Social media and digital tools are gradually changing the way firms market themselves. Understanding how these communication tools are used by sales functions within business-to-business (B2B) markets could clarify the dynamics underpinning the sales process in an increasingly technology-mediated world. This paper explores how social media, digital, and traditional sales communication tools are leveraged during the three main phases of the B2B sales process within international SMEs. The article's grounded-theory approach illustrates that social media can be particularly helpful in engaging international prospects. Digital communication tools seem to be most prevalent in the persuasion phase, whereas more traditional communication tools still prevail in customer relationship management. However, there seem to be some important potential boundary conditions, including relationship culture, location proximity, technology innovation/resources, and strategic importance of the customer that affect the way international SMEs use different communication tools during a sales process. We develop a framework for understanding the B2B sales process flow with sales communication tools included for international SMEs.
- 512 Företagsekonomi