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Adam Rapp, Ph.D.

  • The Ralph and Luci Schey Professor of Sales
  • Executive Director of the Ralph and Luci Schey Sales Center

Areas of Expertise

Expert Bio

Adam Rapp is a professor of marketing at Ohio University and founding partner at the Sales and Leadership Development Group. He is an experienced corporate trainer in sales leadership, team performance, sales competency building, diagnostic selling, and customer relationship management technology.

Rapp’s research examines factors influencing the performance of sales people, sales teams and sales organizations. He looks at how to improve sales person performance and the knowledge, skills, abilities and behaviors that can contribute to becoming more effective. His work also touches on how to take a relational approach or consultative approach to selling. In the area of sales leadership his expertise includes hiring, training and motivating a sales force and training around how to be more effective operationally as a sales manager. “I really like working with sales people and front-line managers. Those are the individuals that drive the business,” Rapp says.

One new area interest for Rapp involves studying how social media is used as a tool in the selling process, including how it impacts the sales force and customers as well as the ways that technology can influence the sales process and add to the effectiveness of sales. He has also developed a focus in the area of multigenerational management and is working on a book on the topic examining managing millennials as well as how managers integrate and coach workers from different generations. Rapp is interested in looking at “how we are getting to a place where people are actually working together instead of working in generational silos.”

Rapp is also studying the use of social media in sales and likens the use of social media in the industry to the implementation and use of web sites in the early days of the internet. “With the amount of new social media platforms being introduced, people are chasing those like they did the Web in the 1990s,” he says. According to Rapp, social media provide tactical tools for sales, but they still need to be part of a strategic approach and companies need to consider how social media fits into their communication strategy.

He has published in the Journal of Marketing Research, Management Science, Journal of Applied Psychology, International Journal of Research in Marketing, Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Business Research, and the Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management. Rapp’s work on sales teams has been highlighted by professional selling textbooks, industry magazines, and presented at Harvard University.

After earning his MBA, Adam spent several years in the market research industry both selling and servicing accounts. Adam has worked with companies that include Ecolab, AchieveGlobal, Berlex, Alabama Power, Kraft, Georgia Pacific, FOX News, and Kimberly Clark, among others. 

Rapp has presented at premiere institutions including Harvard and Columbia, among others, and taught globally in Belgium, Greece, Colombia, Chile, China, and several other countries. Rapp also spent two years as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Houston, where he researched and taught in the Sales Excellence Institute. Rapp has won teaching awards at the University of Houston, University of Connecticut and most recently won the Neil Rackham Award for Sales Knowledge Dissemination (2014). 

Expertise at a Glance

Rapp is an expert in market research, sales, leadership and diagnostic selling. His research examines factors influencing the performance of sales people, sales teams and sales organizations and how to improve sales.