Value-based sales process adaptation in business relationships

Paul Viio*, Christian Grönroos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


In business relationships, the seller is often expected to adapt to the buyer. The main purpose of this study is to understand how business firms adapt their sales processes to the buyer. The resulting framework, which reveals how different modes of adaptation are contingent upon the type of product being purchased, includes three layers: sales process adaptation, seller-buyer relationship orientation, and the purchasing portfolio. The study is a qualitative one and utilizes a retrospective case study, where the main sources of information are in-depth semi-structured interviews with key informants representing the seller and buyer counterparts in the ICT industry. Our study adds to the understanding of how different modes of adaptation are contingent upon the type of item being sold and purchased. Managerial implications include that to strategically adapt, the seller could focus on the purchasing portfolio. Although previous research has recognized adaptation as a central aspect in relationships, how the sales process could be adapted to the buyer has received little attention. This study focuses on the adaptation of sales to strategically match it to the buyer's situation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1085-1095
Number of pages11
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Business-to-business
  • Portfolio model
  • Relationship orientation
  • Sales process
  • Strategic adaptation


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