Customer Relationship Management Processes: How Faithful Are Business-to-Business Firms to Customer Profitability?

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Marketing academicians and practitioners have over the past decade advocated the implementation of customer equity principles within firms. This article draws on adaptive structuration theory to frame the faithfulness of firms to acquiring and maintaining customers according to their profit potential. Using survey data from 158 business units engaged in business-to-business sales, this article examines the motivational effects of market growth rate and customization requirements, and the technology and information integration capabilities of the firm as determinants of firm adherence to treating customers according to their profitability. The study finds that firms are better at maintaining customers according to their profit potential than acquiring customers according to their profit potential. Further, maintenance faithfulness appears to have more ultimate impact on firm performance. The study suggests that pursuing customer profitability has limited effectiveness unless accompanied by a broader range of initiatives aimed at making the firm more customer-focused.



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