Michael Ahearne

Professor - C.T. Bauer Professor of Marketing & Research Director, Stagner Sales Excellence Institute

Michael Ahearne


Michael Ahearne is a Professor of Marketing and C.T. Bauer Chair in Marketing at the University of Houston, where he also serves as the Research Director of the Stagner Sales Excellence Institute. Mike's research focuses on enhancing the performance of salespeople and sales organizations. He has authored over 50 articles in prestigious journals such as Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Management Science, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. Recognized by the American Marketing Association as one of the most research-productive scholars in marketing, his work has been featured in major publications, including the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune, and INC Magazine.

Mike's textbook, Selling Today: Partnering to Create Customer Value, is the world's highest-grossing professional selling textbook, distributed in over forty countries and available in 15 languages. He has received numerous teaching awards at both the MBA and undergraduate levels in Sales, Sales Management, and Key Account Management. Mike was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Marketing Association for his contributions to education and practice in sales and sales management.

Professional Consulting: Mike has provided consultancy services to over 200 companies across various industries, such as insurance, healthcare, consumer packaged goods, technology, and transportation. Before his academic career, Mike was a partner at ZS Associates, the largest global sales and marketing consulting firm, and held positions in marketing research and sales operations at Eli Lilly and PCS Healthcare.

Academic and Professional Associations: Mike is an Academic Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Business Markets, the Direct Selling Education Foundation, and the Marketing Science Institute. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Strategic Account Management Association (SAMA) and the Sales Management Association (SMA).

Interests and Activities: Mike's athletic background includes playing professional baseball with the Montreal Expos and being an Academic All-American College Wrestler. He is also an avid weightlifter, maintaining a strong commitment to fitness and health. Outside of sports, Mike is a coffee enthusiast who enjoys honing his barista skills and creating intricate coffee art.

Research Interests

  • Sales Force Effectiveness
  • Sales Management
  • Internal Marketing
  • Relationship Marketing
  • Innovation
  • Incentives and Motivation

Selected Publications

  • Nahm, Irene, Michael Ahearne, Nick Lee, and Seshadri Tirunillai (2022), "Managing Positive and Negative Trends in Sales Call Outcomes: The Role of Momentum" Journal of Marketing Research,59(6),1120–1140.
  • Wiseman, Philip, Michael Ahearne, Zachary Hall, and Seshadri Tirunillai (2022), "Onboarding Salespeople: Socialization Approaches" Journal of Marketing, 86(6), 13–31.
  • Ahearne, Michael, Yashar Atefi, Son Lam and Mohsen Pourmasoudi (2021), "The Future of Buyer-Seller Interactions: A Conceptual Framework and Research Agenda," Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 50 (1), 22-45.
  • Vaid, Shashank, Michael Ahearne, and Ryan Krause, (2021) "Operations-Related Structural Flux: Firm Performance Effects of Executives' Appointments and Exits" Production and Operations Management, 30(7), 2188-2210.
  • Atefi, Yashar, Michael Ahearne, Zach Hall, Sebastian Hohenberg, and Florian Zettelmeyer, (2020), "Open Negotiation: The Backend Benefits of Salespeople's Transparency in The Frontend," Journal of Marketing Research, 57(6), 1076-1094.
  • Boichuk, Jeffrey, Raghu Bommaraju, Michael Ahearne, Florian Kraus, and Thomas Steenburgh, (2019), "Motivating Laggards: The Importance of a Deep Sales Bench" Journal of Marketing Research, 56(4), 652-655.
  • Bommaraju Raghu, Michael Ahearne, Ryan Kraus, and Seshadri Tirunillai (2019), "Does a Customer on the Board of Directors Affect Business-to-Business Firm Performance?" Journal of Marketing, 83(1) 8-23.
  • Thomas Steenburgh and Michael Ahearne (2018), "How to Sell New Products," Harvard Business Review, November/December, 92-101.
  • Atefi, Yashar, Michael Ahearne, James Maxham, Todd Donavan and Brad Carlson (2018), "Does Selective Sales Force Training Work?," Journal of Marketing Research, 55(5), 722-737.
  • Bommaraju, Raghuram, Michael Ahearne, Zachary Hall, and Seshadri Tirunillai (2018), "The Impact of Mergers and Acquisitions on the Sales Force," Journal of Marketing Research, 55 (2), 254-264.
  • Hayati, Babak, Yashar Atefi and Michael Ahearne (2018), "Sales Force Leadership During Strategy Implementation: A Social Network Perspective," Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 46 (6), 612-631.
  • Ahearne, Michael (2017), "Research centers, business schools, and the world of sales," Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 45 (2), 461-464.
  • Ahearne, Michael, Jeff Boichuk, Craig Chapman, and Tom Steenburgh (2016), "Real Earnings Management in Sales," Journal of Accounting Research, 54(5), 1233-1266.
  • Ahearne, Michael, Kraus, Florian, Til Haumann, and Jan Weiseke (2015), "When Sales Managers and Salespeople Disagree in the Appreciation for their Firm: The Phenomenon of Organizational Identification Tension," Journal of Retailing, 91 (3), 486-515.
  • Hall, Zachary R., Michael Ahearne, and Harish Sujan (2015), "The Importance of Starting Right: The Influence of Accurate Intuition on Performance in Salesperson-Customer Interactions," Journal of Marketing, 79 (3), 91-109.
  • Mullins, Ryan, Michael Ahearne, Son Lam, Zach Hall and Jeff Boichuk (2014), "Know Your Customer: How Salesperson Perceptions of Customer Relationship Quality Form and Influence Account Profitability," Journal of Marketing, 78 (6), 38-58.
  • Ahearne, Michael, Florian Kraus and Son Lam (2014), "Performance Impact of Middle Managers' Adaptive Strategy Implementation: the Role of Social Capital," Strategic Management Journal, 35 (1), 68-87.
  • Boichuk, Jeff, Willy Bolander, Zachary R. Hall, Michael Ahearne, William Zahn, and Melissa Nieves (2014), "Learned Helplessness among Newly Hired Salespeople and the Influence of Leadership," Journal of Marketing, 78(1), 95-111.
  • Ahearne, Michael, Til Haumann, Florian Kraus, and Jan Wieseke (2013), "It's a Matter of Congruence: How Interpersonal Identification between Sales Managers and Salespersons Shapes Sales Success," Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 41 (6), 625-648.
  • Ahearne, Michael, Son Lam, Babak Hayati, and Florian Kraus (2013), "Intrafunctional Competitive Intelligence and Sales Performance: A Social Network Perspective," Journal of Marketing, 77(6), 37-56.
  • Lam, Son K., Michael Ahearne, Ryan Mullins, Babak Hayati, and Niels Schillewaert (2013), "Exploring the Dynamics of Antecedents to Customer-Brand Identification with a New Brand,"Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science., 41(2), 234-252.
  • Wieseke, Jan, Florian Kraus, Michael Ahearne, and Sven Mikolon (2012), "Multiple Identification Foci and Their Countervailing Effects on Salespeople's Negative Headquarters Stereotypes," Journal of Marketing, 76(3), 1-20.
  • Steenburgh, Thomas and Michael Ahearne (2012), "Motivating Salespeople: What Really Works," Harvard Business Review, July/August 2012.
  • Ahearne, Michael, Florian Kraus, Son Lam, and Jan Wieseke (2012) "Toward a Contingency Framework of Interpersonal Influence in Organizational Identification Diffusion," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 118(2), 162-178.
  • Lam, Son, Michael Ahearne, and Schillewaert (2012), "A multinational examination of the symbolic–instrumental framework of consumer-brand identification," Journal of International Business Studies, 43(2), 306-331.


  • Sales Force Performance, with Molly Ahearne and Son Lam, in Elgar/ISBM Business-to-Business Marketing Handbook, Gary L. Lilien and Rajdeep Grewal, eds. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, 496–520.
  • Selling Today: Partnering to Create Customer Value, with Jerry Manning and Barry Reece, 14th Edition, Pearson, Publication Date: 2018
  • Selling Today in Canada, with Jerry Manning, Barry Reece and H.F. Mackenzie, 7th Edition, Prentice Hall, Publication Date: March 2015

Academic Associations & Editorial Boards

  • Journal of Marketing (Associate Editor)
  • International Journal of Research in Marketing (Senior Editor)
  • Journal of Service Research (Associate Editor)
  • Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science (Associate Editor)
  • Journal of Marketing Research (Editorial Board Member)
  • Journal of Retailing (Editorial Board Member)
  • Academy of Marketing Science Review (Editorial Board Member)
  • Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management (Senior Advisory Board)

Contact Info

MH 375D
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  • Professional Selling
  • Sales Management
  • Key Account Selling
  • Negotiation
  • Research Methods
  • Market Research


PhD - Marketing/Decision Sciences
MS - Marketing/Decision Sciences
MBA - Operations Management
BS - Mathematics with Distinction