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CRM in the digital age: implementation of CRM in three contemporary B2B firms

Heini Sisko Maarit Lipiäinen (School of Business and Economics, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland)

Journal of Systems and Information Technology

ISSN: 1328-7265

Article publication date: 9 March 2015




The purpose of this study was to contribute to the current discussion on digitization in companies’ marketing from a customer relationship management (CRM) perspective by examining the role and objectives of CRM and the exploitation of social media to serve the objectives of CRM in contemporary business-to-business (B2B) companies.


The data are collected through semi-structured themed interviews with key marketing/sales managers from three B2B firms.


CRM seems to be moving closer to the company’s core activity and becoming everybody’s business to a greater extent than ever before, but its main goal, to enhance customer relationships, will not necessarily change. Understanding the customer is vital and requires different functions to cooperate closely to ensure the firm has the best possible understanding of its customers. Public social media tools played almost no part in CRM, but closed social media systems might have potential in the future.

Research limitations/implications

The chosen research approach limits the generalization of the results.

Practical implications

It seems likely that firms will benefit from a collaborative working style over the traditional silo approaches. For B2B firms, public social media does not seems to be the most suitable source to serve CRM but private social media channels might have potential in the future.


The lack of empirical examination of the change from company ecosystem to customer ecosystem from a CRM perspective, and the lack of research on social media for CRM in the B2B context, determines the purpose of this study. Furthermore, digitization is a rather new and unstructured phenomenon and many companies are still considering how to reconcile to it.



Lipiäinen, H.S.M. (2015), "CRM in the digital age: implementation of CRM in three contemporary B2B firms", Journal of Systems and Information Technology, Vol. 17 No. 1, pp. 2-19.



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