The impact of the product to service shift in industrial markets and the evolution of the sales organization

Jagdish N. Sheth, Arun Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


Marketing is undergoing a paradigmatic shift that involves a change in focus from the exchange of goods, which are usually manufactured output, to providing a service, which is fundamental to economic exchange (Vargo & Lusch 2004). Evidenced by three decades of marketing transformation in B2B (business-to-business) sales organizations, this paper examines the evolution of sales organizations as a result of the shift from product- to service-focused commerce. This paper also identifies areas of future research and practice in marketing. Findings suggest that the traditional product-focused sales organization will evolve in two directions. First, enhanced use of technology will reduce some traditional sales functions and even face-to-face contact. Second, customers who are important to marketers will experience improvements in the level of customer contact-leading to growth in customer-focused sales organizations and an increase in global account management teams. Changes in sales organizations will also lead to changes in the selection, training, and recruitment of salespeople as well as their roles. Direction for future research and managerial implications are highlighted throughout the paper as are changes likely to occur in sales organizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-269
Number of pages10
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


Dive into the research topics of 'The impact of the product to service shift in industrial markets and the evolution of the sales organization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this