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Value Merchants: Demonstrating and Documenting Superior Value in Business Markets Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1 edition (October 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422103358
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422103357
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,575 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James C. Anderson is the William L. Ford Distinguished Professor of Marketing and Wholesale Distribution at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University.

Nirmalya Kumar is Professor of Marketing and Director of the Centre for Marketing of Aditya V. Birla Indian Centre, London Business School.

James A. Narus is a Professor of Business Marketing at the Babcock Graduate School of Management, Wake Forest University.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
No one will disagree with James Anderson, Nirmalya Kumar, and James Narus that it is important for businesses to deliver "superior value targeted to market segments and customer firms" while getting "an equitable return on the value delivered." Hence the importance of effective customer value management (CVM) that relies on customers' perceptions of value to gain an understanding of what customers' requirements and preferences are. Only then is it possible to determine in economic terms what that means. In this context, I am reminded of Warren Buffett's observation that "price is what you charge and value is what others think it's worth."

The co-authors explain how to:

1. assess customers' perceptions of value
2. conceptualize value
3. formulate an appropriate value proposition
4. substantiate value
5. create "naked solutions" with options
6. sell on value, not price
7. earn an equitable return
8. become a value merchant
9. leverage information from various sources
10. continue to be a value merchant

The CVM program the authors recommend in this volume is comprehensive, cohesive, and cost-effective. It will probably be of greatest value to C-level executives who are convinced that their companies are delivering superior value to their customers but have not convinced them of that. At this point, I presume to share two thoughts of my own, all of which are consistent with what the authors of this book assert. First, whatever an organization's size or nature, its executives must nail the economic essentials by knowing (a) exactly what the organization's operating costs are and (b) what the margin is on each product or service offered. I agree with Jason Jennings: "If it's DOA, bury it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Todd Snelgrove on December 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Congratulations to the team of writers for the book "Value Merchants". As someone whose whole job responsibility is to implement a value sales strategy and culture at a global industrial company, I was amazed at the clear and concise roadmap the book laid out. Not only is it filled with theoretical ideas of why it is important to create and document value for customers, but it gives a practical roadmap of how to transform a company into a value "merchant."

As most people in the world of sales know; today you either have to be the cheapest by line item, or if you're the best - you need to find a way to `explain this" so the purchasing, finance, production people can clearly see they are getting the best value for their organization. Without the ability to document the value that can be created and has been, you're left with little more than wishes and hopes, and finance people won't pay you for those.

Whether you are in the business of dealing with distributors, final end users, Original Equipment Manufacturers, or the general public, a clear concise value proposition that can be understood in financial terms and has the "proof points" to sustain it will be the only way to move forward and not be caught in the commodity trap of "lowest unit price".

Finally, for any procurement or finance people, what a great read. Learn how to partner with your suppliers to reduce true real costs, and really drive bottom line earnings per share. A Total Cost of Operation relationship with a supplier that can prove their value differentiators will make you more profitable today and in the future.

Todd Snelgrove, Global Manager; Customer Value
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Luke A. Wissmann on June 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book serves as a "how-to" for value based pricing in a B2B context. "Value Merchants" is written for the business leader or sales manager that sells products to businesses (B2B) who wants to get a better return on their products by quantifying (in terms of dollars) the benefits and savings for their customers to eliminate the need to provide price concessions in order to make a sale. The book could be read over a short flight as it is clearly written and has good flow.

The book makes the case for the use of and demonstrates how to create "value calculators" to document cost savings and incremental profit gains delivered to customers by purchasing the suppliers products and services, which they call "Customer Value Management Process". The authors show going through the process can help make stronger value propositions, quantify value claims, construct business cases for change, tailor market offerings, and transform the sales force into "value merchants" as opposed to "value spendthrifts".

There are only two criticisms that I have of this book. First, the "Customer Value Management Process" should actually be called the "Value Merchant Process" or the "Customer Value Based Marketing & Sales Process", as Customer Value Management is a much broader domain of thought comprising many tools that include the "Value Merchant Process". The second criticism is that the bibliography and references to scholarly works is very limited, where nearly half of the references point to author's own journal publications.

In summary, this book provides an introduction and a "how-to" for value based pricing in a B2B context and how are interested in learning about one of the many tools that make up Value Based Management.
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