What is it about?

The inclination of B2B salespeople in relaying customers' knowledge amongst the co-workers, and utilizing this knowledge in crafting value-added solutions, helps to bridge their learning propensity and accomplishments of work-related goals. Uniquely, their abilities in sensing customer knowledge do not appear to link up the gap between learning inclination and work outcomes.

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Why is it important?

Salespeople always find themselves overwhelmed and oversaturated with market information. Hence, by unlearning any unproductive customer knowledge, they may be able to keep track of the current and future needs of customers. On the opposite, they also need to make sense of unpredictable information even if they were deemed unimportant since this customer knowledge may suddenly become valuable and relevant at other times. Instead of taking the 'play-it-safe' approach, salespeople need to be exposed to the 'generative learning' process. This process involves them to frequently reflect their current ways of doing things and not afraid to question the existing assumptions.


B2B salespeople are the pillars of strength for the banking industry. Their ability to be resilient in adapting to the market forces is crucial for banks to be competitive. In the Malaysian corporate banking sector, these B2B salespeople are also referred to as 'Relationship Managers' or RMs. Given their high turnover rates and popularity among headhunters, employers highly value RMs for their tacit knowledge of their customers. Their close relationships with their customers tend to endure, despite moving on to different employers. Banks that acquire new seasoned RMs potentially bring in new corporate customers and sales figures. Therefore, their market-oriented behaviors and customer knowledge skills are great assets that need to be retained and replicated by other salespeople for the banks to be competitive.

Muhammad Iskandar Hamzah
Universiti Teknologi MARA

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Mediating effects of individual market orientation on the link between learning orientation and job performance, Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, January 2020, Emerald,
DOI: 10.1108/jbim-08-2018-0239.
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