Customer Data Integration: What It is and Best Practices for Implementing It

It’s no secret that personalizing your customer experience benefits your business greatly.

Existing research only makes this more obvious: According to a recent study by Salesforce, 99% of marketers say that personalization helps them advance customer relationships; while another study by Salesforce found that customers are 2x more likely to find personalized offers important. 

So how can you help your marketers, sales reps, customer success managers, and other teams use personalization to drive business results? By putting customer data integration into practice. 

This page covers what the term means, why it’s critical, and some key tips for setting it up.

Related: How an iPaaS can help you integrate customer data

What is Customer Data Integration?

Customer data integration, or CDI, involves connecting all of your customer information*, cleaning it, standardizing it, and then putting it into a data warehouse (e.g. Snowflake). From there, the data can move to the platforms your client-facing teams use, like Salesforce, Marketo, and Zendesk

*Customer information includes all of the client’s activities with your organization, as well as their demographic-type data. 

This provides each of your teams with an accurate, consistent, and complete view of your customers within the platforms they use already. But in case you need any more convincing, let’s further explore the reasons why you should integrate customer data.

Benefits of Integrating Customer Data 

Here are 5 benefits worth highlighting:

1. It improves customer retention

As you reflect on the various stages of the customer journey, you’ll find that personalization can consistently enhance the customer experience.

When onboarding a customer, personalization helps them get up-to-speed with your product or service faster; when managing a customer day-to-day, personalization can help you resolve their issues more effectively and provide them with valuable guidance proactively; and when negotiating their renewal, personalization can help you identify and present an offer that’s more likely to get accepted. 

Taken together, it’s clear that personalization can help you deliver experiences that improve your customer’s likelihood of staying.

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2. It allows you to identify up-sell and cross-sell opportunities

With more comprehensive and timely customer data available to your team, your colleagues can better identify customers who may be interested in spending more with your organization. 

For instance, if you’ve just launched a new product and a customer has previously asked your support team about features that that new product has, your sales reps can identify that customer (their conversation with support appears in your CRM) and reach out to them quickly.

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3. It enables marketers to execute higher-performing campaigns

By giving your marketing team more customer data to work with, they can further segment your customer base, and build out even more targeted campaigns that drive better results. For example, your marketers can segment clients by factors like job title, company size, and level of product usage. From there, they can work on messaging that’s likely to resonate with each segment. 

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4. It helps your team forecast with greater accuracy

Data provides an unparalleled lens in predicting customer behavior. When you improve the quality and quantity of customer data and make it more accessible to leaders across customer-facing teams, their ability to forecast retention, upsell, cross-sell etc. becomes all the more easy. This, in turn, allows these leaders to plan proactively, whether it’s internally (e.g. resourcing) or externally (customer-related).

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5. It saves your employees time

Now that your employees can access the data they need in the platforms they’re comfortable using, they can avoid moving between apps to find information. This saves each employee time and it allows them to focus more, instead, on activities that provide value to your organization and the customer.

Related: 3 reasons why API integration is valuable

Customer Data Integration Best Practices

Excited to build out your data integration process? Before getting started, here are some points to consider:

  • Account for a wide range of customer activity: Generally speaking, the more types of customer data you can provide, the better off your teams will be. Activities like previous phone conversations, events attended, subscription level, job title, etc. aren’t necessarily requirements for implementing customer data integration. But they can be used in various ways by different teams, and to the benefit of both colleagues and clients. 
  • Define the places you want the data to move to: Once the data is cleansed, standardized, and moved to the data warehouse, where should it go? Defining the specific teams that need the data, and the applications they need it in is essential before you officially kick start the process.
  • Adopt a single platform that can perform customer data integration: This means that it needs to be able to: 

1. Act as an extract, transform, load (ETL) tool (it needs to transform the data and load it into the data warehouse). 

2. Build a set of workflow automations that automatically move the data from the warehouse to the appropriate applications. 

Use Workato as Your Customer Data Integration Tool

Workato, the leading enterprise automation platform, can, among other things, operate as an ETL tool AND allow you to build end-to-end workflow automations. 

This versatility allows it to not only operate as a CDI tool, but also transform critical customer and prospect-related workflows, like quote to cash and intelligent prospecting.

Ready to use Workato as your customer data integration tool? Looking to explore other ways that it can transform your operations? You can connect with one of our automation experts to get either question addressed!

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