Increasingly, customer relationship management (CRM) is being viewed as a strategic, process‐oriented, cross‐functional, value‐creating for buyer and seller, and a means of achieving superior financial performance. However, there is a need for a more holistic view of cross‐functional as it relates to CRM. The purpose of this paper is to describe a macro level cross‐functional view of CRM and provide a structure for managing business‐to‐business relationships to co‐create value and increase shareholder value.
In order to identify the sub‐processes of CRM at the strategic and operational levels as well as the activities that comprise each sub‐process, focus group sessions were conducted with executives from a range of industries. The focus groups were supplemented with visits to companies identified in the focus groups as having the most advanced CRM practices.
The research resulted in a framework that managers can use to implement a cross‐functional, cross‐firm, CRM process in business‐to‐business relationships. Also, it should be useful to researchers interested in broadening their view of CRM.
The research is based on focus groups with executives in 15 companies representing nine industries and multiple positions in the supply chain including retailers, distributors, manufacturers and suppliers. While all companies had global operations, only one was based outside of the USA. Nevertheless, the framework has been presented in executive seminars in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australasia with very positive feedback.
The framework can be used by managers. The view of CRM presented involves all business functions which extends the current thinking in the marketing literature.
The most common view of CRM involves fewer business functions than the one identified in this research.
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