Purchasing-driven sales: Matching sales strategies to the evolution of the purchasing function

Bert Paesbrugghe, Deva Rangarajan, Arun Sharma, Niladri Syam, Subhash Jha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-184
Number of pages14
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • Buyer-seller relationship
  • Purchasing
  • Sales strategies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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