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Not all sales performance is created equal: personality and interpersonal traits in inbound and outbound marketing activities

A. P. Malizia, T. Bassetti, D. Menicagli, A. Patuelli, S. D'Arcangelo, N. Lattanzi, F. Bossi, A. Mastrogiorgio


A long tradition of research has shown that personality traits, such as extraversion and agreeableness, and interpersonal constructs better predict job performance with a tacit but not explicit distinction in sales marketing activities. In this contribution, we aim to understand the role of job-related and interest data, interpersonal, and personality traits in affecting either inbound or outbound marketing activities and the overall sales performance. An original questionnaire integrates the interpersonal traits and personality factors reported in the literature in sales marketing activities (independent variables). The results were matched with the individual job-related and interest data (control variables) and sales performance (criterion variables) – expressed as the total number of closed contracts over the inbound/outbound related contacts of employees with responsibility in marketing activities for a large banking group. We are able to identify the relevant predictors of sales performance by creating full binary trees using control and independent variables in conditional inference forests and variable importance index measures. Higher performers in either inbound or outbound marketing activities rely on distinct personality sub-traits, which have fundamentally essential implications for interpersonal functioning, and personal data when agreeableness is central to the ability to function effectively in the interpersonal realm of sales activity.


Personality traits; interpersonal traits; sales performance; dutifulness; openness to experience; conditional inference forests.

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