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Paper info: Role of the salesperson in sustaining the buyer-seller relationship in a B2B dyad


Role of the salesperson in sustaining the buyer-seller relationship in a B2B dyad


Punyaslok Dhall

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 34th IMP-conference in Sri Lanka in 2018.


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This research paper attempts to expand the current understanding of buyer-seller long-term relationship by conceptualizing a model which incorporates antecedent factors of relationship dimensions of buyers and sellers in Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) in emerging economy. The comprehensive model is based on the previous studies done in the areas of relationship marketing, customer relationship management, supply chain management etc. The study explores the major antecedent factors of buyer-seller relationship sustainability, with vendor’s salesperson in focus, in the context of SMEs and the model is tested in multi industry environment so that the results can contribute to the advancement of knowledge in this area and also can be meaningfully utilized by practicing managers. The result highlights the importance of inter-personal trust, framed as trust in the salesperson, in sustaining long term relationship in SME sector. It was observed that greater trust in salesperson is associated with higher relationship sustainability. As expected, expertise (?=0.384), likeability (?=0.115) and similarity (?=0.217) of salesperson did have significant effect on trust in the salesperson. Selling to business buyers requires considerable understanding of buyer’s business and the salespersons need be thorough with his/her company products and the competitor’s offerings along with the substitutes available. This is evident from the study result where buyers place maximum importance to the expertise of the salesperson. In our study out of three constructs affecting trust in the salesperson likeability contributes the least (?=0.115), which can be interpreted as even though likeability is a necessary condition to develop trust, it might not be the sufficient condition for long term relationship sustainability with the firm