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A study finds that motivating salespeople is the key factor for selling digital solutions


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Motivating salespeople is the key to value selling – the process of presenting a product or service in terms of the value it creates for customers – especially when the value proposition is based on the delivery of cutting-edge digitally-enabled solutions. Supervisors, for their part, can play an important role in creating and motivating motivation. This is the topic of a recent paper written by Paolo Guenzi of Bocconi Marketing in association with Edwin J. Nijssen from Eindhoven University of Technology. The work was published in European Journal of Marketing.

Value-based selling is a key success factor in B2B settings, but its relationship to digital solution selling, defined as the use of technology to help customers streamline processes, solve problems, or exploit new opportunities, has not yet been explored in the marketing literature. The growing importance of digital technologies, along with the shift from selling products to selling solutions tailored to each customer, has opened up new horizons for sales firms.

However, this change in perspective requires salespeople to adopt an entirely different selling strategy, since defining a custom offer is a challenging activity. The authors view this process through an already established theoretical framework, called the MOA model after the initials of its three basic elements: motivation, opportunity, and ability. The study posits that all three of these components are necessary for salespeople to sell digitally-enabled solutions that are conducive to value-based selling behaviors.

Motivation is the internal personal drive to work on designing a solution knowing full well that the effort may not yield results, as the client is free to reject an innovative commercial proposition. Capability refers to the ability of salespeople to obtain necessary information from a potential customer and to establish a network within their own company (or internal coordination) in order to provide the best possible solutions. An opportunity is generally a facilitating situation that stimulates an individual salesperson’s motivation and ability, and in this case it refers to the formal policies, rules, and procedures that sales supervisors use to influence and direct salespeople toward selling digital solutions.

But how do these elements affect the behavior of salespeople? Guenzi and Nijssen tested the model by interviewing 178 salespeople working for a company that used to sell power tools and had recently invested in digital technologies and developed, for example, mobile systems to improve job site productivity, predictive maintenance, and improve fleet management.

The results show that motivation has an impact on value-based selling through both customer networking and internal coordination (the two factors grouped under ability label), which serve as key capabilities that salespeople must possess. Moreover, behavior-based control by supervisors greatly increases the motivation of salespeople and enables the sales force to develop the necessary customer-facing abilities. Therefore, supervisors represent an important opportunity for salespeople to adopt value-based selling thanks to their contribution to role-plays that enhance salespeople’s self-efficacy, set their expectations and ultimately drive sales performance of digital solutions.

“These findings demonstrate the key importance of motivating the execution of value-based selling. The results emphasize the mediating role of salespeople’s ability to collaborate with colleagues and engage in customer networks to create the right digital solutions and demonstrate the economic value of these solutions. A key role in direct and indirect motivating motivation and the ability to Communicate with customers and sell based on value,” Guenzi explains.

more information:
Paolo Guenzi et al, The Relationship Between Digital Solution Selling and Value-Based Selling: A Motivation, Opportunity, and Ability (MOA) Perspective, European Journal of Marketing (2022). DOI: 10.1108/EJM-11-2021-0907

Provided by Bocconi University

the quote: Motivating Salespeople Is Key Factor to Selling Digital Solutions Study Finds (2023, April 10) Retrieved April 10, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-04-salespeople-key-factor-digital-solutions.html

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