ABSTRACT: The firm's customer relationship management (CRM) system is frequently a central element of the knowledge management function of the firm. It integrates information from internal and external sources to guide managers and field personnel in the development and presentation of the firm's value proposition. But despite the widespread adoption of CRM systems by firms operating in business-to-business markets, there is continued management skepticism concerning the effectiveness of these systems and their association with the firm's overall “customer information orientation.” The present study seeks to shed light on these topics by evaluating the relationship between the customer relationship orientation of the firm and its use of CRM, as well as the association of CRM use with overall firm performance in B-to-B settings across a range of traditional business performance measures. The authors employ a multi-method approach to determine the key variables, including: database currency, internal database utilization, database accuracy and performance based reward systems utilized to operationalize the construct “the firm's customer information orientation” in order to develop statistical measures of the relationships of selected variables. The results of the study provide support for the finding that customer information orientation is indeed associated with CRM system implementation and that CRM use is associated with firm performance in B-to-B markets.
International Business Research. 01/2011;