Gaining access to customers’ resources through relationship bonds
In order to get good access to a buyer’s resources, which contribute to relationship value creation, a seller needs to put resources into the relationship, and the bonds between the buyer and seller need to be strong. This paper reports on a preliminary study that assesses how the expected level of input of resources by sellers into business-to-business buyer-seller relationships and the strength of relationship bonds affects sellers’ access to their buyers’ resources. The paper’s focus is on access to the buyer’s less imitable intangible resources, such as downstream market knowledge, which provide long-term competitive advantage. Based on extant literature and interviews with managers, the study proposes a model which includes relationship bonds as a mediator of the effect of seller’s resource input on their access to their buyers’ resources. The study applies structural equation modeling to survey data to test this model and finds support for it.