How do I show my research potential

Short interview with Lukas Isenberg on his research in the areas of 'B2B sales' and 'business model development in the context of Industry 4.0'


Lukas Isenberg has been a research assistant and doctoral candidate at the Sales & Marketing Department of the Ruhr University Bochum since January 2015. Here he answers a few questions about his work and research in the Sales & Marketing Department.

What are your main research areas?

My first research focus is on B2B sales. On the one hand, I deal with the challenges of small customer care and the sale of complex customer solutions (solution selling). My second research focus is the development of business models in the context of Industry 4.0.

What is new about your research project?

Although solution selling is no longer a completely new topic, it still poses major challenges for companies. For example, solution selling requires completely different competencies or sales processes than the sales of conventional products. I think we can provide new insights here that can help companies improve their solution sales.

What exactly do you do in your research projects?

Overall, my research projects are very different. For example, my first paper deals with sales support for small customers. In many companies, this leads to constellations in which a customer has a long-term business relationship with the provider company but meets the salesperson for the first time. This sales situation is often characterized by a high level of distrust on the part of customers towards the sales person. In my first paper, I analyze this type of customer-seller relationship and show the sales behavior with which salespeople can reduce the mistrust of customers in order to positively influence the customer's purchase decision.

Lukas Isenberg conducts research on the topics of 'B2B sales' and 'business model development in the context of Industry 4.0' © SMD / RUB

Do you also cooperate with commercial enterprises as part of your work? What does this cooperation look like?

So far I have worked closely with companies in all of my research projects. The collaborations look very different. For example, we conducted a large customer survey with one company. In our project "Gemini - Business Models for Industry 4.0" we developed new business models in the context of Industry 4.0 in workshops together with various companies.

What relevance does your research have for practice?

The close cooperation with our partner companies automatically means that we research topics that are of high practical relevance. We are convinced that sales will continue to gain in importance, especially when it comes to solution selling. The positive feedback from practice confirms that we are there. The context of Industry 4.0 also offers great research potential and is currently the top priority for many companies.

What was your most challenging research event at the department so far?

I think the first dissertation paper is one of the greatest challenges for every doctoral student. The process up to completion is very complex and sometimes nerve-wracking. At the same time, however, I went through a steep learning curve, which will then benefit me for further research projects.

What professional plans do you have for the future?

I can envision a career in research as well as in business. I'm currently still keeping that open.

Describe your research in three words.

Practical, innovative, relevant.

Thank you very much Lukas!

Background information:
You can read more information about Lukas Isenberg's previous career here.