7 Jobs For Customer Data Platforms in B2B

Customer Data Platform for B2B

In "FANGs Are Taking a Bite Out of B2B," we explored the reasons why you need a Customer Data Platform (CDP). In this post, we'll outline 7 sure signs that you need a CDP right now. 

What's a CDP?

There are CDPs for both B2B and B2C.  There are lots of great resources for CDPs in the B2C space (see the CDP Institute), so we'll focus here on B2B.  Here are the primary attributes of a CDP for B2B:

  1. In a CDP, data is integrated from multiple systems, cleaned and joined to create a 360 degree customer view.  In B2B, the data is joined at the account level and leads are automatically matched to accounts. Typical B2B sources include the customer relationship management system (often Salesforce), marketing automation platform, product usage database, financial info and support tickets.
  2. The data in a CDP is maintained in a persistent unified customer database.  It can be used for complex analysis (such as segmentation, account scoring and customer success analytics).  The insights can be used to focus sales and marketing resources on the high scoring accounts in the right segments.  Similarly, account management and customer success teams can prioritize accounts that are showing early indicators of upsell or churn.
  3. A CDP does not depend on IT for daily usage, but IT and BizOps are important partners for implementation.  Line of business managers from sales, marketing, customer success, product management and finance can all use CDPs for analysis and engagement with customers.  The power of a CDP is that it creates a single pane of glass for the entire go-to-market team to gain a better understanding of customers.  

When do you need a CDP?

People don't think in terms of platforms.  They think in terms of jobs that they need to get done.  (As an aside, I highly recommend Clay Christensen's analysis of Jobs to Be Done theory in Competing Against Luck.)

When you have a job that you need to get done, you look for solutions to that specific job.  The thing about CDPs is that they can be used to do lots of jobs. If you are spending any of your time thinking about these 7 jobs, there's a good chance that you already need a CDP:

  1. I need a data warehouse for my Salesforce data
  2. I need to combine product usage data with Salesforce
  3. I need to see all my sales and marketing data in one place
  4. There must be a better way to do segmentation
  5. I want to connect Netsuite and Salesforce
  6. I need a full funnel view of accounts
  7. I need a single source of truth for how my business is doing

1. Data Warehouse for Salesforce Data

There are lots of reasons to consider a data warehouse for your Salesforce data, including:

  • cleaning up accounts and attaching leads to accounts
  • joining data from other systems
  • prepping data for data analytics 
  • visualizing data over time.

These are all jobs that you can do with a CDP with Salesforce integration.

2. Combine Product Usage Data with Salesforce Data

In SaaS businesses, product managers capture and analyze usage data in order to constantly evaluate what is working and what isn't.  It's a best practice to combine this product usage data with Salesforce data in order to identify correlations between customers' product usage and decisions to buy or churn. For example, if you offer a free trial or have a freemium model, then product usage data can help sales people focus on the customers who are most likely to buy.  For existing customers, product usage data can help identify opportunities for upsell and customers who might not renew.

If you are thinking about the best way to get this job done, then you should consider a CDP.

3. Integrate Sales and Marketing Activity Data

Account-based marketing (ABM) and account-based sales (ABS) are all about coordinated marketing and sales activities.  Alignment is the key.  You need to be able to see if your sales and marketing teams are focusing on the right target accounts and make adjustments quickly when sales and marketing activities are not aligned.  

If you are trying to figure out the best way to roll up all your sales and marketing activity data at the account level, then a CDP could be the way to go.

4. A Better Way to do Segmentation

The more data you have for segmentation, the better.  Segmentation analysis starts with an analysis of historical data to find the best performing segments.  You can optimize for any metric, such as bookings, annual recurring revenue and lifetime value.  Once you've identified the best performing segments, then you'll want to understand the attributes of the accounts in that segment.

Most segmentation starts with firmographic attributes, such as industry, geography and company size.  But it's better to dig deeper and examine attributes such as response to marketing campaigns, number of sales activities, product usage, number of support tickets and so on.  This data resides in multiple systems.  With a CDP, it is easy to pull this data together and keep it up to date.  That way, you can stay on top of your segmentation analysis and always be optimizing for revenue growth.

5. Connect Netsuite and Salesforce

Many companies struggle with the problem of keeping their financial system (such as Netsuite) in sync with their CRM (such as Salesforce).  With a CDP, you can pull data from both systems and join the data together at the account level.  This way, you can spend less time trying to keep your different systems synced and more time analyzing the data and generating insights to improve your business.

For example, if Netsuite is your single source of truth for all bookings information, you can use your CDP to pull your bookings data from Netsuite and join that bookings information to account data that you pull from Salesforce.  From there, you can analyze bookings or any other financial data by any account, segment or territory.  You can also analyze efficiency metrics such as bookings per sales activity and value per opportunity generated.

6. Full Funnel View of Accounts

Modern recurring revenue models are complex.  Instead of a simple funnel of leads that are converted to opportunities and deals, we now have a lifecycle that includes free trials, free versions, net new sales, expansion, cross-sell, upsell, and renewal.  The key is to repeat this over and over again and prevent churn.  That's the recipe for building customer lifetime value, which translates directly to enterprise value.  The more data that you have from all your systems, the better you will understand your accounts.  

Customer data platforms integrate data from all your systems and roll the data up to the account level.  With this 360 degree view, you can identify opportunities for net new, upsell, cross-sell and expansion.  You can also identify early indicators of churn.  CDPs put the power of this analysis into the hands of the sales, marketing, support, success and product teams who need to work together to grow accounts.   

7. How is my Business Doing?

CDPs make it possible to really understand what is working and what isn't so you can take your business to the next level.  For example, let's say you are looking to increase your marketing investment in order to accelerate new business growth.  The first thing you do is to set lead generation goals for your marketing team. Roll forward in time, and let's imaging that your marketing team hits the lead gen goals but you don't see any impact of your marketing investment on new business generation.

The question is why and what to do about it? With a CDP you can analyze which leads translate into deals and generate insights to identify the segments and accounts that marketing should focus on. From there, you can measure the effectiveness of the campaigns that target those segments and accounts. The same concept applies to your investments in sales resources, account managers and customer success teams. 

With a CDP, you can use data to target the best accounts for landing, expanding and renewing.  Then you can slice the data by accounts, by segments, by territories, by sales teams, by sales reps, by marketing campaigns and more in order to see what is working and what is not working.  From there, you can iterate and improve.  In short, CDPs knock down silos and give you understanding of your customers.  At the end of the day, your business is all about building a collection of happy and growing customers.

Read More

Rekener is a CDP for B2B.  Our customers use the Rekener Platform to get these jobs done and more. Here are some examples:

Cover art by Erik Laats


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Alex Laats

Alex is CEO and Founder of Rekener. Previously, he served as President and COO at ZeroTurnaround and as President of the Delta Division of BBN Technologies. At ZeroTurnaround, he grew high velocity inside sales by 6x in 3 years. At BBN, Alex co-founded RAMP and AVOKE, both recurring SaaS businesses based on BBN's world class speech recognition and natural language processing tech. Alex started his entrepreneurial career as founder and COO of NBX Corporation, which led the transformation of business telephone systems to Voice over IP. Alex’s companies have generated $500M in liquidity events and more than $1B in sales.

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