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Susan Joseph


Susan is an independent digital communications and user experience strategist. She helps companies discover their brand voice and grow their business.

Shubharthi Ghosh


Shubharthi is currently part of the strategic marketing team at Regalix. His expertise mainly lies in the account-based marketing and programmatic advertising space.

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Priyanka Bhatacharya


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A freelance content writer, S. Sahu was the former editor of TCS's house magazine at Tata Consultancy Services. He developed tech marketing collateral for the company and helped compile and edit books and journal articles on TCS's technology innovations. He also ghostwrites print and online publications. 

Prajwala Hegde


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Rajesh Nanarpuzha


Rajesh Nanarpuzha is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at IIM Udaipur. Previously, he has worked as a brand manager in Dabur, and as a business consultant in the retail and consumer goods domains at Cognizant and Tata Consultancy Services. Rajesh has an MBA from IIM Indore and a doctorate in marketing from IIM Ahmedabad.


Priyokumar Singh Naorem


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Dyuti Mittal


A freelance illustrator, artist, graphic novelist and designer. She has designed and illustrated several book covers. Her personal illustrations so far have attempted to seize the fleeting absurdity and mood of places, things and people she encounters in a childlike, intuitive and expressive manner with closure, beauty and innocence – the things that she desires.

Sumakshi Singh


She is an artist and an educator who has taught and lectured at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Oxford University, the Victoria and Albert Museum among other institutions. Her installations, paintings, thread work and sculptures have been exhibited in Saatchi Gallery - London, C24 Gallery - New York, and Museum of Contemporary Art – Lyon, among other notable galleries and museums from around the world.

Purna Chandra Mahato


Purna Chandra Mahato is an artist based out of Rourkela, India. Trained in painting (fine arts) from Pracheen Kala Kendra, Chandigarh, Purna has participated in many prestigious exhibitions and artist camps. His paintings explore various aspects of colour, shade, textures, and strokes, while keeping to abstract themes; they strive for a spontaneity that is enjoyable to spectators.

Parul Gupta


A commerce graduate from Delhi University, Parul pursued a masters in fine arts from Nottingham Trent University in the UK. As an artist, she is interested in line as a subject which has led her to follow architectural lines in built environments. She says she is also interested in how we perceive the environment that we inhabit and what happens when a subtle shift is made in things which we have been used to seeing in a certain way. We present six of her artworks here.

Shweta Malhotra


Shweta Malhotra is a graphic artist and designer from Mumbai, based in New Delhi.
After working with ad agencies and design studios for close to 8 years, she branched out on her own and currently works independently.s Her overall design aesthetic is minimal, bold and graphic, a response to the maximalist visual language prevalent in India.

Rithika Merchant


Rithika Merchant (b.1986) received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Parsons the New School for Design, New York in 2008. She has exhibited extensively since her graduation. Recent exhibitions include a duo show “Reliquaries: The Remembered Self” at TARQ, Mumbai; “Language of the Birds: Occult and Art” at 80WSE Gallery, New York; and group shows at Summerhall, Edinburgh and Artry Gallery, Kochi. Her work has been included in multiple group shows at Stephen Romano Gallery and The Morbid Anatomy Museum, New York. Born in Mumbai, she now divides her time between Mumbai and Barcelona.

Aniruddh Mehta


Aniruddh Mehta is an artist based out of Mumbai, India. Trained in graphic design from the London College of Communications, Aniruddh is a self-taught illustrator and currently works as an independent freelance designer. He believes in finding the right balance between art and graphic design. He has worked closely in collaboration with Bhavishyavani Future Soundz, Qilla Records, Taxi Fabric, Adidas, Dell and United Colours of Benetton. He also goes by the moniker, ‘thebigfatminimalist’ and his style ranges from bold minimal forms to more intricate pieces exploring patterns and geometry.

Paramesh Jolad


Paramesh is an artist who enjoys working in both the realistic and abstract style of painting. He loves working with water color. Featured in this issue are a set of water color works that he has created exclusively for us on the subject of digital transformation.

Chandrashekhar Thakur


Based in Mumbai, Chandrashekhar Thakur is a Senior Art Director and Illustrator at Truebil.com and the Founder of HAPPiNESS For You. He loves working with new styles of art and considers illustration to be his forte. Chandrashekhar has completed his BFA from DY Patil College of Applied Art.

Concept and Direction

Nimish Vohra


Head of marketing at Regalix, Nimish drives research in emerging technologies and customer experience, and takes a keen interest in creative arts.


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Rajesh Nanarpuzha is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at IIM Udaipur. Previously, he has worked as a brand manager in Dabur, and as a business consultant in the retail and consumer goods domains at Cognizant and Tata Consultancy Services. Rajesh has an MBA from IIM Indore and a doctorate in marketing from IIM Ahmedabad.

Sales enablement is typically understood as tools and techniques that increase a salesperson’s effectiveness. However, sales enablement implies the usage of adaptive selling, which in turn, has been described as the extent to which salespersons customize their selling approaches to selling situations (Spiro and Weitz, 1990). As per this conceptualization, salespersons are more effective if they succeed in matching their selling approaches to buyer characteristics (McFarland, Challagalla, and Shervani, 2006). This implies that successful selling approaches are dependent on selling situations and buyer characteristics. However, most organizations do not place adequate focus on understanding this in any depth. This results in salespersons ‘learning on the job’, even with sales training being an integral part of the organizational onboarding process.

In this article, I delve into academic research to explore ‘salesperson influence strategies’ in more detail. These are a set of strategies available for salespeople to use as per selling situations and buyer characteristics. With a better understanding of salesperson influence strategies on offer, organizations can weave this understanding into their training programs, to enable salespersons to increase their effectiveness.


A typology of influence strategies

Frazier and Summers (1984) have discussed six type of influence strategies. Influence strategies, as per Frazier and Summers (1984) are the means available for using power in a selling situation. The six types of influence strategies discussed by the authors include

  • Promises – Here, the buyer is offered a specific reward which is contingent with the achievement of a specific objective. In sales situations, the reward could be envisaged as an achievement of a particular target by the buyer.
  • Legalistic strategies - Here, the salesperson leverages the presence of a formal legal contract or an informal binding agreement to nudge the buyer towards performing some desirable action. The leasing of equipment to a buyer under a legalistic contract is an example.
  • Threats – Here, the salesperson invokes negative sanctions that could come into play in case a desirable action is not forthcoming from the buyer’s side. Withholding of volume-based discounts in case of non-achievement of targets is a common threat.
  • Requests – In this influence strategy, the salesperson informs the buyer about the desired action without invoking the threat of penalties or benefits of a reward.
  • Information exchange – Here, the intention of the salesperson is to alter buyer perceptions through discussions on business issues and operating procedures. Synchronizing operational procedures between the selling organization and the buyer often happens through this.
  • Recommendations - In this influence strategy, salespeople typically offer suggestions which could improve the prospects of the buyer.

Some of these influence strategies are aimed at achieving immediate compliance, while others are aimed at modifying buyer behavior in the longer term (Frazier and Summers, 1984). It is understood that recommendations and information exchange are used to modify buyer perceptions while promises, threats, legalistic strategies, and requests are used for achieving compliance immediately or in the short term (Nanarpuzha and Noronha, 2016). The effectiveness of sales calls is often dependent on the use of an apt influence strategy in a particular selling situation, wherein the salesperson has a good understanding of the buyer’s characteristics.


Organizational implications

Sales enablement is often equated to, and therefore reduced to a technological solution. However, the term’s underlying meaning requires better understanding. It involves activities, tools and techniques – not always virtual – that equip salespersons to be more effective in their work. A salesperson is typically faced with a multitude of selling situations and buyers with differing characteristics. A good understanding of the strategies available to her in such situations is invaluable. It is important that salespersons are taught about different influence strategies that they have at their disposal. More importantly, they should be educated on the timing of their use, and their possible implications. For an organization, it is best if this understanding is institutionalized through training initiatives. Enabling the sales force is good tactics; training them on avenues for improved effectiveness is a better strategy.


  1. Frazier, G. L., & Summers, J. O. (1984). Interfirm influence strategies and their application within distribution channels. The Journal of Marketing,48 (3), 43-55.
  2. Frazier, G. L., & Summers, J. O. (1984). Interfirm influence strategies and their application within distribution channels. The Journal of Marketing,48 (3), 43-55.
  3. McFarland, R. G., Challagalla, G. N., & Shervani, T. A. (2006). Influence tactics for effective adaptive selling. Journal of Marketing, 70 (4), 103-117.
  4. Nanarpuzha, R., & Noronha, E. (2016). Seeking attention: an investigation of salesperson influence strategies used while selling to small retailers. Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 36 (2), 144-159.
  5. Spiro, R. L., & Weitz, B. A. (1990). Adaptive selling: Conceptualization, measurement, and nomological validity. Journal of Marketing Research, 27 (1), 61-69.