The innovative impact of digital technologies on sales forces is largely unexplored. Particularly, the understanding of drivers of social media use by salespeople remains fragmented and scant. Drawing on motivation-opportunity-ability theory, this study develops an integrative framework. The individual’s opportunities to use social media, including perceptions about market readiness, peer influence, and organizational support are considered as important antecedents of individuals’ motivation (perceived usefulness) and ability (perceived ability to integrate social media in the sales tasks) to use social media in their job. Next to a positive effect of social media use on sales performance also a potential negative impact through distraction is accounted for. The framework and hypotheses are tested using a sample of 345 salespeople. The results largely support the model and hypotheses. Market readiness, peer influence, and organizational support positively affect salesperson motivation, and except for organizational support, the individual’s ability to integrate social media in his/her sales job too. Findings further show that motivation and ability together drive social media use in sales, but that a lack of ability shuts down the positive influence of motivation on social media use. Finally, a positive effect of social media use on sales performance is detected, suggesting that social media can be an important tool to enhance sales growth. Support for a dark side effect of social media is not found.
- MOA framework
- Social media