Single Source of Truth

Modern notions of the “single source of truth” concept originated in the information system design world. The idea was that if all relevant data could be consolidated in (and accessed and edited from) a single repository, it would break down data silos and eliminate errors that are introduced when multiple versions of a dataset are maintained and edited in separate locations.

As consumers, we’ve all seen examples of what happens when business units within a single enterprise or partner organizations that jointly serve customers maintain data on different systems. When you reach out for support, you may find that the agent doesn’t have information on the latest product you’ve purchased or that your contact information was updated by one unit but not by another.

That’s frustrating, and in business, much of the conversation around improving the customer experience addresses ways to get a complete view of the customer — otherwise known as a single source of truth. But a single source of truth is more powerful than its individual applications might suggest. It opens up whole new ways of doing business and solving problems.

At the 2020 Dreamforce conference, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff rolled out Customer 360 Truth, announcing that the company had built a single source of truth into its platform. He called achieving a single source of truth a “fourth stage of computing,” citing three previous waves, including systems for records, engagement and intelligence like AI.

A Single Source of Truth for Marketing and Sales

To see the potential of a single source of truth on a macro scale, just drill down into how operating from a common dataset helps integrate two business units inside a single company. Whatever the industry, marketing and sales departments that don’t share a single source of data truth tend to be misaligned because they aren’t operating from the same set of facts.

That was a founding principle for Full Circle Insights — the idea that marketing and sales teams would get along better and work more collaboratively and effectively together if they operated from a single source of data truth. That’s why the company was built from the ground up on the principle that marketing data should reside in the CRM.

We’ve seen what a difference it can make when sales and marketing share a single source of truth. At B2B companies, CRM data is widely regarded as the most credible revenue record, so when marketing teams integrate their data into the CRM, it improves perceptions of marketing’s reports, not only with sales colleagues but in the C-suite too. With reports generated in the de facto revenue reporting system, marketing leaders can demonstrate their department’s contribution to the value creation chain.

A single source of data truth is also essential for improving marketing efficiency. When marketing teams create leads and monitor their progress through the funnel inside the platform the sales team also uses, marketing can identify issues at critical points, such as MQL-to-SAL conversions, and address any problems to expedite lead progress through the funnel.

Get Everyone on the Same Page

In addition to greater process efficiency, a single source of data truth shared by marketing and sales also allows the marketing team to invest resources more wisely. With attribution capabilities inside the CRM, marketing can link revenue to campaigns and analyze which types of marketing outreach produce the most ROI and reallocate budget dollars as appropriate.

We’ve also seen firsthand that getting everyone on the same page around a single source of data truth has benefits beyond greater process and investment efficiency; it’s a framework for better alignment and deeper collaboration. We’ve seen marketing teams and their sales counterparts not only create consensus on who’s responsible for what but develop more collaborative relationships across the board that help drive company success. And that’s a huge deal.

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