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Knowledge-Assisted Selling to Business Customers for Relationship Gains: A Case of Medical Device Industry

Customer knowledge management is crucial for fostering profitable relationships with customers, specifically for complex products. Transferring knowledge about complex products to customers is a costly and time-consuming process for the seller and may not generate immediate benefits; however, such engagements can be influential in relationship gains at various touch points. Through this study, we examine the impact of knowledge-assisted selling (by transferring knowledge to customers) on short- and long-term revenue gains. Further, building on knowledge-based view of firms, we incorporate two sets of moderators – knowledge transfer mode (implicit v. explicit) and knowledge absorptive capacity (e.g., training intensity). We use data from a medical device manufacturer's newly launched Educational Program (aimed at transferring knowledge to customers) where we employ propensity score matching to evaluate the program's effectiveness on short- and long-term revenue gains. Our findings indicate significant improvements in both short- and long-term revenue gains, and these gains are enhanced with higher absorptive capacity. Finally, we also examine the effect of knowledge-assisted selling on non-financial outcomes, mainly customers’ service request calls.