Strategy implementation remains a perennial challenge for firms. While several studies have examined implementation phenomena at the firm level, we know little about what firms can do to get their salespeople to implement strategies for new products and services. Understanding salespeople's individual-level implementation is of particular importance as salespeople are the frontline employees of the firm responsible for implementing strategies with customers. Drawing from motivation, opportunity, and ability (MOA) theory, this examination investigates factors impacting the implementation of strategies associated with introducing new products and services by the salesperson. We use a sample of 277 business-to-business salespeople to test our hypothesized relationships. The findings show both positive and negative moderation among the implementation MOA variables and also provide broad support for their proposed drivers. Additionally, the identified implementation facets of responsiveness and effort are found to positively impact implementation success.
To achieve their goals, it is not only important for firms to develop good strategies, but also to implement them successfully. There are several incidences however, of companies formulating supposedly excellent strategies but running into problems with implementation (Bossidy, Charan, & Burck, 2002; Lorge, 1999; Slater, Hult, & Olson, 2010; Slater, Olson, & Hult, 2010). Salespeople can play an important role in implementing a firm's strategies as they occupy a frontline position within the company. Additionally, organizational initiative success can be predicated on the level of salespeople's acceptance or resistance (Zablah, Chonko, Bettencourt, Allen, & Haas, 2012). While some firms are very effective at getting their salespeople to implement strategies, others are not as successful.
Strategy implementation can be conceptualized as how a strategy is operationalized and enacted by the organization (Varadarajan & Jayachandran, 1999). The existing management literature has examined implementation at a firm level and advanced factors for improving organizational implementation, such as good communication, clear strategies, strategic focus, cross-functional integration, support from senior management, and strategic consensus amongst members (Beer, 1997; Crittenden & Crittenden, 2008; Dobni & Luffman, 2003; Rapert, Velliquette, & Garretson, 2002).