Relationships have been a central theme in marketing for a long time, both for academics and practitioners. Matikainen, Terho, Matikainen, Parvinen, and Juppo (2015--this issue)contribute to this area by investigating how relationship orientation (RO) adopted by the sales force in their activities influences the launch of the product and whether the product is accepted by the customer. While this fundamental idea is very much in line with what has been presented in other articles (see, e.g., Cooper, 1998, Di Benedetto, 1999, Hultink and Atuahene-Gima, 2000 and Langerak et al., 2004), their focus is more specific and their hypotheses are tested empirically. In short, they conclude that a firm's RO, which is operationalized through the activities related to sales force management (SFM) and relationship leveraging (RL), positively relates to customer acceptance (CA) and success in new product launch (NPL). The article thus contributes with interesting new knowledge, but also raises some questions and ideas for future research. While we agree with the central ideas in the article, we also wonder when the results are valid, e.g., in which industries and market conditions, and how the RO can be applied more specifically in sales. Hence, in the following commentary we discuss their framework in terms of its relevancy in various contexts and the more concrete application of it. Avenues for further research are also suggested.
2015. Vol. 45, 47-48 p.