Convincing upper management to approve budget to acquire and deploy MarTech infrastructure like a customer data platform (CDP) is one thing. But, making sure you have the right people supporting your CDP implementation project internally and externally is key to delivering business value from the investment. It’s not just about staffing and skills, either. How different teams and stakeholders work together on customer data management has a significant impact on the success of your CDP implementation and integration programs.
What are Your Top CDP Needs?
CDPs are designed to perform a few key tasks. Having the right people aligned internally to ensure all these tasks work in tandem is critical for success.
The modern customer journey is much different than the top-down funnel days. It takes place across dozens of touch points, and touches your entire technology stack. With an enterprise-grade CDP, a business can ingest data from multiple online and offline sources, and make it available to other apps through integrations – either pre-built or with an API.
Unifying data, however, can sometimes come with quality or cleanliness challenges. Sometimes, not all the data you need is in the same format, or usable. Many CDPs are designed to provide a variety of functions in addition to data management, including data cleaning, data enrichment, and identity resolution to create and enrich a single customer view. CDPs link together identifiers and attributes for both anonymous and known customers so they can be put into highly targeted customer segments.
CDPs also standardize data collection and integrate data governance and data privacy rules in a centralized fashion, allowing companies to develop more robust first-party data strategies.
A CDP Center of Excellence
A CDP cuts across all areas of an organization. While at first marketers may seem to benefit most from the platform, unified profiles can be used by sales, customer service, product development, product management, and others members of the organization to align around a single source of truth on an individual customer.
You must work across teams to ingest and unify siloed data within a CDP. The first step in building a CDP team is getting buy-in across an organization by the people who will not only participate in the project, but will benefit from it.
One way to get started is to set up a Center of Excellence (CoE) working model. A CoE is a working group of internal stakeholders (and maybe external experts) within a company with a shared focus on a particular subject matter area, like customer data platforms. CoEs work to set and standardize best practices across a company, offering advice and guidance on strategic planning, decision making, and execution.
Building a Winning CDP Implementation Team
Let’s take a look at the stakeholders you will need to get a customer data platform CoE started, as well as what you will need to scale the CDP operation across your company. Getting the right people at the table is critical, so you will need a cross-functional team with a well-thought-out plan and strategy.
1. Data-Driven Project Manager
You will need an excellent data-centric project manager who can set up and run the CoE, as well as help provide structure and process for CDP implementation and execution.
2. Data Management Experts
Having the right subject matter expertise, either in-house or in support, is a top priority in CDP staffing. You will need data management specialists, data analysts, data governance, and data privacy experts.
3. Technology/IT Teams
CDPs are infrastructure, so you will need full buy-in and participation from your internal IT team to get it set up and integrated with other systems. You will need the appropriate software developers and solution architects to provide technical guidance and support.
4. C-Suite/Executive Leaders
While it is likely they may not be full attendees at every meeting, getting executive buy-in on CDP vendor selection, ongoing implementation, and execution is critical to success. Get them onboard and keep them in the loop on all decisions and directions.
It seems obvious, but marketers will be playing a central role in using a CDP. Marketing operations and MarTech professionals would be appropriate here, as well as senior marketers to help define strategy.
CDPs go beyond marketing in their usefulness. Sales teams, which traditionally use client management tools like a CRM, can use a CDP to combine data and enrich unified profiles.
7. Customer Service
CDPs can also be of great help to the customer service teams. With a single customer view, a customer service rep can see all those interactions and be better prepared. Customer service representatives can help the CoE develop relevant use cases to elevate the implementation roadmap.
Some industries, like financial services, life science and healthcare are heavily regulated. It may be smart to include a legal representative in the planning process to inform the team of potential legal issues that may arise from the project.
9. CDP Implementation Partners (Professional Services)
If you have purchased an enterprise-grade CDP, there’s a chance the vendor has a dedicated CDP implementation team. While your company provides the internal industry and customer expertise, the right CDP vendor will have an experienced team of CDP practitioners who can assist in CDP integration and interconnectivity.
10. External Consultants
Depending on your internal staffing, level of data maturity, and what resources you vendor can support, you may need to employ other external digital transformation partners to fill in gaps in skills and talent. You may be looking for a MarTech consultant or services agency to help support your internal team.
Having the right members on your CDP implementation and operational team is going to make all the difference in being able to show value and ROI to the business from this significant investment.
Setting up a CoE is a great way to get people across the enterprise involved and get buy-in. Establishing a CoE will help expose where the gaps are in terms of skills and talent, and provide insights into whether you will need external support from an agency to supplement your team.
The CoE can be used to move the CDP into more formal, scalable operations across a company. It can also establish the strategy, process, roles, and support needed to get value from the investment. With the right people, skills, and process in place, your organization is ready to activate all your customer data for true business value.