How to Use Influence Tactics During B2B E-Negotiations to Win B2B Contracts: Guidelines for B2B Sales Managers and Salespeople
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Singh, Sunil K, Detelina Marinova, and Jagdip Singh (2020), “Business-to-Business E-Negotiations and Influence Tactics,” Journal of Marketing, 84(2), 47-68.
E-negotiations, or sales negotiations over electronic mail, are increasingly common in business-to-business (B2B) sales, but little is known about selling effectiveness in this medium. This research investigates salespeople’s use of influence tactics as textual cues to manage buyers’ attention during B2B e-negotiations for sales contract award. Drawing on studies of attention as a selection heuristic, we advance the literature on mechanisms of sales influence by conceptualizing buyer attention as a key mediating variable between the use of influence tactics and contract award. We utilize a unique, longitudinal panel spanning more than two years of email communications between buyers and salespeople during B2B sales negotiations to develop a validated corpus of textual cues that are diagnostic of salespeople’s influence tactics in e-negotiations. These e-communications data are augmented by salesperson in-depth interviews and surveys, archival performance data, and a controlled experimental study with professional salespeople. The obtained results indicate that the concurrent use of compliance or internalization-based tactics as textual cues bolsters buyer’s attention and is associated with greater likelihood of contract award. In contrast, concurrent use of compliance and internalization-based tactics is prone to degrade buyer attention and likely to put the salesperson at a disadvantage in closing contract award.
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