• Areeya Lila CEO @ViewN

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

Updated: Feb 23

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


In the past, we, at VIEWN, 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 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 of the data entered manually.


It would be best if you had both. Here are 5 reasons why CDPs and CRMs are actually a marriage meant to be.


Reason #1 for both a CDP and CRM: Transactions and Insights


Different technology has its strengths and weaknesses. CRM's are transactional 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 transactional 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, 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. Data can be sliced and built into insights such as segmentation analysis, marketing funnel analysis, and customer journey analytics from the profile level.


Reason #2 for both a CDP and CRM: Online and offline information capture


CDPs track 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 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 can generate more valuable customer information with greater efficiency by managing it autonomously with a CDP.


Reason #3 for both a CDP and CRM: 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 informing the customer's needs during support.


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

- Sallust


While sales data from CRMs are critical to the 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 upstream visibility. Further, support tickets from customer service apps, like ZendDesk, can also be tracked in a CRM to inform events downstream. However, using a CRM to look at the whole customer journey would be like using bandaids to hold together a dam when it comes to all interactions.


Reason #4 for both a CDP and CRM: 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 running 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 use customer profiles to push further than trend analysis and forecasting to build 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.


Reason #5 for both a CDP and CRM: Privacy


This year, the CCPA became active, meaning enterprise must guarantee a customer’s rights to know what is stored on them and be forgotten. Now, even B2Bs must store and manage B2C level information to comply with consumer data privacy. CDPs build a single customer view across different applications, making the management of privacy clearer, in the business's hands, and entirely more efficient. CDPs are built to handle multiple data points from many sources, organize these data points into profiles, and track 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 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 and 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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