Sales Force Strategy Case Study

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Creating a Blue Ocean in the B2B Space

Author(s): KIM, W. Chan, MAUBORGNE, Renée, JI, Mi, LEE, Jee-Eun


The case describes a series of blue ocean strategic moves made by in the CRM application market. In particular, the case addresses the concern of business executives over the applicability of blue ocean strategy in the B2B area. B2B managers often find that they are locked into providing products of certain types and specifications to their immediate customers. But in fact, value innovation can take place on the three platforms of a business offering – product, service and delivery. Salesforce’s strategic moves provide an exemplary demonstration of how a company can effectively create and renew its blue ocean in the B2B space by value innovating on the product, service, and delivery platforms.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To introduce participants to an effective approach to creating blue oceans with B2B offerings
  • To review major frameworks and tools of blue ocean strategy in the course of analyzing a series of real-world strategic moves
  • To demonstrate how a blue ocean can be sustained and renewed through value innovating on the three platforms of product, service, and delivery
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Dr. Wesley J. Johnston
CBIM RoundTable Professor of Marketing and Director, Center for Business and Industrial Marketing and J. Mack Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University; ISBM Distinguished Research Fellow. Dr. Wesley J. Johnston is internationally recognized for his research and case studies on managing sales people in relationship sales situations. He has lectured on sales management strategy in over twenty countries. He is considered one of the leading experts in the United States on key account management. He has conducted seminars in the Middle East, Asia, Europe and Australia. Some of the companies he has worked with include Ryobi, Honeywell, DuPont, Arkema, Alfa Laval, UPS, Skanska, Ruhrgas, Siemens, and Scientific Atlanta.

Dr. Karl G. Hellman
Executive in Residence at CBIM, has over 20 years’ experience as a sales and marketing consultant for companies such as Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, UPS, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, and Telefonica. In addition to his book, The Customer Learning Curve, he is well published in the marketing world and has authored articles appearing in: Marketing Management, Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, Association of International Product Marketing and Management, Marketing News, and others.  Karl has a BA in Economics from Beloit College, a Masters in Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences from Northwestern University, and Doctorate from Georgia State University.  Karl’s doctoral dissertation topic was, “Optimizing investments in Key Accounts.”

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