Resilience, Perseverance, Intrinsic Motivation, Personal Selling, Sales


Business | Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Marketing


Prior research has shown that approximately half of salespeople fail to achieve their targets each year. Not only is the role difficult but also sales jobs are often marked by high levels of stress, rejection, and burnout. Thus, salesperson resilience is critical. However, a gap remains in our understanding of how resilience influences performance and how managers can motivate salespeople to be more resilient. To answer these questions, we collected survey data from 110 salespeople from a large firm based in the Midwest, along with objective effort and performance data provided by the company prior to and following a poor performance review. Our analyses reveal that intrinsically motivated salespeople are more resilient than salespeople driven by a desire for financial compensation. In addition, resilience leads to sales performance through increasing two types of effort—both initiating more calls with customers and achieving longer average call duration. Hence, our findings demonstrate that resilient salespeople not only persevere but also become better at selling in the process.

Original Citation

Good, V., Hughes, D. E., & LaBrecque, A. C. (2021). Understanding and motivating salesperson resilience. Marketing Letters, 32(1), 33–45.