MIT’s Sharmila C. Chatterjee was a Guest Speaker at WU on October 18

27. Oktober 2021

On October 18, 2021, 2235: Personal Selling and Sales Management class (led by Dr. Zoran Latinovic) had the pleasure to welcome Dr. Sharmila C. Chatterjee as a guest speaker from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT’s) Sloan School of Management. Sharmila is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing and Academic Head of the Enterprise Management Track at MIT Sloan.

The guest talk related to value-based selling in B2B, a powerful personal selling technique for sellers to move away from reliance on price discounts and get an equitable return on the value delivered to customers. This is because price discounts take away resources from long term business investments required for market leadership. Value selling entails documenting and demonstrating the worth in monetary terms of the technical, economic, service, and social benefits, a customer receives in exchange for the price. This is critical in today’s information-rich environment where most customers are well into a purchase process before their first meaningful contact with a seller. This is reinforced by a recent Forbes article stating 78% of customers want a trusted advisor who adds value rather than just a salesperson. Value selling necessitates co-creation of value with the customer with the seller deeply engaged through the entire process from understanding the value elements important to the customer to value creation and delivery. The goal is not only to deliver superior value relative to competitors, but also constantly improve one’s own offering.

Moreover, value mindset has been identified as crucial for long term business success by facilitating increased customer satisfaction and retention. A seller’s value mindset is the “soft” service facet reflecting a holistic understanding of the customer’s business context, value creation potential, and pathway to value. It involves providing customers critical insights for value realization in their specific business context in addition to sharing best business practices and lessons learned from failures at other organizations. This shows the importance of the human interface through the sales process. Though expensive, the human interface is highly effective in sales. Businesses that minimize the role of the human interface do so at their own peril. It would be wise to balance effectiveness and efficiency.

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