• Aligning sales and operations management: An agenda for inquiry

      Rangarajan, Deva; Sharma, Arun; Paesbrugghe, Bert; Boute, Robert (Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 2018)
      There is a rapid growth in solution selling in practice and a commensurate increase in research in this area. The focus of this sales strategy is on providing solutions to customer problems that typically entails combining products and services from the provider firm as well as other firms. The fulfilment of these solutions requires operations management support. In spite of the need for closer collaboration between sales and operations management, more research is needed on the interface of these two functions. In order to deepen our understanding of the interface of sales and operations management, we undertook qualitative research and conducted in-depth interviews of senior executives in global firms to determine the need for sales and operations management cooperation. We followed the qualitative research with a review of extant research on the interface of sales and operations management. Finally, we conducted a survey of academic researchers to identify areas and themes of future research in this area. We summarize the implications of our findings for future research.
    • Purchasing-driven sales: Matching sales strategies to the evolution of the purchasing function

      Paesbrugghe, Bert; Rangarajan, Deva; Sharma, Arun; Syam, Niladri; Jha, Subhash (Industrial Marketing Management, 2017)
      The personal selling field has witnessed the emergence of various sales strategies, including relationship, value, key account, and solution selling. Despite claims about their effectiveness, recent work challenges the relevance of existing sales strategies across buying contexts. Specifically, emerging sales strategies often focus on the user in the customer organization, without being explicitly aligned with the increasingly important purchasing function. To define the critical role of the purchasing function for sales effectiveness, this study collects data from 32 firms in two markets, their purchasing departments reveal four stages of purchasing evolution: passive (price focused), independent (cost-focused), supportive (solution/innovation focused), and integrative (strategy focused). The research demonstrates that each stage of purchasing evolution then requires distinct sales strategies by selling firms and any mismatch of purchasing evolution and sales strategy may be detrimental to sales. This novel view and the supported findings offers several implications for both research and practice.