The War for Talent at the Frontlines


Hiring and Retaining Effective Salespeople, Special issue of the Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management; Deadline 30 Apr 2023

Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management (JPSSM)

Special Issue Call for Papers

The War for Talent at the Frontlines:
Hiring and Retaining Effective Salespeople

 The Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management (JPSSM) is pleased to announce and invites research article submissions for a special issue on Selling & Sales Management on the “War for Talent” that is scheduled for publication in Winter, 2024. JPSSM is the premier international journal that is devoted exclusively to the publication of peer-reviewed articles related to personal selling and sales management.

Description and Scope of the Special Issue:

With the “war for talent’’ raging and the aging and shrinking sales force, the recruitment and long-term retention of skilled and motivated sales employees is currently a key challenge for organizations. While hiring and retaining high performing salespeople has always been crucial for organizations, the current state of the labor market is particularly problem laden. First, sales organizations urgently require new sales talent to survive and fortify their businesses in the current turbulent market environments. However, sales organizations face an unprecedented shortage and dearth of new sales offspring. The labor market regarding sales talent seems to be barren. Second, even if sales organizations manage to hire new sales recruits, it may constitute a risky, difficult endeavor and sustainable performance is not assured. Firms need to invest considerable amounts of money to effectively train salespeople and yet, the ramp-up time for new salespeople often is tremendous. Moreover, selecting salespeople with appropriate skill profiles may pose considerable challenges seeing the escalating demands for salespeople’s skills in surging business models based on trends such as servitization, value selling, or solution selling.

Even if firms succeed in hiring the right salespeople and efficiently ramping them up, more challenges ensue. In today’s flexible and mobile job markets, retaining high potential salespeople is difficult. Salesperson turnover is a prevalent phenomenon, with turnover rates between 20% and 30% in sales organizations. Such turnover entails far-reaching problems for organizations, such as high direct costs in the search and hiring of new employees and indirect costs such as the weakening or termination of entire customer relationships. As one of the most direct influencing factors on the behavior of their employees, sales managers are more than ever required to recognize and counteract emerging resignation of their employees at an early stage.

Effectively retaining salespeople is not a given and may require fundamental changes and transformations of sales organizations. Younger generations of salespeople have different expectations regarding their work and are motivated differently. So-called millennials no longer conceive work as just a way to earn money, but also as an opportunity to contribute to society. For the opportunity to work for an organization with a purpose, as many as half of today’s workforce would be willing to take a 15% pay cut. Also, millennial workers for example are 5.3x more likely to stay when they have strong connection to their employer’s purpose. These results show that creating a work environment in which meaningful work thrives is highly relevant for retaining salespeople. Moreover, it might require a profound and fundamental change of deep-seated, deeply entrenched processes and cultured embedded in many sales organizations.

The goal of the special issue in JPSSM is to explore these important questions and give a forum both for outstanding cutting-edge empirical and theoretical research. Topics that may be addressed include (but are not limited to):

Sample Research Questions Regarding Hiring Salespeople

  • Attracting sales talent
  • Selecting sales talent (e.g., based on personality, ability, motivation, …)
  • Predictive sales analytics to forecast the performance of sales recruits
  • Employer branding for the sales labor market
  • Digital tools for hiring salespeople
  • Hiring salespeople for diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Hiring salespeople from the “generation Z”
  • Hiring salespeople vs. automating sales tasks

Sample Research Questions Regarding Retaining Salespeople

  • Strategies to retain salespeople and prevent salesperson turnover
  • The role of sales department culture for salesperson retention
  • The role of salesperson well-being and burn-out for salesperson retention
  • Digital tools for retaining salespeople
  • The influence of new work and remote work on salesperson retention
  • Sales leadership and salesperson turnover
  • Sustainable measures to retain salespeople
  • Competence development across the salesperson career cycle
  • Meaningfulness and purpose of working in sales
  • AI as teammate and salespeople retention

Similar to regular issues, the editors encourage the submission of different types of papers including:

Papers that present original contributions. These papers may use theoretical analysis or empirical data. Papers may present new-to-the-world knowledge or new-to-sales knowledge.

Shorter research notes that present novel empirical insights into one specific phenomenon, aiming to stimulate further research. Submissions in this area need to put particular emphasis on a favorable length-to-contribution ratio.

Submission Information:

The due date for submission of manuscripts is April 30, 2023. Submitted manuscripts must follow JPSSM Guidelines for Authors. Please visit:

Manuscripts will go through the regular JPSSM review process. Only original papers not currently under review or published elsewhere may be submitted. Manuscripts should be submitted through the normal JPSSM submission process using ScholarOne Manuscripts, the online submission and peer review system. Registration and access are available at While submitting, please select “Special Issue Submission – War for Talent” under “Manuscript Type”. For further information, please contact the Special Issue Co-Editors:

Guest Editors:

Timeline for the Special Issue

  • Submission Deadline: April 30, 2023
  • Target Publication Date: Q4 2024