Sales complexity and value appropriation: a taxonomy of sales situations

Thumbnail Image
Issue Date
Rangarajan, Deva
Hochstein, Bryan W.
Nagel, Duane M.
Lyngdoh, Teidorlang

Rangarajan, D., Hochstein, B., Nagel, D. and Lyngdoh, T. (2021), "Sales complexity and value appropriation: a taxonomy of sales situations", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.


Purpose – The increasingly complex business-to-business (B2B) sales process necessitates that sales managers strike the right balance between appropriate resource allocation, while also maintaining the profitability of the organization. While previous research has mainly focused on how changes in the business environment pose distinct challenges to salespeople, very little research has focused on how sales managers should react to these complex situations. Drawing upon the extant sales research, this paper aims to point to a gap in the literature of how sales managers deal with the complexity associated with the sales process and deal with the same. Design/methodology/approach – Methods from the grounded theory research approach were used to conduct 18 in-depth interviews with B2B sales managers. Purposive sampling was used to identify the participants. Findings – A taxonomy of sales situations that reflects the changing complexity of the sales function and how sales managers need to orchestrate their resource allocation decisions to ensure appropriate value capture from B2B relationships emerged within the themes. This paper highlights four fundamental tenets of sales situations that account for both the complexity of the sales process and the value appropriation challenge that sales managers face. Practical implications – The taxonomy will help sales managers have a better understanding of the changing complexity in the B2B sales process and help them with decisions making. Sales managers can orchestrate their resource allocation to achieve value appropriation. Originality/value – This paper develops a new taxonomy of the sales situation. It unravels the changing complexity of the B2B sales process and discusses how value appropriation can be achieved by sales managers.

Table of Content
Click on the DOI to access this article (may not be free).