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March 10, 2011

The Key Data Integration Strategies for Successful CRM

Filed under: Data Integration — Katherine Vasilega @ 6:39 am

One of the great values data integration provides is a possibility to gain a deeper insight into one’s customers. It is not surprising that data integration with CRM (customer relations management) systems is one of the main directions in the industry development. As more companies choose managing customers electronically, it is quite useful to apply the most effective data integration strategies to pay-off for CRM investments.

The recent survey by the data integration experts and authors—Christopher Barko, Ashfaaq Moosa, and Hamid Nemati, —explores the significant role of data integration in electronic customer relationship management (e-CRM) analytics. They reviewed 115 organizations including both B2B and B2C companies and sorted out four data integration initiatives that provide for better CRM:

    1. Integrating more data sources. The research shows that the total value of CRM project increases when you integrate more data sources. As sales people are using more channels than ever before to reach prospects and customers, no wonder that data integrated from all these channels is more efficient, than when stored in the isolated silos.

    2. Integrating offline data with online data gives a better picture of customer’s buying habits. 62 percent of respondents said they integrated these data sources, while 30 percent did not. Not surprisingly, those who integrated the online and offline data experienced greater value from their e-CRM projects.

    3. Integrating external data (e.g., from social media sites) into the central repository. 74 percent integrated external data in some form, while 26 percent did not. The companies that practice external data integration in their e-CRM projects enjoy significantly more benefits.

    4. Using a centralized data warehouse or a CRM-specific data repository does provide a deeper customer insight. Those who used a decentralized data repository (legacy databases, operational data stores) experienced significantly less benefits than those who centralized their data storage.

As the number of marketing channels used to communicate with customers continues to multiply, so does the number of places used to store the data. The research reveals that the most efficient data integration strategies include integrating different kinds of data from multiple channels and keeping it in the central repository. These data integration best practices help ensure marketing efforts have a positive effect on sales.

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