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Close collaboration in business-to-business relationships has been an interest of both researchers and managers; however, companies are often struggling to obtain the benefits of close collaboration with their customers.Based on multinomial logistic regression analysis, the results show that close collaboration with customers increases the probability of sales leads to be canceled. Our study examines the complexity of the sales situation from three perspectives 1) relational complexity, 2) complexity of internal sales tasks, and 3) vendor's cross-business unit collaboration, and its effect on the sales lead performance in a business-to-business context.


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Close collaboration in business-to-business relationships has been an interest of both researchers and managers; however, companies are often struggling to obtain the benefits of close collaboration with their customers. Our study examines the complexity of the sales situation from three perspectives 1) relational complexity, 2) complexity of internal sales tasks, and 3) vendor's cross-business unit collaboration, and its effect on the sales lead performance in a business-to-business context. We adopted a mixed methods approach; our data consists of interviews with sales personnel and a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system data of 4000 sales leads from a large IT company that sells integrated solutions. Sales leads are classified into three categories: win, lost, and canceled. Based on multinomial logistic regression analysis, the results show that close collaboration with customers increases the probability of sales leads to be canceled. Our findings suggest that the selling approach focusing on close collaboration with the customers may not be a method to increase hit rates, due to possible high amount of canceled sales leads. This should be considered when salespeople's performance is measured in highly collaborative business-to-business environment. We conclude our paper with managerial and theoretical implications, and avenues for the further research


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