Over 20 years ago, the elusive “360-degree view of the customer” was a value proposition in datasheets from just about every Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software suite provider and data warehousing vendor. Over time, marketers have tried to keep their categories fresh by renaming them and adding new capabilities. Decision support systems became business intelligence solutions and data warehousing solutions morphed into Customer Data Platform (CDPs). With the evolution of all these systems and all these new capabilities, have most companies achieved his 360-degree view?
Through the power of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), B2B companies have been able to get more data from disparate sources into their CRM systems, but the reality is that this has given them more of a fragmented, kaleidoscope-like view rather than the crystal-clear, 4K panoramic view everyone aspires to have. Today, the focus for most companies isn’t on bringing data from different sources into a system of record like a sales automation or marketing automation platform — companies have been doing that for years. Now, it’s more about improving the quality of the data to get a clearer 360-degree view.
At Openprise, here’s what we’re seeing companies do to gain a clearer picture of their customers:
Integrating Outside Of CRM And Across Business Units
Sure, traditional marketing, sales and service systems are already well integrated. Leading companies are going above and beyond that. They’re integrating retail point of sale data from channel partners into their master customer view. They’re also integrating as many as a dozen different sales automation and marketing automation systems in different business units to get that single, unified view.
Deduping Leads, Contacts And Accounts
When companies have duplicates, lead scoring and account scoring work poorly because important activity is spread over multiple records. Campaign attribution becomes fuzzy at best. Lead routing becomes problematic as well. Deduping records instantly improves that 360-degree view.
It’s not uncommon for sales automation solutions to have over a 100 different state field values (e.g., “CA,” “California”), hundreds of different industries, dozens of job levels and hundreds of job functions. Standardizing all of this data makes basic reporting and lead scoring a snap.
Onboarding New Data Much Faster
At many companies, it can still take days for leads to enter a CRM system from a field event, and prospects have long forgotten many interactions by then. In contrast, best-in-class companies are loading event leads and other offline campaigns daily, and sometimes multiple times a day. With lead-to-account matching functionality and faster onboarding, sales can now instantly identify a lead that’s part of an account in an active sales cycle and reach out to that lead the same day — while they’re still at the event. Getting those new insights faster is shaving weeks off sales cycles.
Pulling Support And Trial Data Into CRM Systems
More and more companies are integrating SaaS product activity data into their CRM systems to gain a broader picture of what customers and prospects are doing. For example, when a customer has logged massive numbers of complaints, it’s time for the customer success manager to swoop in, not the hapless rep tasked with upselling in existing accounts. Or when a customer that’s using a free version of the product repeatedly hits a paywall, the time is right to send him in.
Enriching Data With Multiple Third-Party Providers
Most companies have seen match rates with third-party data providers of only 30%-40%, and this can be even lower in an overheated job market with a volatile workforce that’s job hopping. Since match rates are low and there isn’t one perfect data provider for everyone, more and more companies are enriching their data from multiple data providers, and using data orchestration solutions to normalize that data across providers before it enters their systems. This unification process provides a much richer picture of each customer.
The good news is that while the perfect 360-degree view that vendors have been promising for decades isn’t quite a reality yet for most companies, the view they do have today has never been clearer.
Allen Pogorzelski is the VP of Marketing at Openprise, a data orchestration platform for marketing and sales. Pogorzelski is a hands-on marketing professional with extensive experience bringing new solutions to market and increasing market share. Prior to Openprise, Pogorzelski held positions at companies such as Jasper Technologies, CipherCloud and Selectica.