The MANIA research project investigates and contributes to business-to-business selling – a critical area of business in which Finnish companies are struggling to succeed in international markets. Sales activities are a crucial context to study, since they represent the first encounters where value expectations and propositions are created, communicated, and demonstrated in the social interaction. Whereas researchers are starting to acknowledge the multifaceted, relational view on selling, less is known about how business customers’ emotions, latent needs, and motives at individual and organizational levels are manifested in and influence sales results. This project addresses multipoint, multi-person interactions among B-to-B service sellers and buyers in order to create a better understanding of this topic.
The study is carried out by an experienced, multidisciplinary research group that combines basic research and applied research, an ideal set-up to bring novel findings that are elaborated further to enable repeatable implementation. The three research groups come from HAAGA-HELIA (leader of the consortium), Aalto University, and the University of Helsinki. This consortium enables integrating expertise from different academic fields to address the research topic and build a novel collaboration.
MANIA will create new scientific knowledge and practical methods that support companies to develop well fitted value proposals and to manage customer interaction that resonates business buyers’ emotions and non-economic appreciations along a series of sales encounters. Eight ambitious Finnish companies from different fields of business participate in the study. MANIA applies a novel mix of methods such as narrative analysis of interviews, and conversation analytic study of digitally video recorded sales encounters and MBTI profiling to gain a rich understanding of the current practices in the participating firms and among their customers.