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Salespeople are from Mars, purchasers are from Venus: an agenda for inquiry for the sales function


Bert Paesbrugghe, Arun Sharma, Deva Rangarajan and Niladri Syam

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 33rd IMP-conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2017.



Over the years, the business-to-business selling function has undergone many changes due to a shift from products to services and enhanced access to information by buyers. There has been extensive research on personal selling and sales management, but an area that needs more examination is the “customer side of the interaction dyad”. Even within the context of the customer side, the purchasing function has not been paid sufficient attention as the focus of business-to-business selling research has steadily moved away from the purchasing function. Even emerging sales strategies such as Challenger do not pay any attention to the purchasing function. This paper presents a literature review that highlights the personal selling needs of the purchasing function and provides a framework for future research in this area.

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