Investigating the elements of a customer industry-focused sales strategy in professional services business - elaborating the strategy framework in the oil, gas, and petrochemicals industry
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School of Economics | Master's thesis
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AbstractOBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY The motivation for this study came from the lack of research combining service, sales, and customer segmentation literature regardless of their wide recognition in the academia. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to investigate the elements of a service sales strategy in the context of professional industrial services. Moreover, the aim is to investigate the service characteristics and their implications on sales strategy formulation. In addition, the objective is to gain a holistic view on the sales and sales strategy literature. Lastly, the aim is to elaborate the sales strategy framework in the Oil,Gas, and Petrochemicals industry in the context of professional industrial services. METHODOLOGY The research method of this thesis was a descriptive single Case Study approach. The empirical data for the research was collected by conducting five semi-structured themed interviews with key experts in a Case Company and one with a prospect client in the Oil, Gas, and Petrochemicals industry. A theoretical framework of strategic sales organization was adopted to structure the findings from the interviews and discussions. Case Company internal documents and intranet were used as secondary data to support the conducted interviews. FINDINGS The key findings from the study show that the elements of a sales strategy in professional services business can be divided into six main dimensions: involvement,intelligence, integration, internal marketing, infrastructure, and implications of services. The main findings regarding the creation of service sales strategies emphasize the importance of company internal information regarding capabilities, resources, and expertise as well as understanding of customer industry structure and value chain (intelligence dimension). In addition, the centrality of long-term customer relationships, trust, relevant customer references, and careful management of the selling process were found crucial in alleviating the impact of process nature of services where the “product” is not observable prior to purchase (implications of services dimension).
services, intangibility, inseparability of the production and consumption heterogeneity, perishability, sales organization, sales strategy, relationship-selling, relationship marketing, customer-orientation, Global Account Management (GAM), Key Account Management (KAM), oil, gas, and petrochemicals industry