Democratize Data Analytics with a Customer Data Platform for B2B
The Customer Data Platform (CDP) is the operating system for customer-centric businesses. But the notion of using data to be more customer-centric is not new. Business Intelligence (BI) tools have been used to generate sales and marketing insights for more than two decades. But BI has not become a universal operating system for B2B because BI depends on centralized IT and data analysis teams with hard-to-find and expensive technical skills.
So, what makes CDPs so transformational for B2B? It boils down to two things. The first is the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to automate extraction, transformation and loading (ETL) of customer data from multiple sources. The second is the democratization of data analytics. This means that line of business managers can directly generate insights and put those insights into action. With CDPs, IT is an enabler, not a gate keeper. And data analysis can scale because it is distributed, not centralized.
In this post, we'll explore three examples of how CDPs are used by line of business managers to generate insights and drive growth.
- Sales leaders from Chief Revenue Officers to Team Leads use sales rep scorecards to see what is working at the team and rep level and analyze how to improve results.
- Chief Marketing Officers can use a full funnel view of data to see which campaigns are generating results in terms of leads that convert into bookings.
- Sales, marketing and customer success teams can use account based analytics to align resources to focus on the right accounts for net new, expansion and renewal.
Sales leaders need be able to see metrics at the team and rep level in order to know what's working and motivate teams to achieve better results. Before CDPs, there were three options:
- Maximize reports and dashboards in the customer relationship management (CRM) system. Salesforce reports can be used to measure almost any metrics, but they don't roll up those metrics at the sales rep or sales team level.
- Create sales rep scorecards using spreadsheets. This is a great way to see metrics at the rep or team level, but it doesn't scale. Spreadsheets are time consuming and don't update easily.
- Use BI tools. BI tools can get the job done but they require extensive resources from IT and data analysis teams. If resources are limited, sales rep scorecards can end up on the bottom of the list for a weary IT team, which means that sales managers are left to use big spreadsheets or CRM reports.
CDPs turn sales rep scorecards into analytical applications that can be used directly by sales managers. Sales managers can create views with metrics that are customized for reps at all levels, from enterprise account managers to business development reps. The data is updated automatically so managers can stay on top of what is working and what isn't. Instead of spending time creating and updating spreadsheets or piecing together different reports in the CRM, sales managers have the visibility they need and can spend their time coaching and closing.
Rekener offers automated Sales Rep Scorecards for the Salesforce and HubSpot CRMs. Here's an example that shows sales team performance at the rep level.
Generating awareness and leads is no longer enough for modern marketing leaders. Leads matter only if they convert into deals that maximize company goals. As a result, marketing leaders need three things.
- Data from marketing automation systems joined to sales data from the CRM.
- Metrics to make the entire funnel visible.
- The ability to slice the data by marketing campaign or even at the lead level.
Historically, there was no good way for marketing managers to do this analysis without the help of IT and data analysts and an expensive BI set up. CDPs put the power of data into the hands of marketing managers. Data from multiple systems can be joined and metrics can be created to shine a light on the entire funnel from lead generation to booking. Slicing the data by campaign reveals what is working to generate bookings. It also reveals where things break down.
The following image illustrates how Rekener's CDP can be used for marketing campaign analytics that expose which campaigns are working and where the breakdowns are happening.
Account Based Analytics
Account Based Marketing (ABM) and Account Based Sales Development (ABSD) campaigns are all about aligning sales and marketing teams to focus on the best accounts. These campaigns can be used to optimize resources for net new, account expansion or churn reduction. Account-based analytics require three things.
- Roll up accounts to a create a master account.
- Create a 360 degree view of accounts with data from the marketing automation system, CRM, support system and product usage database.
- View historical data over time to uncover segments that perform best in terms of net new and expansion and identify accounts that show early indicators of churn.
Customer Data Platforms make it possible to do analysis at the account level with data from multiple systems, even if data is not perfect. BI tools can't do the job because they don't create a master account. Without a master account, it's not clear how to join data from different systems. For example, Company A may have multiple accounts with the name Citigroup in their database. Some may be duplicates and many will be subsidiaries or affiliates of Citigroup that have been set up as different accounts in the CRM.
CDPs create a master account and join data from multiple systems at the account level. Leads are automatically matched to accounts at this level. This is all automated so sales, marketing and customer success teams can do the analysis and generate targets on their own. CDPs also find targets and push them back to sales, marketing and success teams. BI tools simply don't drive action this way.
An important element of ABM and ABSD campaigns is account scoring. Here is an illustration of how Rekener's CDP can be used to score accounts based on multiple attributes and then create an aggregate score for each account. In this example, net new targets can be found by looking for accounts that are not customers yet. These targets can be used for coordinated sales and marketing campaigns. Read more about Rekener's ABM applications.
- To get a feel for the range of things that B2B teams can do with a CDP, read "7 Jobs for Customer Data Platforms in B2B".
- For a good background on why B2B companies need a CDP, read "FANGs are Taking a Bite Out of B2B. Why You Need a Customer Data Platform".
- For a dive into the elements that make up a Customer Data Platform, read "4 Elements of a Customer Data Platform for B2B".
Cover art by Erik Laats.
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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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