• Areeya Lila CEO @ViewN

5 reasons why it is not CRM vs CDP but rather CRM + CDP

Updated: May 21

The conversation about customer data platforms has been wrong for long enough


In the past, we used to look at Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) vs. Customer Relationship Management (CRMs) to get clarity between the two kinds of customer data software. And while for educational purposes it may be helpful, it is a little misleading to speak in such terms. For most brands, both B2B and B2C alike, reality eventually requires BOTH systems integrated to give real 360-degree visibility of the customer. So let’s have a healthy conversation as to why you need a CRM and a CDP.

In implementing a CDP, starting with the connection to your CRM has huge advantages.

Both Customer Data Platform (CDP)and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools both collect customer data and provide value to your organization. But the similarities stop there: where a CDP autonomously creates unified customer profiles with data gathered across many online and offline channels, a CRM only tracks a customer’s intentional interactions with a company with most the data entered manually.


You need both. Here are 5 reasons why CDPs and CRMs are actually a marriage meant to be.


1. Transactions and Insights

Different technology has its strengths and weaknesses, CRMs are data capture. CDPs make it available for analysis and orchestrate campaigns. Sales representatives manually enter information from each transaction to help track and keep details related to the deal. CRMs are designed to write data to their systems easily and the information is usually stored in the database rows.


Sales analytics to inform about the pipeline and team performance can be created from your CRM data but falls short in providing full insights about your customer. Customers may buy online with you as well. But more importantly to having power customer insights is seeing how customers interact with your brand before the sale with marketing, and after the sale with support and retention. CDPs bring data from different departments and sources, including your CRM, then consolidate them into profiles to give you a 360-degree view of the customer. From the profile level, data can be sliced and built into insights such as segmentation analysis, marketing funnel analysis, customer journey analytics.




2. Online and offline information capture

CDPs track both online and offline customer data, whereas CRMs cannot pick up on offline data unless manually entered. This is especially true for brands that sell to customers through multiple channels. Data fragmentation occurs when data is siloed into different applications. CDPs solve the problem of data fragmentation by being able to consolidate the information into a single place regardless of the source was on-line or offline.

When you marry the sales transaction details from your CRM with web forms from marketing automation, you able to generate more valuable customer information with greater efficiency by managing it autonomously with a CDP.


3. View of the customer journey for consideration based buys

CDPs collect data on anonymous visitors, whereas CRMs only report on known customers or potential customers. While DMPs mostly collect anonymous data but not customer data- information before an individual fills out a form. In looking at the whole customer journey, a CDP tracks prospects that interact with you during the research phases, understanding buyer behaviors at the ordering process, and inform the needs of the customer during support.


While sales data from CRMs is critical to business it still only shows you a slice of the journey - the sales phase. Often CRMs are fed marketing scored lead from an automation system like Marketo, which gives some upstream visibility. Further, support tickets can also be tracked in a CRM to inform of events downstream. However, when it comes to all interactions, using a CRM to look at the whole customer journey would be like using bandaids to hold together a dam.


Harmony makes small things grow; lack of it makes great things decay.

- Sallust

4. Forecast vs. Predict

CDPs analyze lifetime customer behavior and customer journeys, whereas CRMs primarily analyze the sales pipeline and forecasting. Forecasting is critical to every business as it impacts planning, but CRMs were not meant to be databases on top of which to run predictions. CRM data models are set and mean to organize and show information efficiently to sales representatives. CDPs are more configurable and can adapt set data models to be combined with other data sources. The information is used more strategically for product and marketing and managed and prepared by analysts.


At VIEWN, we are using customer profiles to push further than trend analysis and forecasting, to building predictive models around customer retention and segmentation. When a customer interacts with your brand, we look for characteristics that help predict the most meaningful segments to which the customer belongs. This unlocks real-time and dynamic personalization, not just workflow tricks. We are also looking to predict which customers are likely to cancel to help increase customer retention proactively.


5. Privacy

Earlier this year the CCPA because active meaning enterprise must be able to guarantee a customer’s rights to know what is stored on them and also to be forgotten. Now, even B2Bs must store and manage B2C level information in order to comply with consumer data privacy. CDPs build a single customer view across different applications, making the management of privacy clearer, in the hands of the business, and entirely more efficient. CDPs are built to handle multiple data points from a large number of sources, organize it into profiles, and tracks the interaction of customers regardless of the applications. CRM’s collect individually-entered data and while they are a repository of valuable customer information, they lack the orchestration capabilities for efficient data privacy management to different sources.


As CDPs gain adoption amongst mid-sized brands, the conversation can finally move away from a CDP versus and CRM to a CDP and a CRM. Integrating CRM data with, support data, and order data means utilizing CDP technology to get it done. Start looking at entire buyer journeys and predict which customer may churn once the integration completes.


Summary of the 5 reasons why enterprises need both CDPs and CRMs

  1. Better access to both transactional data an business intelligence

  2. Ability to look at online and offline channels

  3. Full visibility into the buyer journey

  4. Forecast and predict sales and customer retention

  5. Efficiencies in data privacy management


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