Are there differences between a CRM and a CDP?

Both CRM and CDP technologies are valuable tools, but for different purposes. While CRMs focus on managing customer interactions, CDPs focus on collecting and understanding customer behavior data. The choice depends on the specific needs of each company and sales and service oriented roles can benefit more from a CRM, while customer management strategy oriented roles can take better advantage of a CDP. Ultimately, it's important to assess what kind of information is needed and how it will be used to make more informed business decisions and deliver personalized customer experiences.

Although both technologies help provide a more efficient customer experience, they are not the same; however, their scopes are easily confused

A very common confusion among sales and marketing teams that need to administer and manage data about their customers revolves around two technologies: customer relationship management (CRM) systems and data platforms. of Customers (CDP).

With analytics making its way against intuition when making decisions (the 21% of Spanish managers it states that fosters data analysis and understanding across the enterprise) both technologies are often used in tandem to deliver a consistent and personalized data-driven customer experience; however, they serve different purposes: while CRMs help manage customer relationships, CDPs help manage customer data.

While both collect data and CDP integrates most CRM features (more advanced CDPs include 100% of CRM functionality), the main difference between them is that CRMs organize and manage interactions. customer-facing, while CDPs collect data on customer behavior with the product or service in question.

For example: the data obtained from the CRM gives the name of a client, the history of interactions with the sales team, among others. For its part, CDP data indicates each specific step that a customer has taken since they interacted with the company, from the channel in which they initiated the link to how they behave in relation to the product, etc.

CRMs are primarily designed for sales and service oriented roles. By having data regarding their interaction with the company, CRMs make it easier, faster and easier to relate to those audiences. The ultimate goal of a CRM is to help sales teams secure new business and retain existing ones by facilitating management.

CDPs are for roles that are customer management strategy oriented, such as marketing, operations, and leadership. The goal of a CDP is to manage and understand all customer data to make higher-level business decisions. CDPs collect data from every touch point, from ads to website traffic, transaction points, and user behavior. This data is then used to produce a “single view” of the customer, an indispensable feature for omnichannel strategies. Marketing can use this view to understand which tactics are effective, Operations can gain insight into how users are interacting with the product and prioritize new features over others, and leaders can understand the overall cost of acquisition and lifetime value of each customer. .

Lastly, while CRM data is typically collected mostly or primarily manually, CDP data is collected automatically using integrations from mobile devices, computers, the web, and other touch points. 

Ultimately, using a CRM is useful if you want to manage customer relationships in a more efficient and personalized way, however, they cannot provide a single, unified view of everything you know about each customer. CDPs are most useful if you want to better understand who your customers are and how they interact with your business. This provides a broader view, which can be applied in many different ways from data, from marketing to products to larger business decisions.

Likewise, before defining the acquisition of a CRM or a CDP, I must ask myself: How am I managing my company's data?

Julio Cesar Blanco – August 16, 2022

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