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EMAC 2021 Annual Conference

How Salespeople Communicate Value in Business Markets

Published: May 25, 2021


Pirmin Bischoff, Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt; Laura Elgeti, Freie Universität Berlin; Jens Hogreve , Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt ; Michael Kleinaltenkamp, Freie Universität Berlin


While effective communication of value is key for sales success, anecdotal evidence and prior research indicate that salespeople often struggle to craft tailored value propositions in multi-actor buying processes. This study, therefore, examines adaptive value-based selling by analyzing how salespeople communicate value in varying successful sales conversations. Drawing on a combination of repertory grid, means-end chaining, and fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis, the authors relate customer behavior characteristics with particular selling endeavors. By so doing, the authors unpack the context-dependency of sales interactions and identify a full list of 35 customer specific perception cues salespeople use for adapting customer value propositions as well as their value communication behavior. Further, the combination of value communication matrices/maps and buying center member configurations demonstrate heterogeneity in how value is communicated as arising both from particular constellations of customer as well as seller characteristics.