Cranfield School of Management

Cranfield research finds many sales behaviours are ineffective

29 November 2010

Cranfield research finds many sales behaviours are ineffective

The Harvard Business Review (HBR) has published an article in the December 2010 issue discussing Cranfield School of Management’s research project with sales consultancy Silent Edge.

Professor Lynette Ryals’ article ‘Do You Really Know Who Your Best Salespeople Are?’ highlights some topical management insights resulting from the joint research project between Cranfield and Silent Edge.

Cranfield worked with data, provided by Silent Edge, analysing the performance of 800 sales professionals observed in live sales interactions.  The report identifies eight sets of behaviours in sales meetings.  By understanding these behaviours, managers could effect changes in their current sales force and recruit better team members in the future.

The bad news is that only three of the eight behavioural types, a mere 37% of the sales force, were effective.  However the good news is that behavioural tendencies can be managed over time encouraging sales people to adopt behaviours of the most effective types.

Lynette Ryals, Professor of Strategic Sales and Account Management at Cranfield School of Management, co-authored the article with Dr Iain Davies, a lecturer at the University of Bath.  Professor Ryals’ most recent books include 'Key Account Plans' with Malcolm MacDonald (2008) and 'Managing Customers Profitably' (2008).

“The most exciting part of our results is how the behaviours of these sales people are linked to their success” says Professor Ryals. “This is an important report for companies wanting to improve their sales performance.”

“The results of the research are ground-breaking,” says Silent Edge’s CEO Russell Ward.  “For the first time organisations are able to identify what types of behaviours they have in their sales forces giving managers invaluable knowledge to develop their teams.  This is where Silent Edge is leading the market and we’re helping our clients achieve incredible performance improvements using our innovative evaluation and development tools.” 

HBR is one of the most influential business journals in the world and highly respected among academic and management communities.  Read the full article in the Harvard Business Review here: or read the full research report here:


Notes to Editors

Cranfield School of Management is one of Europe’s leading university management schools renowned for its strong links with industry and business.  It is committed to providing practical management solutions through a range of activities including postgraduate degree programmes, management development, research and consultancy.  

For more information or to arrange an interview with Professor Lynette Ryals please contact: Cranfield School of Management Media Relations on: T: +44 (0) 1234 754348 or E:

About Silent Edge:  Silent Edge’s unique and award-winning approach empowers sales managers to objectively evaluate their teams against industry best practice in live selling situations.  A pioneering technology platform and tailored training programmes are producing extraordinary results and long-term performance improvements in some of the UK’s biggest organisations. 

For more information about Silent Edge please contact: Silent Edge’s Press Office: Katie King, E:   T: + 44 (0) 1892 520123 or +44 (0)7525 727288.  Or visit and