The data dilemma: How to complete the customer picture

Data fragmentation can wreak havoc on your organization's ability to meet customer needs. Here are three tips for bringing the customer picture together.

Revenue leaders, how well do you know your customers, really? The irony is that despite having more tools and technology at our disposal than ever before, understanding our customers has become increasingly complex. And if we don’t understand our customers, we can’t put them on the personalized journeys that lead to the higher conversion and retention rates we all want. 

At the root of this problem is data fragmentation. We’re living in an era of “tech mayhem” – a term coined by Gartner describing the rapid proliferation of go-to-market (GTM) technologies, tools, and platforms that's led to a crowded and fragmented landscape. This phenomenon often results in confusion among teams, as they navigate numerous options for analyzing and acting on data. 

I recently spoke about this topic at The Nordic Growth Summit, where afterward I heard from other leaders just how deep this data problem really goes. Not only is it challenging now, but it’s only going to get harder – 2024 is stirring up some fearsome headwinds. From the increasing privacy regulations to Google deprecating third-party cookies for all Chrome users by the third quarter of the year, we’re going to have to find new ways, or revert to old ways, to collect the data we need – because all while it’s getting harder to understand our customers, our customers’ expectations are only rising. According to McKinsey, 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions, and 76% get frustrated when this doesn't happen.

So, what can we do about all of this?

By unifying your GTM teams – sales, marketing, and customer success – and tools, you can break down silos and allow data to flow seamlessly across a united revenue function and tech stack. This enables you to complete the customer picture, providing a comprehensive, end-to-end understanding of customers needed to route them to the right place. 

Getting to this point takes time. You don't need to overhaul your tech stack or reorg overnight to make progress. There are three simple steps you can take today to begin bringing disparate data together, so you can complete the customer picture and put every customer on a personalized journey.

Step 1: Source the raw data

Before you can complete the customer picture, you have to have all the puzzle pieces. Every business in the world needs to collect data about customers, but not all data serves the same purpose or provides the same value. There's data that you obtain through your own platforms—like your website or mobile. There's also data that you can aggregate by external sources or data providers. And then there's zero-party data, where your customers willingly share their data with your company. 

Zero-party data holds significant value for businesses for many reasons, but the real beauty of it is that it gives you explicit insights directly from the source. This data is more accurate and reliable, reducing the risk of misinterpretation and enabling you to better tailor your products, services, and marketing efforts to what your customers really want. Beyond that, it builds trust.

This is, inevitably, where I mention that Typeform is the best way to collect zero-party data today. Our forms are built to be beautiful, conversational, and powerful – and get results. More than 150,000 businesses are creating forms using our product, driving upwards of 500 million responses each year. And in 2023, these forms saw a completion rate of 47.3%, more than 25 percentage points higher than the industry average completion rate of 21.5%, according to the Data on data report.

Step 2: Unify and enrich data to understand your customers

Now that we’ve covered the importance of gathering data straight from your customers – let’s move on to the second step you can take to complete the customer picture. It’s time to enrich it with other data available to complete the customer picture and achieve that deeper understanding of who your customers really are.

Having different types of data offers the opportunity to link them together. When you only have observed data, you know what's happening, but not always why. By combining observed data with zero-party data, you can gain deeper insights. A unified tech stack is helpful at this stage, as it breaks down silos and allows access to data from various tools.

At Typeform, we’ve built tons of integrations, like our HubSpot integration, to help you connect your Typeform data with other data sources and tools. You can use Typeform + the ecosystem to get the job done.

Step 3: Personalize every journey

Finally, with integrated data and a deeper understanding of your customer like never before, you’re ready to put every lead on a unique path. Customers need more than great content—they need help getting to the right destination. Maybe at this point in their journey, they're best suited to talk to sales, or maybe a self-serve flow is better suited, or maybe they simply need to learn more about your product through a marketing nurture campaign. Whatever they need, with a complete customer picture, you can get them there. 

We all know how important understanding our customers is—this has always been true, and it continues to be so. Amid modern GTM complexity, revenue leaders must adopt strategies to complete the customer picture. By sourcing zero-party data, unifying and enriching data, and personalizing journeys, businesses can enhance customer experiences, drive loyalty, and ultimately achieve better outcomes. While the journey towards data unification may seem daunting, taking incremental steps can yield significant benefits in understanding and engaging with customers effectively.

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