The efficacy of strategic customer relationship management in South African business-to-business organisations

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In an era of digitalisation where emerging technologies are leading the digital economy, the need for strategically aligned CRM has become imperative for organisations operating in B2B sectors. However, strategic CRM, is not prevalent in current operational structures, and is still an immature discipline in emerging markets and specifically within a South African context. Strategically driven CRM should provide a direct correlation to an organisations digital information structures to ensure and positively increase business continuity. These capabilities are imperative, overall misalignment of strategic business imperatives endure a snowball effect to operational management frameworks. Cohesion of new and existing customer information is necessitated to ensure tailored individual human experiences through a holistic customer experience approach. These should benefit both the customer and the organisation resulting in end-to-end value creation. To enhance the credibility of arriving at a comprehensive understanding of the research question, a qualitative method geared towards strategic change initiatives was applied. Utilising the Gioia methodology approach, the data sets employed were gathered in the form of semi-structured interviews from a sample of 15 B2B industry experts across multiple disciplines to adequately assess and analyse the derived research propositions. The study found evidence that supports existing contemporary strategic CRM models available in isolation of variable factors, additional dimensions of customer knowledge led practice and customer centricity highlighted that a performance culture were evident. These were emphasised as relevant supporting pillars and key determinants for successful strategic CRM through organisational knowledge sharing and exchange criteria. This research considers the implications of customer knowledge management as a process workflow within a strategic CRM framework. Whilst reviewing applicable relational constructs specific to current and associated factors adapted to emerging markets by considering people led systems as dependent constructs.
A research report submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Management in Strategic Marketing to the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, Wits Business School, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2021
Customer relationship management, South Africa, Strategic management, UCTD