Integrating the value of salespeople and systems: adapting the benefits dependency network

Beth Rogers, Merlin Stone, B. Foss

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    Business-to-business (B2B) companies invest in customer relationship management (CRM), integrated with sales force automation (SFA) to achieve a return on investment, through improved sales force productivity, sales revenue, costs, customer satisfaction, process accuracy and customer knowledge. However, the devil is in the detail. CRM and SFA are multi-faceted. There are two main obstacles to successful implementation. One is the need for the customer to get some benefit out of the system; the other is ensuring that employees who are expected to use the system actually buy-in to its benefits, including what benefit they will gain as individuals. However, much planning is needed to manage the risks involved. The ‘benefits dependency network’ (BDN),1 designed to develop routes to successful implementation of IT, has been tested in CRM projects. The factors for success in CRM implementation in B2B companies, where the sales force must be involved, are many and varied, including proactive sales management, creating champions, consultation, training, incentives and culture change. Practicalities such as incremental application of the technology and a wide portfolio of metrics to monitor progress are also critical. In the light of the special considerations of sales force involvement, the authors propose an adaptation of the BDN to suggest a generic map for the implementation of CRM (with SFA) in B2B markets. This paper is based on the authors’ secondary research for two commercial sponsors in the utilities sector, supplemented by the authors’ extensive experience of working in this area.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)221-232
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Database Marketing and Customer Strategy Management
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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