5 min read


Sarah Wheeler
Sarah Wheeler
Updated on
March 9, 2023

For growing brands, managing customer data is not a question of CDP vs CRM, but understanding the distinctions and complimentary benefits. Customer data platform (CDP) and Customer relationship management (CRM) systems are two major software systems that collect and manage customer data. Any customer-facing company should already have a CRM. It’s a mature software category that is clearly named and well understood. Customer data platforms are newer. And while they’ve been adopted pretty quickly, there is still confusion on many levels about what they do and how it affects your overall customer data strategy.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

A customer relationship management system (CRM) stores information about customers who have transacted or communicated with the company.

The primary owners of the CRM in a company are usually sales and marketing teams and customer support managers.

The software allows you to focus on your business relationship with specific customers. It is used to track transactions, monitor the sales pipeline, keep in touch with conversations, and make notes about customer feedback for future reference.

Unlike popular belief, a CRM is more than just a sales tool: it stores partnerships, suppliers, service providers, and customer data. It is a tool that can be utilized by all company divisions, from human resources management to accounting.

Parts of a CRM

Customer Data Platform (CDP)

A customer data platform (CDP) doesn’t focus on existing customers only. It brings in vast amounts of online and offline data from many sources, then matches and merges this information into a single customer view.

The owners and users of a CDP are the internal performance marketing team and their agency partners.

The software aims to empower marketing and advertising teams to use customer journeys and lookalike audiences to improve performance and drive results.

Businesses get to know plenty of their customers, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The real value of a CDP is making data actionable and reach the right audiences at the right time, with the right message, across multiple channels.

how cdp works

CDP vs. CRM: Is one better than the other?

When you need to strengthen relationships with existing customers, you can rely on your CRM software. However, the data collected by a CRM is based on previous lead and customer interactions recorded by the sales/marketing team. This can make it difficult for companies to understand the true omnichannel relationship with their customers.

On the other hand, CDPs collect data from multiple sources across the customer journey: a website visit or a marketing email engagement for a new product. The main goal of this software is to manage and unify unstructured real-time data and further analyze it to make business decisions.

In reality, you need both a CDP and a CRM. While a CRM is a valuable database, you need more than contact information about customers. You'll likely want their purchase behavior, previous activities, and future event predictions so you can optimize an ideal experience for them. You'll need tools like RFM segmentation, predictive modeling, and more to be able to understand your current customers and acquire new ones.

The combination of the CDP architecture and CRM can create an incredible customer experience and achieve higher customer satisfaction. Use them simultaneously for integrated customer analysis, engagement, and follow-up.

How Kevel Audience works with your CRM

Kevel Audience collects customer data from all relevant sources, like your CRM, as well as your website, e-commerce platform, and more to create omnichannel customer profiles. It then uses machine learning and RFM modeling to automatically segment both new and returning customers into audiences optimized for every stage of the funnel. And it provides segmentation capability for customized audiences.

Then, your audiences are made available for campaign delivery with built-in integrations to significant ad platforms, email systems, and even back to your CRM.

Audience helps you manage customer relationships based on real-time data we collect from your different channels, CRM, ecommerce website, app, etc. And it helps you reach new customers by turning your customer data into a wellspring of automatic customer insights. Our solution serves as a central platform for data unification, audience segmentation, predictive modeling, and audience activation.

The simplest way to describe the relationship between Audience and your CRM is this: Audience expands the scope of your first-party customer data, and allows you to implement a first-party audience strategy that impacts every funnel stage, including prospecting, instead of focusing on retention and customer service. To learn more about how to get started integrating your CRM data with a CDP, contact us today.

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