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You need an efficient way to manage your customer data. Your CRM and DMP platforms are serving their purpose, but just don’t seem to deliver the results your company desires. 

So you do some research and come across a new acronym — CDP (customer data platform). It sounds a lot like a CRM; it manages data on your customers and prospects. However, as you’ll soon learn, it can do a whole lot more.

Let’s take a look at the key differences between a customer data platform and a customer relationship management system for B2B companies.

What Is Customer Relationship Management Software?

A CRM is a software designed to help a business manage all of its relationships and interactions with customers (and prospects). When used correctly, it can help you to stay in touch with your leads and accounts, enhance your business processes, and grow your revenue. 

For instance, a CRM can help your marketing people know when it’s time to send out a personalized email to a prospect. This is based on the interactions recorded by your sales team, which can determine where the prospect is in the customer journey. 

Explaining the role of CRM software, CMSWire notes: 

“CRM tracks transactions, analyzes the pipeline, manages customer health, and makes notes about customer bugs or other input. CRM platforms also typically deal with first-party data that is sourced by sales and marketing. A CRM does not match data across channels.”

What Is a Customer Data Platform?

Some people often confuse customer data platforms (CDPs) with CRM — but it is in fact a very different beast. The goal is to create a unified database containing customer data collected from all of your software tools as well as external sources. 

This central database consists of everything you need to get a 360-degree view of your leads and customer accounts. For example, your teams will have access to a central database that contains multi-level data that tracks relationships, hierarchies within a company, as well as ideal customer personas. 

Not only does is this data stored and shared across platforms, but it also uses AI to analyze it all so your teams can make it actionable.

Forrester describes a CDP in this way:

“Customer data platforms consolidate and integrate data from multiple heterogeneous sources into a single, trusted repository that supplies accurate customer data to analytical and operational systems throughout the martech stack.”

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How Does the Data in a CDP Differ from Data in a CRM?

A customer relationship management tool aggregates first-party data about a customer’s attributes and transactions with your business. This includes orders they placed and products or services they purchased. It helps your salespeople understand the customer and how to upsell or cross-sell to them. A CRM uses structured data such as emails, cookies, customer ID, etc. It does not typically match data across channels, nor does it pull data from external sources.

A customer data platform, on the other hand, is multi-faceted. It takes raw, unstructured data (in real-time) for further analyzing. For instance, it details everything about a customer, such as:

  • The name of their company
  • The size of the company
  • Their role within a company
  • The industry the company is in
  • The revenue of their company
  • Their purchase history
  • Their interactions with your company
  • The technologies the company uses
  • Their sales and service history
  • Their company email and phone number

Think of a CDP as a customer data hub, wherein both internal and external data about the customer is aggregated for analysis by your marketing team. CDPs organize information about your customers into one single source of truth. Armed with this detailed customer view, your marketing and sales teams can work on delivering customized, personalized experiences to your B2B customers at scale.

Create a Customer-Obsessed Strategy by Integrating Your CRM with a CDP

To be clear, CRMs and CDPs aren’t competitors. In fact, they work hand-in-hand to deliver the information your business needs to thrive. CDPs provide you with comprehensive customer profiles upon which you can base segmented, highly personalized campaigns. Then, those campaigns can be executed via your CRM and other customer-facing systems. 

What’s great about a CDP is that it integrates with your CRM, Marketing Automation, and other sales and marketing tools. Your CRM collects first-party information from leads and maintains profiles of customer accounts. Then your CDP helps make sense of all the data collected from various sources you use (including first, second, and third party).

With a CRM and CDP in your arsenal, you’ll empower your sales and marketing teams to boost business performance. They’ll be able to do this with confidence using the data readily available to them. 

For an easy-to-understand side-by-side comparison of CDPs and CRMs, simply fill out the simple form below for instant access.

Thanks for your interest in this comparison chart. Click here to access.

Choose Your CDP Wisely

You’re likely already using Salesfore or another similar CRM. So look for a CDP that integrates well with this and other Sales and Marketing systems you are using (like Marketing Automation). 

You will also need to find a CDP that does more than simply collect and analyze data. It should have a strong data management component that cleans and enriches your data as well.

That’s what the Leadspace customer data platform does. It regularly checks the data in your system against other sources. This will ensure the names, emails, job position, company name, and other data are correct for each of your leads and customers. 

Ready to see how a CDP can boost your B2B customer management? Then download the Ultimate Guide to Driving Revenue with a B2B Customer Data Platform today!  


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