This study aims to draw on the categorization theory to explore the mediating role of customer qualification skills in explaining how social media use in sales contributes to salespeople’s adaptive selling behaviors to achieve high sales performance in export selling. The study also integrates network effect theory and social linguistics theory to identify the specific social media platform (Facebook versus non-Facebook) and the characteristics of salespeople in terms of English language proficiency, which play a facilitating role in promoting the effectiveness of social media use in export sales.Design/methodology/approachThe sampling frame of the research is a list of Chinese export salespersons obtained on the FOB Business Forum website. Survey data were obtained from 873 Chinese export salespeople. Partial least squares structural equation modeling was performed to analyze the data.FindingsSocial media use in sales is associated positively with customer qualification skills and adaptive selling behaviors. Moreover, the results revealed a partial mediating effect of customer qualification skills on the positive impact of social media use in sales on adaptive selling behaviors. The moderating effect analysis found that the positive association between social media use in sales and customer qualification skills was stronger in export salespeople who used Facebook and had mastered a high level of English language proficiency.Originality/valueThis study provides new findings, based on data collected from salespeople in Mainland China, that support the effectiveness of social media use in an export sales context. Moreover, the study advances prior research by showing that the effectiveness of social media use still depends on the type of social media used and the English language proficiency of the salespeople.
Journal of Asia Business Studies – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 18, 2020
Keywords: Facebook; Sales management; Social media; International business; Customer qualification skills; Adaptive selling behaviors
Read and print from thousands of top scholarly journals.
Already have an account? Log in
Bookmark this article. You can see your Bookmarks on your DeepDyve Library.