What’s your company’s single source of truth? Depending on who you ask, you might hear answers like Salesforce, Zendesk, or HubSpot — the company’s CRM. After all, it’s the place where all prospect and customer interactions are logged and recorded in real-time. If you’re on the Sales, Customer Success, or Business Development teams, your CRM system is your holy grail.
Most likely, you have a Business Operations or Revenue Operations person on the team who is the unanimous expert of your particular CRM, with the ability to quickly create dashboards and reports for each member of the revenue team within the CRM. In this way, they’re viewed as a business “data analyst”, however, they’re limited to the reporting and charting functionalities of the CRM only, and can only leverage the data that’s within the CRM. Plus, they probably don't have a background in the technicalities of data.
While CRMs are a great way to keep track of customer information, interactions, and deals, the issue with relying on your CRM as your entire company’s source of truth is that it’s difficult to answer questions and perform analyses that inform overall business direction. You won’t be able to combine data from different sources, or run queries on more complex questions — without a proper data warehouse.
The truth is, a CRM is not a data warehouse. While it’s powerful and contains an immense amount of customer and prospect information, it’s simply one data source that your company has, in an ecosystem of likely many more sources across different functions, like marketing and finance. Salesforce, for example, was designed for transactions. It wasn’t built to be a centralized data repository for performing analysis. It generally has some dashboarding and reporting functionalities if you’re leveraging solely the CRM’s data, but it’s not enough to replace a data warehouse — a central system in which data across your entire organization lives.
Data warehouses, on the other hand, are structured for complex analyses, with the ability to organize data from multiple different sources. One is not better than the other -- they’re inherently different tools that serve different purposes, and there’s a way for them to effectively work together. Companies should have both!
Once companies have come to this realization and have implemented a data warehouse alongside their CRM, they generally have a data team in place to manage the data warehouse and the analytics platform. So, you'll have a Revenue Operations person managing the CRM, and a Data leader in charge of the Data warehouse.
The question then becomes — how do you reconcile both tools, and both teams?
How do Rev Ops and Data teams work better together, and collaborate so that everyone wins? Thankfully, we have an answer - choose a BI platform that has embedding features.
In summary, the CRM is a powerful tool for transactions, however, it wasn’t designed to be a “single source of truth” in the same sense as a data repository. It represents one data source in an entire organization’s ecosystem of data sources, which should all be considered and analyzed to drive revenue and business growth.
The data warehouse should be the source of truth, since it collects organized data from all parts of the business. However, it shouldn’t be seen as a “competing” technology, as they serve different purposes.
BI tools like Whaly allow data from the data warehouse (which includes data from multiple sources, including CRM) to be easily loaded. They offer robust modeling & visualization capabilities, with dashboards that can be embedded into the CRM for consumption. Whaly can be leveraged to help: