Zak Pines | August 24, 2016

When Integrating Your Cloud Systems, Words Matter

This infographic shows just how messy a company’s data can become when dispersed across multiple cloud systems.  Here we've looked at the key underlying data objects of these systems -- Owner, Contact, Company, Opportunity, Activity, Ticket & Campaign. Cloud-Systems-Words-Matter-Infographic-Bedrock-Data.png

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What’s an Opportunity in Salesforce or NetSuite, is a Deal in HubSpot or Pipedrive, and is a Potential in Zoho or VTiger. To each his own, right?

And terminology doesn’t even get into all the meta data a level below this, where some of the real misalignment of data has traditionally created unnecessary complexity for organizations.

Our top three takeaways from compiling this infographic were:

Takeaway #1 - While Marketing Automation and CRM are the backbone, there are many, many specialized systems populating and reporting data across the customer lifeycle

The infographic includes a number of system categories that are part of demand generation, opportunity development and the ongoing customer relationship process -- including list sources, webinars, events, calling platforms, support, eCommerce and payments/subscriptions.

If you inventory the number of systems that are touched as a person or company moves from prospect through to customer and then to becoming a successfully enabled customer or advocate, there are five+ systems even for small to midsize businesses, and dozens and dozens for larger enterprises.

Takeaway #2 – The Customer Journey isn’t linear across these systems

As vendors it would make our lives easier if the customer journey was linear across these systems, but the reality is customers bounce around during their journey. Let’s consider a common path that might take place:

  • Prospect downloads content (Marketing Automation)
  • Prospect called by BDR, gather info (CRM)
  • Prospect attends webinar (Webinar)
  • Prospect downloads more content (Marketing Automation)
  • BDR sends info (CRM)
  • BDR has follow up conversation (CRM)
  • Lots and lots more interactions by marketing and sales! (both Marketing Automation & CRM)
  • Prospect becomes customer (CRM)
  • Prospect engaged by customer support (Support)
  • Customer marketing (Marketing Automation)
  • Customer attends Event (Event systems)
  • Sales rep engages in upsell (CRM)

There is a bounce-around across systems which needs to be considered when sizing up where data lives in your organization for a single view of the customer.

And because of this bounce-around -- aligning this data isn't about moving data from System A to System B, it's about connecting and synchronizing data across these systems.

Takeaway #3 – Don't get hung up on what vendors call these key business terms, get consistency in what you call them

Most important here is that companies land on their own definitions, so that there is common terminology within and between departments. It’s okay that different software vendors use different definitions, but you as a business need common terms.

Aligned teams will use a common lexicon – for Contacts, Opportunities, Accounts, Campaigns, etc. In the Bedrock Data line (top black line of the infographic) you can see what our business uses as both our core terms for connecting these systems as well as within the day-to-day terminology of our business.

If we missed any key systems or object names in these ecosystems, let us know in the comments and we’ll continue to evolve this infographic across the customer lifecycle. 

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