For many companies, the performance of marketing strategies falls well short of expectations. What is more, the relationship between effective implementation and a company’s overall performance is not yet fully understood because of scattered and fragmented research on the topic. With this in mind, the EU-funded IMS (Marketing strategy implementation as source of firms’ competitive advantage) project investigated the effectiveness of successful marketing strategy implementation. It worked on determining how strategy performance and business competitiveness are linked. In its initial stages, the project focused on knowledge transfer and dissemination. The research conducted advanced the state of the art in marketing strategy implementation. Results demonstrate how companies can implement value strategies for complex relational selling processes through a successful sales force. The IMS team also found a dearth of literature on this strategic issue that impacts business markets. On the individual level, the project highlighted salespeople’s crucial role in recognising opportunities for creating customer value, highlighting as well individual and organisational variables that impact salespeople’s value opportunity recognition. On the organisational level, the project found that implementation of firms’ value creation strategies requires them to interact with customer organisations at the forefront of research. It revealed how suppliers’ relationships with key clients often fail. This finding ultimately helps firms to implement value strategies through an effective sales force in complex selling processes. Armed with its valuable research findings, the project team presented several papers at high-profile global conferences, submitted manuscripts for publication, and disseminated to key stakeholders in business and academia. Strategic partnerships were formed with leading international researchers as well. Overall, the work of IMS has deepened knowledge on marketing strategy implementation. This should greatly assist European companies in carrying out successful marketing strategy campaigns that enable them to maintain their competitiveness globally.
Marketing strategy, competitive advantage, IMS, selling processes, sales force, salespeople