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The differences between CPD and CRM - What you need to know

September 18, 2023

CRM tools have become essential in the business world. They are all used for the same purpose: to improve customer relations. The key to performance today lies in data, in order to improve the customer experience and build audience loyalty.

CDP platforms are less well known because they are more recent. They are a means of deepening the data collected. But is CDP a different tool, or does it complement CRM software? 

Focus on CRM 

Definition and use of a CRM

A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a tool that initially centralises and unifies customer databases. This software helps a company to obtain an overall view of the customer journey, thanks to the various data collected. 

But today, a CRM is no longer simply a database centralisation tool. It is now a genuine customer relationship management tool. This is why a CRM provides emailing and marketing automation functions. They can also assign loyalty scores to customers based on the interactions recorded. 

There are two main types of CRM software: 

  • Sales CRM: used to manage relations with the company's various prospects and customers (quotes, orders, invoices, appointments, etc.).
  • Marketing CRM: used to manage marketing campaigns. 

To carry out these actions, the CRM's fuel is data. The more and the better the data, the more effective the activation systems implemented will be. 

Limits of CRM 

A CRM is a tool that traces the purchasing path of prospects and customers. However, we are now seeing a proliferation of channels through which customers interact with a company: newsletters, websites, social networks, offline campaigns and so on.

This means that CRM is limited to collecting information only from the moment when the customer has taken an action with the company by registering his identifiers. The purchasing path taken by prospects prior to this action is therefore unknown. Today, a CRM is just one of the many communication channels used by your customers (email, telephone).

What is a CDP? 

A CDP (Customer Data Platform) is a platform designed to unify customer data collected across all channels. It is mainly used by a company's marketing teams, since its aim is to improve consumer knowledge and experience.

CDP not only collects data, but also processes it and delivers it to marketing tools. The platform can normalise, duplicate and cleanse data, as well as process information through segmentation and scoring. 

What are the differences between CRM and CDP?

CRM and CDP are two very different tools. Let's have a closer look at the differences: 

  • Purpose. A CRM has a customer relationship management role, whereas a CDP manages customer data. The CDP can process data and segment it according to its characteristics, but it cannot, like a CRM, activate marketing or sales campaigns. 
  • The type of data. The role of a CRM is to process "cold" data such as a customer's name, address, email and transactions. A CDP collects behavioural data (browsing, purchasing patterns, etc.). It is important to note that, unlike CRM, a CDP platform is active in real or near-real time. 
  • The identification level. A CRM collects data from the moment the customer performs an identification action. A CDP uses tracking to collect information before the customer is identified through different channels. 

Complementary tools? 

Despite their major differences, CRM and CDP can complement each other and interact with each other to provide an optimal solution for a company. How can the combination of these two tools be effective? 

Optimise your acquisition campaigns 

The acquisition cost (i.e. the amount spent to acquire a new customer) is very expensive for a company. The CDP platform can automatically exclude specific audiences. This means that an audience with profiles that are highly intent on buying can be excluded from a marketing campaign that is costly for the company.

Instead, customers who are ready to buy can be contacted via traditional CRM. Only an email message, activated by the CRM software, can be considered. The savings made will enable the company to set up marketing campaigns that are optimal because they are more precise.

Communicate with the customers in your CRM database via different channels 

The customers in your CRM database may be inactive when you try to interact with them. However, even if these customers are no longer responding to your email or telephone solicitations via your CRM software, it may be because they are now using other channels.

In this case, a CDP platform makes it possible to reach and build relationships with the customers in your CRM database outside the CRM channel. CDP is then an effective tool for creating acquisition marketing campaigns to re-engage inactive customers in your CRM database.

For a company that maintains a relationship with its customers via email and telephone, the CDP is also useful. The CDP, which pinpoints the customer's buying path thanks to the multitude of channels used, makes it possible to personalise interactions with customers even further. This is why CDP complements the CRM customer journey data. It is then possible to send promotions and newsletters tailored to different customer profiles via the CRM.

Feeding the CRM 

The CDP, which is primarily a means of unifying the different data collected on the various channels, feeds the CRM in a complementary way. For example, customers who visit your website generally forget to identify themselves when they browse it. This is why the CRM does not collect data on their web browsing, as the person is not identified

So, thanks to a CDP platform, it is possible to identify a customer who is not connected to their customer area. Web browsing data can be collected and subsequently used by the CRM.

Pimster's expertise

In conclusion, CRM and CDP are complementary tools for improving a company's customer experience and retention. Optimally combined, they provide a 360° view of the customer. Today, they are key tools that enable companies to improve their knowledge of their customers, and so put in place effective marketing and sales campaigns.  

Today, we are seeing a new trend being implemented in companies: dividing the customer database from the tools for activating this database. Tools that collect, enrich and manage data represent a dynamic market. You need to be up-to-date and identify the tools that meet your company's needs. 

To find out more about this subject with us, request a demo.