“Processes need to be well-defined and well-documented, otherwise people will inevitably just “do their own thing,” and quality will suffer,” says Ed King, Founder and CEO, Openprise in an exclusive interview to TalkCMO

TCMO Bureau: According to you, what are the significant challenges marketers face in making sure their systems of record deliver accurate, high-quality data to drive marketing initiatives?

Ed King: At Openprise, we always say that a successful implementation of any solution includes people, process, data, and technology—in that order. If you want high-quality data to make your marketing programs more successful, you have to focus on the issues with all of the other components.

It takes a village, or at least a department or two, to make an initiative successful with people. Everyone needs to be aligned on ownership of key systems and basic data governance—like who’s responsible for key accuracy of key fields and what those values can be—otherwise, there will be issues. For example, if Sales owns Salesforce, but Marketing depends on the sales team to add all the relevant contacts to an opportunity to do a good job of attribution, marketing is will end up resulting in a lot of bad campaign decisions that will ultimately affect revenue (unless Marketing buys a separate solution that can model attribution).

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Second, processes need to be well-defined and well-documented; otherwise, people will inevitably just “do their own thing,” and quality will suffer. There’s massive turnover in RevOps roles since those people are in demand right now, and tribal knowledge about business processes leaves the company when they do.

Third, data is rarely in the state it needs to be in for processes like lead routing, scoring, and attribution. This is one area where data orchestration tools play a role. They can automate processes like data standardization, lead-to-account matching, and deduplication and take on those higher-level routing, scoring, and attribution challenges.

Fourth, the technology exists to serve the people, enable the processes, and make data usable. Don’t let the desire to embrace “shiny new objects” dictate how you do business. Tech decisions need to be made in the context of their impact on the entire RevTech stack. One solution can easily pollute the data in many other systems and diminish their performance.

TCMO Bureau: How can CDP solutions help automate critical business processes required to make the data work?

Ed King: By some estimates, over a hundred vendors are claiming to have CDP solutions. Many offer very little in the way of automation capabilities, while a few are exceptionally strong in this area. Most are weak on the B2B side. Some B2B CDPs automate processes around data cleansing processes like deduplication, normalization and lead to account matching. They can continuously push these changes to your systems of record like Salesforce and Marketo.

The stronger players can also automate complex processes like account and lead scoring, lead routing, and attribution. Again, there’s a wide spectrum of different capabilities among CDP solutions, so enterprises need to do their homework and not make any assumptions.

TCMO Bureau: How can enterprises help marketing and sales teams stay nimble in the face of changing market forces?

Ed King: There are two key things to keep in mind. The first is to avoid creating complex RevTech stacks chock full of point solutions—those “one-hit wonders.” Companies with complex stacks spend exponentially more time and effort just “keeping the lights on,” and they’re constantly struggling to get new people over the learning curve on each technology. Any time organizations can remove a point solution from their stack, they free up resources to become more agile and take on the next big initiative.

The second thing is to avoid writing code. It’s time-consuming and very difficult to maintain. No-code solutions give companies an edge in staying nimble because they can be deployed faster, with little or no IT involvement, and can more easily be tweaked to address whatever the next strategic initiative might be.

TCMO Bureau: Are CDP solutions capable of simplifying tech stacks and scaling processes?

Ed King: The short answer is yes, but only if you do your homework and invest in the right CDP for what you want to accomplish. The CDP market is chock-full of vendors that are refugees from other markets, so you need one with a history of innovation in the areas that are important to you. For example, suppose you’re a B2B company hoping to improve the performance of your Marketo instance by offloading some of those processes to your CDP.

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In that case, you can simplify your tech stack by eliminating your attribution and lead routing apps and doing that with your CP. But don’t choose a company that started as a DMP or a tag management company. Instead, it would help if you were looking for a B2B and data orchestration capabilities solution.

It’s vital to take a holistic view of the tech stack’s business processes that you’d like to consolidate over the short and long term, and then choose a CDP that can deliver on that strategy.

Ed has been building stuff as far as he can remember. Prior to founding Openprise, Ed was VP of Marketing and Product Management at companies including Axway, Vordel, Qualys, Agiliance, and Oracle. He deployed Marketo three times before doing it again at Openprise. Each time he was handicapped by poor data quality, but no more!