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Paper info: From the Seller's Offering to the Customer's Needing in a Business-to-Business Setting

Title


From the Seller's Offering to the Customer's Needing in a Business-to-Business Setting

Authors


Bo Edvardsson,
Maria Holmlund
Hanken School of Economics
Finland
Maria Holmlund and
Tore Strandvik
Hanken School of Economics
Finland
Tore Strandvik

Place of Publication


The paper was published at the 24th IMP-conference in Uppsala, Sweden in 2008.

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Abstract


Views on industrial service have conceptually progressed from the output of the provider's production process to the result of an interaction process in which the customer also is involved. An industrial company's offering often consisting of both goods and services is, however, inherently seller-oriented even if, especially when the focus is on solutions, there are attempts to be customer-oriented. But, there is a need to go beyond the current literature and company practices. We propose that what is needed is a genuinely customer-based parallel concept to offering that takes the customer's view, and put forward a new concept labelled customer needing. A needing is based on the customer's mental model of their business and strategies which will affect priorities, decisions, and actions. A needing can be modelled as a configuration of three dimensions containing six functions that create realised value for the customer. These dimensions and functions can be used to describe needings and consequently represent a starting point for sellers' creation of successful offerings. When offerings match needings over time the seller should have the potential to form and sustain successful buyer relationships.