ISBM Research Newsletter

Table of Contents

In This Issue . . .

Hopefully, the Newsletter finds you in good health and good spirits. As we near the end of the year, we’d rather look ahead than look back. In the unusually challenging year 2020, we tried to turn constraints into opportunities and invested in several new initiatives. In the previous Newsletter we introduced the relaunch of the web portal B2B Pulse. In this Newsletter, we reflect on other ISBM initiatives.

As you may be aware, we are currently conducting the ISBM B2B Trends Study. This is a crucial time to identify new trends, skills, and knowledge gaps that merit most attention in the coming years. If you haven’t done so, please complete the Trends survey via this link:

Your support is crucial, since this study forms the basis for the ISBM’s prioritization of future research activities. In the spirit of the holidays, we will donate $3 for each completed survey to the United Way. Thank you for making this a substantive donation.

In the Feature of this Newsletter, we discuss a project that will get heavy attention in 2021. Towards the end of 2021, we plan to publish the Second Edition of the Handbook of Business-to-Business Marketing. An impressive lineup of contributors are currently revising original chapters or drafting new chapters, ensuring that the new edition will be attuned to the new B2B marketing reality and challenges.

Andrew describes our newly launched B2B Research Webinar Series, which provides doctoral students and young B2B marketing scholars a stage to share their research. You can watch past webinars on B2B Pulse and join us in January as we resume the Webinar Series. A special thanks to all speakers, discussants, and participants!

Please bring the availability of our IPSS offering for the Spring of 2021 to the attention of your PhD students. ISBM Fellow V. Kumar will offer a seminar on B2B Engagement. More details in this Newsletter.

Finally, Lynn Yanyo shares the latest from the Corporate Membership. She reflects on the online activities her team has developed throughout 2020 to help Corporate Members manage through crises, and she looks ahead to the highlights of 2021.

On behalf of everyone at ISBM, we wish you and your families the very best for 2021. Happy Holidays! Take care and stay safe.

Stefan and Andrew

P.S. As we go to press, we are working on an online event that will take place at about the same time we would normally organize an ISBM Conference in summer 2021 – more details to follow in early 2021.

Stefan Wuyts
Director, ISBM

J. Andrew Petersen
Associate Director, ISBM

Feature: B2B Handbook Second Edition

We are excited to announce a project we are currently working on together with an impressive list of B2B Marketing scholars: a second edition of the Handbook of Business-to-Business Marketing. The first edition, published in 2012, reached many colleagues and doctoral students in the marketing community, as well as many B2B marketing executives at the ISBM Corporate Member firms. Given the rapid developments in the B2B marketing arena over the past several years and the massive disruptions due to the pandemic in 2020, there is a clear need to update the Handbook to better align with these developments and with cutting-edge research in academia.

According to a recent report published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (U.S. Department of Commerce, August 20201) the current-dollar gross output of B2B e-commerce in 2017 was more than double the size of that of B2C e-commerce. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD, June 20192) recently reported that B2B transactions in the European Union account for the lion’s share of e-commerce transactions, with two thirds of e-commerce turnover generated by manufacturing sectors and wholesale trade. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD, April 20203) recently attributed an astonishing 83% of all global e-commerce sales to B2B (including both sales on online market platforms and electronic data interchange transactions). These statistics speak for themselves. Yet, in sharp contrast, less than 10%4 of the 104 articles published in 2020 in the American Marketing Association’s two primary marketing journals (Journal of Marketing and Journal of Marketing Research) specifically addressed B2B marketing problems. Marketing academia’s traditional focus on B2C markets is not aligned with the impact of B2B marketing on the global economy and its leading role in e-commerce, reflecting the notorious B2B knowledge gap the ISBM is seeking to bridge5.

The turbulent year 2020 has given us additional reasons to work on a second edition of the Handbook of Business-to-Business Marketing and to identify new research avenues in B2B marketing. Interviews with B2B marketing thought leaders in the qualitative phase of the ISBM trend study along with various townhall meetings and roundtables organized by the ISBM Executive Directors signal that B2B firms today face unique challenges which offer new research opportunities for B2B marketing academics. B2B firms have started to formulate new business models, experiment with digital technologies in value creation, value capture, and value delivery, reconfigure value chains and ecosystems, and experiment with new market forms. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated many B2B firms’ efforts to move various marketing activities online and it seems likely that several of their recent changes will survive the pandemic’s aftermath—creating a new, more digitalized, B2B “normal”.

With that in mind, we are heartened by the many positive responses to our invitations for a second edition of the Handbook of Business-to-Business Marketing, which is now in the works and set to be published in 2021. The purpose of the Handbook is to contribute to the understanding of new phenomena and the development of new B2B ideas and theories which will hopefully inspire new research moving forward. About three quarters of the original chapters will reappear in the new edition with updated content that reflects state-of-the-art insights in a variety of B2B marketing domains. Many of the chapter revisions will also address how Covid-19 has accelerated the influence of online personal and organizational activities. New chapters will make up the rest of the Handbook, focusing on important substantive areas such as digitalization and technology, and theoretical and methodological advances in areas such as causality and dynamics. All chapters will include implications for practitioners and academics, as well as B2B thought leaders’ views on what is next. Our thanks to all contributors who are currently working on the different chapters!

The second edition of the Handbook of Business-to-Business Marketing promises to be an interesting deliverable in 2021 that will, along with the ongoing B2B Trends Study, help the ISBM set new research priorities and inform many of our other activities. After a year as dramatic as 2020, we are readying ourselves for a new era in B2B marketing both in practice and in academia. We hope the Handbook will inspire you to venture into new exciting research areas. We will be here to help you on that venture, so stay in touch, and stay tuned!

  4. Journal of Marketing: 13%; Journal of Marketing Research: < 7%
  5. See Lilien, Gary L. (2016), “The B2B Knowledge Gap,” International Journal of Research in Marketing, Vol 33 Issue 3 #108 (September) 543-556.

Gary Lilien
Research Director Emeritus, ISBM

Stefan Wuyts
Director, ISBM

J. Andrew Petersen
Associate Director, ISBM

B2B Research Webinar Series

The COVID pandemic caused major disruptions in the way that ISBM was able to bring together B2B academics and share cutting-edge B2B research. One casualty was the Biennial ISBM PhD Camp and Conference in August of 2020. However, we did not want to miss an opportunity to showcase the research of up-and-coming B2B scholars. This led to the creation of the ISBM B2B Research Webinar Series in the summer of 2020.

The goal of the monthly webinar series is to give a platform for a young B2B scholar each month to present his/her research to an audience of B2B academics and practitioners. For those unfamiliar with the format, a Research Webinar takes one hour (30 minute presentation, 10-15 minute discussion by a discussant, and the remaining time for Q&A).

To date there have been 5 webinars all by recent co-winners of the ISBM Doctoral Dissertation Competition.

July 23, 2020

Alliance Portfolio Distance and Its Influence on IPO Performance

Presenter: Shilpa Somraj (University of Nebraska – Lincoln)

Discussant: Guiyang Xiong (Syracuse University)

August 13, 2020

Implementing Marketing Strategy Changes: Minimizing Channel Partners Negative Responses

Presenter: Divya Anand (University of Missouri)

Discussant: Johanna Slot (Penn State University)

September 17, 2020

A Structural Model of a Multitasking Salesforce: Multidimensional Incentives and Job Design

Presenter: Minkyung Kim (University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill)

Discussant: Murali Mantrala (University of Kansas)

October 22, 2020

Customer Concentration and Firm Performance: Insights From A Cross-Disciplinary Meta-Analysis

Presenter: Ljubomir Pupovac (UNSW Business School)

Discussant: Rajkumar Venkatesan (Darden School of Business – UVA)

November 5, 2020

Automating the B2B Salesperson Pricing Decisions: A Human-Machine Hybrid Approach

Presenter: Yael Karlinsky-Shichor (Northestern University)

Discussant: Olivier Rubel (UC – Davis)

After a one month break in December for the holiday season, we will be restarting the monthly webinar series in January. Details on the timing and presenter will be available soon. We hope that you will be able to join us!

If you, or someone you know, is interested in presenting your research or acting as a discussant in future webinars, please contact me.

J. Andrew Petersen
Moderator – ISBM B2B Research Webinar Series

IPSS Update, Spring Offering

IPSS will offer one course this spring semester. V. Kumar (Indian School of Business) will teach a new course B2B Engagement. VK has provided the following course description:

The course will discuss the concepts, metrics, and strategy underlying the principles of B2B Engagement with respect to customers, employees and salesforce. Companies possess much data about their customers, employees and salesforce and yet struggle to generate adequate insights. What can B2B firms do to engage their customers, employees, and salesforce and maximize profitability for the firm? Of course, through efficient customer and employee engagement. Furthermore, sales force churn is another big concern in the B2B context. Firms desperately want to retain their best salespeople but face issues in – 1) evaluating the value of a salesperson; 2) taking timely action to prevent attrition of valuable salespeople. Can firms identify their best talent and efficiently plan resource allocation to develop their skills and maximize salesperson generated profitability through retention?

In this course, we discuss specifically, customer engagement, employee engagement and sales force engagement. The content of this course equips the participants with tools to assess the lifetime value of a salesperson, as well as the engagement value of a customer and an employee. Using the framework learned in the course, participants can start research projects on resource allocation planning, training and mentoring salespeople, and pitching the right product to the right client at the right time to maximize firm-level profitability. Using academic journal articles, real-world cases, and examples from a variety of organizations, the course introduces the participants to the principles, practices, and skills required for customer and employee engagement and salesforce management. Participants also get the opportunity to apply what they learn in class to their research by working on in-class exercises that will enhance the understanding of the relevance of the content.

Thank you VK for agreeing to teach this course for our IPSS program; we appreciate your time and support of this program. The details of the course will be updated on our website in the coming days.

Also special thanks to Rajkumar Venkatesan (University of Virginia) and Sarang Sunder (Texas Christian University) who are wrapping up their IPSS seminar Metrics and Statistical Models in B2B Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

Please bring these PhD seminars to the attention of your promising B2B PhD students. Students should follow the “Admission Procedure” and can register online. Registration deadline for the spring courses is January 29, 2021.

Additionally, if you have any feedback or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

J. Andrew Petersen
Director – IPSS

From the ISBM Corporate Membership

This past summer, my message conveyed some optimism about where we might be at the end of 2020. Reality continues to re-focus us on finding the hidden blessings inside the dramatic changes required in how we do business (or what our customers consider valuable). 

Without COVID, we would have been very unlikely to successfully move all of our education programs and workshops to an online format. Nor would we have been able to successfully host significant member events in completely virtual environments. We even explored networking events online, and we will continue to do so.

In the latter half of 2020 we developed an online assessment tool that will allow our members to identify gaps or areas of improvement in their B2B marketing capabilities. Our members will begin using that tool in January of 2021 with the goal of understanding their most urgent needs for improvement, with ISBM assisting in building their capabilities through education, training, and coaching.

Our new programming for members this past year included Town Hall meetings with world-renowned experts (all recorded for replay) as well as specific webinars related to managing through a crisis with no predictable end. All of these can be found on B2BPulse at (also revamped and launched in 2020). We asked the attendees for feedback via a “temperature measurement” at most of these events, which was helpful in sharing the experiences of this time and recording the overall ups and downs of optimism through-out this year.

Several of our members suffered significant downturns in business in 2020. Others have found ways to exploit “hidden blessings” and pivot to products or business models that grew profits. ISBM membership generally remains strong and we see only positive upturns for our members in the future.

Our 2021 programming highlight is our March 17th JAM Session featuring ISBM Fellow, George Day (Wharton); the topic will be Vigilance, Innovation and Marketing Excellence. It will be held virtual, as will all of our offerings in 2021. In contrast to 2020, we can plan for all virtual meetings knowing that we can add in-person offerings as we get closer to full vaccination.

Wishing you all the best of health,


Lynn Yanyo
Executive Director, ISBM Corporate