Critical Success Factors
A cross-industry review of B2B critical success factors Riyad Eid Myfanwy Trueman and Abdel Moneim Ahmed Introduction In recent years business-to-business international Internet marketing (B2B IIM) has received widespread attention. Avlonitis and Karayanni (2000), Hamill and Gregory (1997), Hoffman et al. (1999), Porter (2001) and Quelch and Klein (1996) conducted in-depth studies to understand those factors that are needed to enhance B2B IIM implementation. Various articles, empirical research, and secondary case studies on B2B, Internet, international marketing, and information technology were studied.
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The findings of these studies identified 21 factors that have a direct impact on successful implementation of the B2B IIM. These factors were classified into five categories: marketing strategy, web site, global dimension, internal and external related factors. Definitions, techniques and discussion on these factors are described in the following sections. Further discussion on each category is also underpinned. The authors Riyad Eid, Myfanwy Trueman and Abdel Moneim Ahmed are all based at the Bradford University School of Management, Bradford, UK.
Keywords International marketing, Success, Business-to-business marketing, Internet Abstract Business-to-business international Internet marketing (B2B IIM) has emerged as one of the key drivers in sustaining an organisation’s competitive advantage. However, market entry and communication via the Internet have affected the dynamics and traditional process in B2B commerce. Difficulties resulting from these new trends have been cited in the literature. Research into identifying what are the critical success factors for global market entry is rare.
This research presents a comprehensive review in this field. The study identified 21 critical success factors applicable to most of the B2B IIM. These factors were classified into five categories: marketing strategy, Web site, global, internal and external related factors. The significance, importance and implications for each category are discussed and then recommendations are made. Electronic access The research register for this journal is available at http://www. emeraldinsight. com/researchregisters The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at http://www. meraldinsight. com/1066-2243. htm Internet Research: Electronic Networking Applications and Policy Volume 12 . Number 2 . 2002 . pp. 110±123 # MCB UP Limited . ISSN 1066-2243 DOI 10. 1108/10662240210422495 Critical success factors definitions Digman (1990), Butler and Fitzgerald (1999) and Guynes and Vanecek (1996) defined critical factors for success as the areas or functions where things must go right to ensure successful competitive performance for an organisation. Oakland (1995) links these factors to what an organisation must accomplish to achieve its mission.
Kanji and Tambi (1999) stated that for these factors to be more effective, they have to represent managerial areas, which require continual attention to lead to high performance. This research attempts to identify and discuss in the following sections those areas or functions through the secondary case studies and reviewing literature. This will guide an organisation while implementing B2B IIM. Available techniques Leidecker and Bruno (1984) proposed several techniques for identifying the critical success factors (CSFs). These included environment scanning, industry structure analysis, 110
A cross-industry review of B2B critical success factors Riyad Eid, Myfanwy Trueman and Abdel Moneim Ahmed Internet Research: Electronic Networking Applications and Policy Volume 12 . Number 2 . 2002 . 110±123 industrial expert’ s opinions, competitors’ analysis, best practice analysis, assessment of the company’ s internal feeling or judgement, and gathered data of profit impact of market strategy (PIMS): Environmental scanning. This technique is used to identify the economical, political and social forces that surround an organisation and influence its performance.
Companies often link environmental scanning technique to the threats and opportunities evaluation. The only problem attached to this technique is the difficulty of operating it into a specific industry or to an organisation’s CSFs. Industry structure analysis. This type of analysis is based on five components: barriers to entry, substitutable products, suppliers, buyers and inter-firm competition. Evaluating each component and the interrelationships between them leads to gathering considerable data that assist in identifying the critical factors for success.
The technique is used only industry wide, which makes its application for individual firms inappropriate. Industrial expert’ s opinions. This technique depends on people who have an excellent working knowledge of the industry/ business. This technique depends more on subjective opinions. However, the intuitive feel of an industry insider often is an excellent source of CSFs and, coupled with more objective techniques, provides the analyst with rich data. Competitors’ analysis. This technique focuses on the competitive environment. It concentrates analysis on competition, how firms compete, one does not dilute efforts.
But it cannot provide CSFs not linked to the analysis of how firms compete. Best practice analysis. This technique is very useful in industries dominated by one or a few firms, such as Dell, in the computer industry. The logic behind this technique understands what the firm does successfully in determining the CSFs. But this technique of narrow focus analysis might limit inputs of more CSFs. Internal assessment. This technique identifies the CSFs for a particular firm. The focus here is to explore what the company does well and not so well.
The technique again narrows the focus of analysis and cannot provide more CSFs. Intuitive factors. This technique depends on the intuition and insight of individuals who are familiar with the firm and leads to identification of important short run CSFs that may be unclear in more formal reviews, but it depends on subjective opinions. PIMS results. PIMS identifies the key determinants of profitability that provide inputs for CSFs analysis. The advantage of this technique is the empirical basis of the project results. But this technique may lead to general nature of the factors.