future SF A research that may further improve our understanding of this increasingly relevant topic.

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