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EMAC 2023 Annual

How B2B marketing function drives sales? Understanding customer journey facilitation in different interaction contexts

Published: May 24, 2023


Harri Terho, Tampere University; Anna Salonen, University of Jyväskylä; Deva Rangarajan, IESEG School of Management; Mekhail Mustak, IESEG School of Management


Digitalization is fundamentally transforming the nature of B2B exchange across industries. To respond to this shift, B2B firms’ marketing functions have a substantial role in driving sales by engaging the buying and usage center members along the customer journey. However, we lack a detailed understanding of how this is accomplished in practice. To fill this gap, this study generates a contextualized understanding of how B2B firms’ marketing function supports sales through customer journey engagement. Through an analysis of 48 interviews with senior marketing and sales managers from leading B2B firms across various industries in Europe and the USA, we explicate how purchase journey challenges differ between four identified interaction contexts. These interaction contexts form the basis for delineating and explicating the contingent nature of the studied firms’ marketing responses. The study contributes to business marketing and sales research by providing an integrative, yet contextualized view of the contemporary marketing function’s role in driving sales.