One-to-One and One-to-Many Business Relationship Marketing: Toward a Theoretical Framework
Payne, Collin R.
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Purpose. This work addresses mixed findings in relationship marketing literature regarding the importance of micro-level (interpersonal) relationships on firm outcome. MethodobgylApproach: The article leverages impression formation theory to advance a framework to understand one-to-one and one-to-many marketing relationships to better predict firm outcome. Findings: The authors suggest that 5 framework moderators—the type and consistency of the encounters, relationship age, purchase frequency, relationship interruptions, and two customer side characteristics (i.e., need to evaluate [NTE] and need for cognitive closure [NFCC]")—can qualify the relationship building process and impact the effectiveness of interpersonal and/or group relationships on firm outcome. Practical Implications: The framework suggests that (1) highly consistent sales team behaviors reduce the risk of losing business in case of a sales team member leaving; (2) low frequency purchases are better suited for one-to-many selling relationships; (3) temporarily suspending relationships by individual salespeople is more harmful than suspending relationships by sales teams; (4) involving the customer in the acquisition process facilitates team selling; and (5) a positive first impression is more important for high (vs. low) NFCC and high NTE customers. Originality/Value. The theoretical framework (1) distinguishes between individual-to-individual and individual-to-group relationships, (2) suggests a distinction between micro-level individual-to-individual and individual-to-group relationships and macro-level individual-to-firm relationships, (3) analyzes the impact of micro-level relationships under the influence of context-related and customer-related factors, and (4) provides managerially relevant guidelines for strategic sales planning.
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