The market enthusiasm generated around investment in CRM technology is in stark contrast to the nay saying by many academic and business commentators. Building on the resource-based view of the firm this study shows the human, technological and business capabilities required to effectively execute a CRM program. Further, the study demonstrates that CRM programs are most valuable when directing attention towards a proactive market orientation. Lastly, the study cautions that in seeking to compete through superior service, CRM programs must first be feasible and this requires a wider understanding of the structural and behavioural limits to performance.