Why Many B2B Marketers Struggle With CRM Integrations

Marketers experience all kinds of data-driven pains. According to a new study, many business-to-business marketers (B2B) are having issues with leveraging their customer relationship data.

In a survey of 250 US B2B sales and marketing professionals conducted by Dun & Bradstreet, about four in 10 respondents said they are novices or beginners when it comes to integrating data into their customer relationship management (CRM) systems. Just 13% of respondents said they had an advanced ability to integrate data into CRM systems.

CRM has long been a go-to sales and marketing tool for many B2B companies. But many companies haven’t structured themselves in a way that makes data ingestion efficient, according to Josh Mueller, global head of marketing at Dun & Bradstreet.

“It’s difficult to integrate data into any system unless you have a process in place to standardize that data and share it across systems in an organized way,” Mueller said. “If you just feed raw data into a system like a CRM without a process to cleanse, structure and connect that data, it’s very difficult to use the data to make any decisions. In fact, it may make the task more difficult because you can get conflicting data.”

Identifying and fixing duplicate records is often a time-intensive process. And many data integrations rely on manual imports of spreadsheets, which is a process prone to error, according to Adam Hecht, director of product management at CRM firm Boostr.

Another issue that makes it difficult for organizations to get the most out of their CRM data is that different departments in the organization may use different platforms to house this data.

“In order to truly maximize how a CRM is used, it has to be connected to other systems across the company so businesses are getting a complete picture of the customer,” Mueller said.

To ease these kinds of problems, marketers are trying to centralize their data.

In a February 2018 study by Winterberry Group, Data & Marketing Association and the Interactive Advertising Bureau of 113 North American marketers, publishers and tech developers, about half of respondents said that centralizing ownership of data would be one of the most important changes their organization could make to get value out of their data.