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Charting value creation strategies B2B salespeople use throughout the sales process: Learning from social media influencers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Zixuan (Mia) Cheng, Kirk Plangger, Cai ‘Mitsu’ Feng, Colin L. Campbell, Leyland Pitt

Original languageEnglish
JournalEUROPEAN JOURNAL OF MARKETING
DOIs
Accepted/In press8 Aug 2022

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Publisher Copyright: © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited.

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Abstract

Purpose: This paper aims to explore how business-to-business (B2B) salespeople use social media and emulate value creation strategies used by social media influencers. Design/methodology/approach: Using 28 interviews with salespeople, this paper develops six propositions and a conceptual framework that outlines when and how B2B salespeople use social media in value-creating sales. Findings: This study’s findings provide a critical analysis of when social media are most effective and beneficial in supporting salespeople’s value-creating sales in various stages in the sales process (e.g. prospecting, opening relationships, qualifying prospects and serving accounts) and when they are less effective (e.g. presenting sales messages and closing sales). Research limitations/implications: This research yields a substantive understanding of the evolving role that social media play in B2B sales by examining B2B salespeople’s value creation strategies through the lens of social media influencers’ practice and outlines ideas for future research on B2B salespeople’s social media strategies. Practical implications: The findings of this research can be used by B2B organizations to structure the training of B2B salespeople to use social media to the fullest extent by aligning specific strategies with different parts of the sales process. Originality/value: This paper contributes by summarizing the B2B sales literature on social media and integrating recent insights from the social media influencer literature; empirically identifying how B2B salespeople use social media to create value, thus validating previous findings and extending understanding by offering a set of six theoretical propositions; and delineating B2B salespeople’s social media practice into 11 value creation strategies that are critically explored for their place in the sales process.

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