CDP vs CRM: What’s the Difference?

The world of technology is overloaded with complicated phrasing, acronyms and similar systems with different names. This can make it a steep learning curve for anyone new to the industry or implementing advanced technology at their organisation. One of the questions many of our customers at Pracedo ask is, ‘what’s the Difference between a CDP and a CRM‘? While both systems deal with customer data, their approaches and goals differ. The overlap in functionality between both platforms can make it difficult for businesses to determine which tool they need for their specific needs. Throughout this article, we will define what a CDP and a CRM are and how you can utilise both in your organisation for maximum growth and efficiency.

CDP vs CRM: What's the Difference?

When it comes to managing customer data, the acronyms CRM and CDP are often used interchangeably. However, there are distinct differences between the two that can lead to confusion.

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management

CDP stands for Customer Data Platform

CRM is a software system designed to manage a company’s interactions with customers and prospects. It focuses on sales, marketing, and customer service activities. Your CRM is the home for all your customer data but relies on either yourself (manually) or the customer (through forms) to populate it with this data.

On the other hand, CDP is a system that collects and unifies customer data from multiple sources to create a single view of each customer. CDP is a much more passive way of acquiring data as it will look at your customer’s engagement across assets such as your website to deliver real-time insights. Let’s delve into each of the tools in more detail.

What is Salesforce CRM?

Salesforce CRM is a customer relationship management system that helps businesses automate their sales, marketing, and customer service processes. It provides insights into customer behaviour based on data like purchases, website visits, emails opened, and more. With Salesforce CRM, companies can create customised dashboards to track performance metrics in real-time. Plus, it’s one of the most versatile and user-friendly platforms on the market; it’s designed to make data visualisation simple and intuitive for all users.


Salesforce CRM also has robust marketing tools for nurturing leads and segmenting customers to target with relevant offers. Automated campaigns send personalised emails at the right time — without manual effort. Plus, its web-based technology makes it easy to integrate third-party applications that allow businesses to create the perfect solution according to their needs.


Customer service within Salesforce CRM has dramatically improved over the years as well. Companies can leverage automated workflows to notify team members when a customer inquiry comes in or assign cases automatically based on criteria such as geography or language spoken. Additionally, its support tracking features enable teams to schedule updates and follow-up tasks without missing a beat.


Salesforce CRM combines all your organisational needs into one platform with solutions through from Sales to Service and Marketing to Revenue Management. Salesforce CRM combined with Pracedo’s expert consultancy course can help turn your Digital Transformation into a success.


Overall, Salesforce CRM is invaluable for any business looking for ways to streamline operations and improve customer experience. It enables better collaboration between departments by consolidating data into one platform so that everyone involved can benefit from insights generated by others in the organisation—leading to increased efficiency and effectiveness across the board.

What is Salesforce CDP?

Salesforce Customer Data Platform, which is part of Salesforce’s Data Cloud offering, is a cloud-based platform that helps businesses to manage, unify and activate their customer data from multiple sources. The platform allows marketers to create, update, and analyse all their customer data in one place, providing a holistic view of the customer across channels and devices. With Salesforce Data Cloud, companies can unlock insights about customer preferences, behaviours and interactions, enabling them to deliver personalised experiences across marketing channels.

Salesforce Data Cloud provides an intuitive user interface, making it easy for marketers to access real-time insights about their customers at any time. It also offers advanced features such as segmentation– allowing marketers to create targeted campaigns based on criteria such as demographics or buying habits — as well as geographic segmentation. This ensures marketers can reach the right people with the most relevant messages. Additionally, its AI-powered algorithms can help identify potential customers or uncover hidden relationships between people and products that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Salesforce Data Cloud is also highly versatile and allows for integration with other third-party applications like social media networks or web analytics tools so businesses can make the most of their data. Furthermore, its automated workflows ensure that campaigns are run efficiently while still delivering high-quality results at scale. Overall, Salesforce Data Cloud is an essential solution for businesses looking to take advantage of their customer data to provide better experiences and deliver more meaningful customer interactions across multiple channels.

See the tools in action

Let’s set the scene for a Salesforce Data Cloud and CRM use case. John Smith is searching for a new watch and has been browsing ‘Time 4 Gold’ (a fictional online watch retailer) for the last few weeks to help him make his decision.


Salesforce Data Cloud brings all your data from multiple sources into one single source of truth. This eliminates silos in your data and allows you to target your customers with highly personalised interactions. Thanks to the data held in your CDP, you know that customer John Smith has visited the product page for the newest watch listed the most frequently. Thanks to the insight gained through your CDP, John Smith is sent on an automated email journey using Salesforce Marketing Cloud, providing additional information about this product and pushing him towards making a buying decision.


Your email journey is successful, and John decides to purchase the watch one week into your four-week journey. Traditionally your Sales data would be segmented from your customer data, but thanks to Salesforce Data Cloud, the purchase information is connected to the customer ID, and the journey is stopped to avoid frustrating the customer with unnecessary and out-of-date communications.


Salesforce Data Cloud has helped align your Marketing and Sales efforts to serve customers with the most relevant communications at the right time. Combining data from your CRM and CDP will help to drive sales faster and utilise the full capabilities of automation.

Should I use a Salesforce partner?

When deciding if you should choose a CDP or CRM, a Salesforce partner can help simplify this decision. They can provide tailored advice and recommendations for your specific situation. Here at Pracedo, we have a deep understanding of CDP and CRM technologies developed over hundreds of Salesforce projects. Not only are we a trusted partner to help you make the right decision for your growth, but we also are experts in implementation. When you’ve made your decision, we will support you through set-up and training with best practice expertise to maximise your investment. Whether you’re looking to incorporate a CDP to unify external tools or bring new insights to your Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Sales Cloud or Service Cloud data, Pracedo can help.


Should I invest in a CDP or CRM?

Throughout this article, we have compared CDP and CRM functionality to highlight how these tools bring value to your organisation. The best solution is often utilising a combination of both Salesforce Data Cloud and Salesforce CRM to help you achieve your goals in the most efficient way.


Ready to start evaluating how Salesforce can help your organisation?

Get in touch with Pracedo today, and let’s commence your Salesforce CDP journey together.

About Pracedo

Pracedo is an award-winning Summit (Platinum) Salesforce Consulting Partner that delivers innovative Salesforce implementations to forward-thinking customers.


With over a decade of experience focused on Salesforce, we work with our customers to unlock the platform’s power through tailored implementations that facilitate achieving business goals and ambitions. Our team of certified Salesforce consultants globally provides a tailored consultancy service, drawing the breadth and depth of knowledge earned from over 1000 projects across our various locations in London, Melbourne, Brisbane, Amsterdam, and Belgrade.


Pracedo specialises in Digital Transformation and Change Management. Implementations and customisations include: Salesforce Sales Cloud, Salesforce Service Cloud, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Salesforce Marketing Cloud Account Engagement, Salesforce Revenue Cloud, Salesforce Experience Cloud and Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud.

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