Research evidence shows that companies fail to make their customer relationship management (CRM) efforts pay off. This is probably due to the acknowledged lack of guidelines assisting firms to identify and develop capabilities enabling the successful implementation of their CRM system. In this paper, this deficiency is addressed by proposing a list of critical CRM capabilities and articulating tasks for their development within the organisation. The point of departure is a holistic CRM definition, which is grounded on market-orientation, information technology (IT) and integration. Alongside research evidence, it is used as a basis for the development of an overall conceptual framework for CRM capabilities. The framework is analysed and discussed, and practical implications are offered for the firm.