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3 ways to prevent applications from holding customer data hostage

Break down constraints placed on data by legacy “solutions” and integrate it across the company for maximum business value.

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“When you’re able to target a segment based on their unique interests through integrated data, you can increase your sales and marketing success rates tenfold.”

—Felix Serna, CEO at Empathy Logic

Failing to properly extract, cleanse, prepare, and move data from legacy solutions to current infrastructure can significantly compromise a system’s key features. Companies that take the time and make the effort to invest in a next-generation data integration solution often find it reaps big rewards.

It’s a challenge that Felix Serna, CEO at Empathy Logic, a customer data integration and marketing automation SaaS (software as a service) provider, tackles every day. “The fragmentation and the distributed nature of customer and prospect data is a major issue for sales and marketing leaders,” says Serna.

Serna points to a recent client that was struggling to integrate marketing automation and ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems. In response, Empathy Logic helped the company roll out an integrated system that enabled the retailer to use automation to target customers and prospects on a weekly basis. After integrating two distinct data sources, the company was able to more effectively communicate highly relevant offers to customers, which rapidly increased repeat business from its existing customer base. This doubled the company’s corporate web revenue in just two months.

“If you’re able to generate empathy with your customers and prospects by knowing exactly what they told you about themselves previously, and where they are in the purchasing cycle, a marketing team can significantly increase its chances of retaining and growing that customer,” says Serna.

Serna recommends three strategies to take full advantage of the information locked in your sales and marketing applications:

  1. Implement a master data management (MDM) system. The first step to integrating data is establishing processes, policies, and tools that define and manage master data. “It’s about understanding which sources are the systems of record for each function,” says Serna. “For example, the right MDM platform can help sales and marketing leaders determine which system should manage marketing, which should manage social media systems, and which should manage opportunity management systems.”
    By doing so, Serna says companies can create an integrated, authoritative, and trusted view of data for greater business insight.
  2. Establish an Integration Competency Center (ICC). According to Serna, an ICC can play a vital role in ensuring the fast and cost-effective deployment of data integration projects. That’s because an ICC connects subject matter experts in a variety of areas to the different parts of an integration project. This way, the right people are leading and supporting the project.
    While functional areas may differ, Serna says ICCs should always include leaders who “are very familiar with data science, ETL (extract, transform, and load) processes, and sales and marketing automation solutions.”
  3. Refine data segmentation. It’s not enough to simply integrate a CRM tool with an online marketing demand-generation system. Rather, Serna says it’s up to sales and marketing leaders to “refine the way they use data by slicing and segmenting it.” 
    Only by creating a holistic view of data can companies begin to understand which prospects and customers they need to be targeting and how to connect with them. After all, says Serna, “When you’re able to target a segment based on their unique interests through integrated data, you can increase your sales and marketing success rates tenfold. And that’s amazing.”

For more insight on this topic, read “5 ways big data is transforming marketing art into a science.”

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