You’ve probably heard the trending term, Customer Data Platform (CDP). But are you clear on what it is and how it can help your B2B?

There are many misconceptions and unknowns about customer data platforms. What is known, however, is their growing importance, especially for B2B companies. CDP Institute research shows that 34% of business-to-business companies (and 19% of B2C companies) plan to deploy a CDP in 2020.

B2Bs are using CDPs for general business objectives and as a tool in larger business solutions such as account-based marketing.

If you are considering a CDP for your B2B, you probably have more questions than answers. To help answer your questions, here is an overview of what this type of platform does and how it benefits B2B businesses.

CDP: Who Manages It?

CDPs should not be confused with Customer Information Databases. Customer information databases aren’t new in the world of collecting customer data. However, until recently, they have lived under the dominion of IT projects because of technical complications and maintenance.

CDPs are a giant step in uses and management. Instead of complicated IT managed databases, a CDP is typically managed by a company’s marketing team.

So, this begs the question: Who should manage the CDP? Marketing? IT? Sales? If you have a revenue operations department, like many companies are starting to, this is the best choice for CDP management. If you don’t, your marketing operations department would be the next logical choice for this. A CDP’s purpose is to serve the needs and goals of marketing and sales, so it makes the most sense to have marketing and revenue teams drive its use.

CDP: How Does it Help?

A CDP distinguishes itself from central data bases by creating a unified view of your customer and prospective customers. It then generates segments and insights which are shared with other systems and users.

Beginning with integration, it brings all existing information about individuals or account and connects it to first-party data sources. First-party data sources in B2B are Customer relation management (CRM) software, marketing automation tools, email service providers, and B2B digital ecommerce platforms. It also integrates third-party data including, but not limited to, web visits, ad impressions, and firmographic and demographic data. This gives you an advantageous single-screen view of an account and all people associated with it.

Once integration is complete, identity matching follows. More complex than B2C, where identity matching happens at the individual level, B2C identity matching digs much deeper. The CDP unifies data around an account and matches leads to that account. If a customer has a global company email address, but you don’t know what division they are in or where they are located, the CDP sifts through all the available information and connects the dots that might otherwise remain disconnected

CDPs offer strong segmentation and analytics. In addition to traditional reporting analytics, CDPs use machine learning, a subset of artificial learning. Analytics, driven by machine learning, help identify which accounts are most likely to be churn risks, which are most likely to be in a buying cycle, and so on. This type of information is gold to your sales team.

CDP: Why Does it Matter?

Marketers know the problems of data spread across multiple systems.  Even a small B2B company has dozens of systems holding different pieces of the customer data puzzle. Assembling those pieces into a complete picture without a CDP is a complicated task that few B2B marketing departments have the resources to complete on their own.

Yet a complete picture is essential to understand customer and prospect needs and to deliver the level of experience they’ve come to expect. So, to answer the original question directly, the shift to CDP is driven by recognition that CDP solves a critical problem that isn’t being solved by anything else.

CDP: What Does it Do?

Some of the key applications include:

  • Profiling: Understand your existing customers, identify the characteristics of best customers, and estimate market size.
  • Analysis: Understand the path that customers follow on the road to purchase and find where non-buyers go astray.
  • Tracking: Understand the current state of individual customers and prospects to identify risks of lost business, opportunities for new business, and their position in the buying process.
  • Message selection: Include the best message and channel for each person at the current moment, data to personalize messages accurately, and orchestration of messages over time and across channels.
  • Account-based sales and marketing support: Use the CDP to aggregate information to the account level for a more accurate view of each account.
  • Measure Performance: Use the comprehensive CDP data to measure program, channel, and content effectiveness.
  • CDPs are important, even essential. Especially in the B2B world, it’s time to aggregate your data from all sources, create a unified view of your accounts ,and make the most of those insights.

What Doesn’t it Do?

Without a doubt, companies want all the benefits of a CDP, but priorities differ based on your business situation and existing resources. In some cases, the B2B CDP is a new product added to your existing marketing technology stack. In other situations, the CDP might replace an existing predictive modeling or analytical tool.

What the CDP doesn’t replace is your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool, marketing automation, Web Content Management System (CMS), or Data Management Platform (DMP) system. Instead, the CDP integrates with those systems, both to gather and share data to the profiles it creates. Some CDPs go further and use predictive analytics to suggest the best message to deliver in real time.

In conclusion

CDPs are important, even essential. In the B2B world, it’s time to aggregate your data from all sources, create a unified view of your accounts and make the most of those insights. If you are ready to add a CDP to your B2B, but not ready to dip into your cash flow to do it, contact Allied Financial Corporation about Accounts Receivable financing.