Customer Data Integration

High-quality customer data is the key to building relationships and moving customers down the sales funnel. Integrating customer data into your work processes can help you improve its effect on the company’s bottom line.

Collecting the data, analyzing it, and creating a centralized vault of information can help you make well-thought-out decisions and gain valuable insight. When disorganized, data can have a negative effect on your company operations. Customer data integration (CDI) is the process that keeps high-quality information in order.  

What is Customer Data Integration?

Customer data integration involves identifying, collecting, and managing customer data across your company’s databases. The goal of CDI is to create a centralized place for high-quality data for further analytics, management, and implementation.

Once collected and centralized, this type of data can have a huge variety of uses. From retention and marketing to connections and decision-making, the quality of CDI is imperative to successful business operations.

If you can design an effective customer data integration strategy, it’s possible to improve business processes and enhance internal company data-sharing practices while boosting analytical capabilities.

Each company collects and analyzes customer data. However, only a few businesses take the right approach to designing an effective customer data management strategy. Poor data integration doesn’t just hurt the decision-making processes, it raises marketing costs, increases the number of mistakes, and leads to low retention rates.

By streamlining customer data integration, you are taking a major step toward improving your business and keeping customers happy.

Benefits of Customer Data Integration

A decision to integrate customer data for customer relationship management and other purposes can come with a variety of important benefits.

1. Discover New Opportunities

When you implement CDI and analyze customer needs, you can identify new opportunities for creating new products or adjusting your existing offers.

Customers’ needs change continuously. That’s why it’s imperative to integrate data regularly. Otherwise, you may be basing your decisions on outdated information.

Once you discover new business opportunities, you can continue using CDI for maintaining customers’ interest and demand.

2. Analyze Customer Behavior

By understanding how customers think, feel, and make decisions, you can revamp your entire sales and marketing strategy. From supporting buyers on their customer journey to coming up with new offers to keep existing clients in place – analytics is the key to success.

By integrating data, you are getting an opportunity to analyze customer behavior in many different ways. It becomes an important part of your data management strategy and helps you get a new look at your target audience.

3. Centralize Data

Effective data integration methods give you one access point to the customer data. This comes with numerous benefits, including:

  •     Data security
  •     Simplified access
  •     Transparency
  •     Quick analytics

With all your customer data in one central location, you can decide who has access to it. This has a tremendous effect on data security.

In the 21st century, you have to be careful about keeping your data out of other people’s hands. CDI helps you do it.

As you work with customer data from one centralized database, you can maintain compliance with data protection and privacy laws.

4. Improve Department Communications

Having a centralized data warehouse allows your sales and marketing department to use it more efficiently.

Without effective CDI marketing and sales departments often collect the same data independently from each other. This leads to useless and time-consuming work.

With proper customer data integration, multiple departments have one access point to the full data pool. This saves time, cuts costs, and improves cross-department communications.

5. Ensure Data Accuracy

Accurate data is the key to proper analytics and decision-making. When you collect data and analyze it using different customer data platforms and tools, you end up reducing the quality of the customer information you collect.

Even the smallest issue with data quality could lead to wrong decisions that eventually affect the company’s operation.

With the right data integration tools, you can maintain data accuracy and make sure that your entire company can base its financial and marketing decisions on high-quality information.

6. Gain Valuable Insight

When you collect and arrange all customer information in one data warehouse, you can gain valuable insight into the buyers’ behavior. Besides learning how to work with your audience and sell your products effectively, you can forecast market trends.

With the right data analytics tools in your hands, you can figure out how your customers are likely to act in the future. This in turn, allows you to stay ahead of the competition.

7. Enjoy Direct Access

When decision makers request data, they need it immediately. Trying to collect and centralize data quickly usually leads to mistakes or insufficient insight. A central location for your customer data allows decision-makers across different business departments to have direct access to the information they need, when they need it.

Overall, customer data integration allows you to do more with fewer time and money resources. Integration is part of master data management, which is integral to successful and timely decision making.

Customer Data Integration: 5 Best Practices

If you’ve decided to take full advantage of customer data integration, these practices can help you stay on top of your game.

1. Identify Data Sources

Before you begin with data consolidation, you need to identify key data sources. Your departments probably already have multiple sources they usually use.  Figure out which sources are the best for your customer data integration practices.

The sources you choose should be suitable for your integration method. Sales and marketing departments can work together to put the main data sources to use.

2. Review CDI Goals

What is the reason for choosing a CDI method for your company? Many departments only focus on short-term goals. While highly effective for achieving short-term goals, CDI is great for long-term business objectives as well.

Take the time to figure out what you need CDI for today and in the future. It can help you choose the right data integration tool, identify data collection methods, and set a specific budget range.

Keep in mind that CDI is excellent for both long and short-term goals.

3. Figure Out a Timeline

Implementing CDI methods isn’t always easy, especially when different departments already have specific ways of collecting, handling, and analyzing data. You need to set an implementation timeline that can help you start managing customer data in the most efficient way possible.

It’s important to communicate the urgency and benefits of CDI to your department heads. With their help, implementation can go smoothly.

The timeline of CDI implementation may depend on the type of data integration tool you use. If you need to work with a high learning curve, it could turn out to be a time consuming process.

4. Pay Attention to Security

Security is vital to handling all types of data. When you proceed with customer data integration, you need to maintain data safety. Your IT department should be fully involved in the process and provide all the tools necessary to make sure it proceeds safely.

Data leaks and breaches during CDI implementation could lead to serious consequences and affect your company’s budget and reputation while hurting customer experience.

5. Choose the Right Customer Data Platform

From manual data entry to automatic CRM data management, the quality of data collection depends on the platform you work with. You can collect data from websites, social media, paid ad analytics, and much more.

However, collecting data is just the first step toward CDI. You need a data silo to store it. A customer data platform is a program that organizes and stores your customer data. It’s an important CDI tool that can help simplify the implementation process.

To choose a customer data platform, you need to evaluate the goals you want to accomplish with this tool and consider your budget.

The Takeaway

Customer data integration is an important part of your data management strategy. Without a centralized place for valuable data, it can be problematic to make effective decisions.

While your company may already have certain tactics for collecting, analyzing, and managing data, you need to take a holistic approach. By choosing the right tools and encouraging cross-department collaboration, it’s possible to design a successful CDI strategy quickly.

Determine what goals you want to accomplish with CDI and start taking advantage of this effective tactic as soon as you can.

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