B2B Pulse: Content Library

The ISBM Pulse content library contains archived copies of previous member meeting presentations, webinars, courses, articles/reports, and a multitude of other knowledge. This material is freely available for our ISBM members.

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Sky scrapers

The Organizational Buying Center: Innovation, Knowledge Management and Brand

Management of the organizational buying center (OBC) is among the fastest-changing aspects of contemporary business and marketing. Driven largely by rapid technological innovation and the dispersion of global management teams, OBC management has evolved in many ways since its inception more than 40 years ago in the marketing literature. The purpose of this chapter is to review existing OBC knowledge and to identify the most critical practice and research issues facing OBC managers and theorists alike.

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pins on a map

B2B Relationship Underpinnings of Outsourcing

Firms often enter into strategic alliances (also a B2B relationship) with firms in other industries operating in the same stages of the value chain. These firms, which historically have not been suppliers, customers or competitors of the focal firm, are called ‘collaborators’. This chapter specifically focuses on B2B relationships in the realm of outsourcing, a long-standing business practice that spans multiple organizational functions. The chapter covers selected theoretical perspectives on outsourcing, outsourcing relationships between a focal firm/business and its suppliers, customers, competitors, and collaborators, the role of outsourcing in achieving competitive cost advantage and differentiation advantage, and governance issues.

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Salespeople

Salesperson Effectiveness: A Behavioral Perspective

Salespeople are the principal vehicle through which B2B firms, particularly firms with a complex and differentiated offering, communicate and exchange information with their customers. Wotruba (1991) identifies the following roles for salespeople within a firm’s marketing program: (1) informer; (2) persuader; (3) problem solver; and (4) value creator. This chapter focuses on the different sets of knowledge, skills and abilities required by salespeople in the various roles.

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spider web

Boundary Work and Customer Connectivity in B2B Front Lines

To build long-term customer relationships, salespeople play a critical boundary-spanning role that can be an inimitable source of competitive strength. A key characteristic of such roles is the boundary work that salespeople perform to develop strategies and tactics to manage their interfaces with customers. The purpose of this chapter is to motivate development of boundary role theory that responds to emerging realities of boundary work and stimulates an organizing framework to germinate new directions for theory and practice. Specifically, the chapter’s objectives are twofold. First, the chapter provides a focused review of the boundary role research in B2B contexts. Second, the chapter describes features of boundary work that demand a strategic perspective and rethinking of the premises of contemporary boundary role theory.

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Piggy bank

Sales Force Compensation: Research Insights and Research Potential

Today’s B2B selling environment is characterized by much complexity. Key drivers of this complexity include group sales efforts, multipart sales offerings and multibusiness unit participation on single deals (CFO Research Services 2010). It is timely to review the role of sales force compensation in B2B organizations. This chapter first discusses research insights on compensation elements to offer to salespeople, followed by a summary of results on how much to pay and how to balance salary versus incentive pay. Next, the chapter covers survey results on the choice to delegate pricing authority to the sales force and its impact on compensation. Finally, remaining challenges are identified, in which academic research results are sparser and therefore in which the opportunity for future research is bright.

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letters spelling sale

Sales Force Performance: A Typology and Future Research Priorities

In marketing research and practice in a selling context, performance implications are often demonstrated at the individual, business unit, or company level. The purposes of this chapter are threefold. First, this chapter surveys the literature on sales force performance to evaluate how this important criterion variable has been defined, operationalized and measured. Using this survey, a typology of sales force performance measures is developed. To this end, sales force performance is categorized into topical areas along two dimensions – positive versus negative performance and behavioral versus outcome performance – which includes in-role and extra-role behavioral performance. Second, future research topics in each of those areas are identified. Third, the chapters offers brief methodological notes for exploring these new topics.

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People jumping up

Building a Winning Sales Force in B2B Markets: A Managerial Perspective

An inventory of sales force effectiveness issues based on the input of several hundred sales leaders reveals that B2B companies face a wide array of complex sales force challenges and opportunities. Addressing these issues effectively requires broad solutions and approaches. A thinking framework for sales force effectiveness organizes the complexities that B2B sales forces face. This framework provides sales leaders with a holistic approach for assessing sales force effectiveness, diagnosing sales force issues, and developing multi-dimensional, high impact solutions. Sales researchers can use the framework to discover ways to expand their research focus to benefit practitioners. 

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technology lines on board

Toward a theory of technology marketing: Review and suggestions for future research

The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of the state-of-the-art in both research and practice in the field of technology marketing. First, this chapter discusses the domain of technology marketing and why the unique characteristics of this domain create unique marketing-related problems for theory and practice. A brief summary of the state-of-the-art in managerial practice in this field is provided. Third, the chapter presents an overview of the basic approaches to research in the area of technology marketing, addressing strengths and weaknesses of each approach. A key insight arising from our overview is that the time is ripe to coalesce the body of knowledge into a cogent theory of technology marketing. Toward this end, we offer suggestions for research to refine marketing theory in this complicated and fast-moving arena.

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photo on phone of online marketing graph

The Impact of the Internet on B2B Sales Force Size and Structure

Since its commercialization in the mid-1990s, the Internet has become one of the most revolutionary forces in history to hit business in general and B2B (including ‘industrial’ and ‘services’) markets in particular. Despite the importance and gravity of the Internet in the context of the B2B sales force, systematic study of the Internet’s impact on B2B sales force size and structure is sparse. Our objectives in this chapter are twofold: (1) to review and document how the Internet is used in B2B buying and selling today; and (2) to conceptualize the Internet’s evolving impact on sales force size and structure with propositions for further investigation.

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