Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Book Review: "Value Merchants" by Anderson, Kumar and Narus

4 Stars (Out of 5)

The following is a book review of "Value Merchants: Demonstrating and Documenting Superior Value in Business Markets" by James C. Anderson, Nirmalya Kumar and James A. Narus. The book was published in 2007 by Harvard Business School Press.

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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