Adding services to product-based portfolios: An exploration of the implications for the sales function

Daniel Kindström, Christian Kowalkowski, Thomas Alejandro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose:
The objective of this research is to explore the implications for the sales function of the infusion of services by formerly product-based firms. In particular, it aims at identifying the changes that need to be made at the sales-function level if the services are to be successfully sold.
Design/Methodology:
This research is an exploratory qualitative case study. Data were collected by focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with relevant managers in three large multinational companies based in Northern Europe, which were pursuing service-led growth.
Findings:
The effects of service infusion processes on the sales function could be seen with respect to the three parts of the analytical framework: organization, roles, and competences. The results illustrate the need for a changed perspective with respect to all three parts, if a product-based firm is to be successful in the infusing of associated services into its portfolio of offerings. Analysis of the results identifies key operational initiatives that management needs to understand and implement when corporate and marketing strategies increasingly focus on service-led growth.
Research limitations:
The study was exploratory and vendor centric, which means that it did not quantitatively assess the results or directly involve the customers at whom the services were directed. Also, the choice of business-to-business firms limits the capacity to generalize the findings.
Originality/Value:
Whereas relationship-based and value-based selling are approaches more geared to the sales-force level, the study reported in this paper set out to understand fundamental differences at the sales-function level when firms pursue service-led growth. The findings suggest that the realignment of corporate strategy towards an increased focus on services may have far-reaching implications for the sales function.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Service Management
Volume26
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)372-393
ISSN1757-5818
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed

Keywords

  • 512 Business and Management
  • service selling
  • service infusion
  • sales function
  • organization
  • roles
  • competences

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