Identifying sales performance gaps with internal benchmarking

Danny P. Claro, Wagner A. Kamakura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


This research investigates how retailers can benefit from identifying the sales growth potential of in-store salespeople in every product category. The proposed novel approach helps retailers develop an equitable evaluation of their sales force, using both observable and unobservable factors that affect sales. By extending stochastic frontier regression to a multivariate case, the resulting factor-analytic frontier formulation leverages the correlation pattern of sales across product categories and salespeople over time. A unique data set, from a franchise chain with 481 salespeople, operating in 35 stores and selling 11 related product categories, identifies a gap between observed category profits and an estimated profit frontier for each salesperson and category. This novel model also can benchmark each salesperson against all others across product categories while accounting for observable and unobservable factors. This approach has practical value, in that retailers can identify both top-performing salespeople and underperformers, who then might be matched to establish a positive learning environment that aligns top performers with proven sales expertise in a product category with peers who struggle with that category.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-419
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Retailing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Embedded knowledge
  • Internal benchmarking
  • Latent variables
  • Multivariate stochastic frontier regression
  • Sales efficiency
  • Sales force management

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