Back in the old days, disconnected data repositories were called “islands of information.” (I always liked that visual.) Today, unconnected datasets are more likely to be described as “data silos,” but the essential problem is still the same: how to connect information to get a comprehensive view of a process, whether it be goods moving through a global supply chain or a digital customer journey that leads to a sale.
For marketers, the data silo problem has been exacerbated by the pandemic-driven shift to digital outreach. Modern marketers love data, and digital marketing is a great framework to produce comprehensive information that can be analyzed to yield insights on the customer journey that leads to a sale. Data is indispensable for marketers who are looking for ways to operate more efficiently and precisely demonstrate their contribution to company revenue.
That said, the sheer volume of data generated via digital channels can be overwhelming. Millions of clicks can be hard to organize, and the customer journey may be complex, incorporating outreach from platforms used by separate teams. According to a Deloitte CMO survey [PDF], marketers are more focused on the funnel now. But they need a way to pull all the relevant data together to manage it effectively. Architectural choices are fundamental in developing a solution.
Separate Activities Require Alignment
We’ve discussed why it’s so important for marketing and sales to be on the same page, and why a single source of truth about data is necessary to align the two teams. When sales and marketing are aligned around a single source of truth, marketing can operate more efficiently, analyzing data to monitor lead volume, velocity and conversation rates inside the funnel and accurately attributing revenue to campaigns. This in turn allows marketers to invest in future campaigns more efficiently.
A close relationship between sales and marketing also enables the two teams to resolve any bottlenecks and improve processes to achieve greater efficiency in that way too. But to connect clicks and other digital metrics to revenue and get a clear look at the customer journey, the marketing team has to work with every other group that touches customers before the sale.
At some B2B companies, marketing works separately from the demand gen team. Demand gen may be focused on outreach like events and email marketing, so their workstreams and tools could be separate from the martech solutions the marketing team uses. But it’s critically important that everyone’s data is connected to results. All data needs to be combined for an integrated campaign approach.
Architectural Choices Are Consequential
CMOs make different architectural choices when designing a single source of data truth. Some build and maintain a custom database to house all their information, which can be functional but also wildly expensive, both in initial outlay and maintenance. But other B2B marketing leaders choose the revenue system of record that already exists within their company: the CRM.
They make that architectural choice for several reasons, including the fact that the CRM is already a familiar and trusted data repository that’s used by multiple business units. The CRM is a less expensive option because, unlike a homegrown database, the company doesn’t have to maintain the apps, and marketers can leverage existing APIs instead of building connections from scratch.
Architectural choices are consequential, and using an existing infrastructure can simplify workflows and reporting, integrate data from multiple sources — and save a ton of money. So, marketers who are looking for ways to manage data should consider all options carefully. By choosing the right architecture, they can simplify processes and find a more cost-effective strategy to connect clicks to sales.