Reverse ETL: 5 Ways to Free Your Marketing and Sales Data

It’s a well-known fact that data is the lifeblood of any business. It helps us create customer profiles and understand customer behavior, which helps us market to various demographics more effectively. Data-driven marketing is quickly becoming a necessary norm rather than a luxury reserved for the largest and wealthiest corporations. But how do you manage and transport all of this data? To make sure you have access to crucial information, you need a solid marketing & sales data management system. This is where Reverse ETL comes in.   In this article, we look at five ways companies can use reverse ETL to support and streamline their marketing and sales efforts.

What Is Reverse ETL?

Reverse ETL allows companies to organize and access data for key decisions regardless of format. Real-time insights are given to teams that let them clearly see their sales data and marketing activities. To understand Reverse ETL, we have to first understand ETL (Extract Transform Load).

ETL is a process that extracts data from a source, transforms it into the desired format, and then loads it into a database. Marketing and sales personnel can use ETL to format data for marketing automation software or CRM systems. Traditionally, this has helped companies get all their data in one place. But what if that information is consistently needed across multiple platforms?

Unlike standard ETL, which loads data to one database, Reverse ETL pulls data from your warehouse and loads it into your third-party systems. The irony with businesses is that often when trying to avoid siloing data, they create data silo! Reverse ETL is designed to make data actionable and solve modern business’s ‘last mile‘ problem. Imagine if critical data was available in platforms like Salesforce, Hubspot, Zendesk, Google Analytics, as well as your other marketing analytics tools. Reverse ETL promises access to your data for swift and informed decisions.

What is Reversed ETL Used For?

As companies know all too well, it’s no use having state-of-the-art technology if no one understands how to use it. Making good use of your marketing and sales data means first understanding what you can do with the information. Here are some things Reverse ETL can help with:  

Generating New Leads

Using data that has been collected, Reverse ETL helps you generate leads by targeting people who may be interested in your product or service. Find leads based on their demographics, behaviors, or other information (such as what content they’ve clicked on).  

Executing Sales Campaigns

Reverse ETL can also help you identify potential customers. Your sales team can follow up with those who have shown an interest but haven’t purchased yet. It will also give you an up-close view of sales analytics and the health of your bottom line.  

Building a Better Customer Experience

Your data is valuable, first and foremost, because it helps you reach customers and prospects and build strong connections with them. With data in the right place, your business can make major decisions (like whether to cut a product or offer a new line of products) based on your customers’ behaviors and wants. Keeping track of metrics like customer loyalty analytics will help you track how well your brand is building trust.  

Using Your Source of Truth

If your company has a data warehouse, this is your “single source of truth.” Simply put, all your data is housed here. This is a great start, but to really use data-driven insights, you need to make them operational. Reverse ETL makes data truly actionable by making it more accessible.   

Creating Custom Reports

Once you have all your data synced into the appropriate platform, you can create reports. These will show trends and patterns across different audience segments. You may even be able to predict future trends based on how the numbers change over time.   These are just a few ways Reverse ETL kicks your marketing and sales data into high gear. Now, let’s look at five ways you can use this flexible data management system in more detail.  

5 Ways to Free Your Marketing and Sales Data

1. Sync customer data from your warehouse with other tools.

When it comes to digital marketing, timing is everything. The faster you can access the data, the faster you can make a decision on what content to create or what campaign to run. You need to be able to find the data that’s relevant right within a given platform, and fast. By using Reverse ETL for marketing, you’re able to quickly pull up specific information without having to sift through irrelevant data in your warehouse.

The most important insights into your customer base are always just a few clicks away. Everyone on your team still gets to use the same data, but it’s precisely what they need. Your sales team gets product usage data; your marketing team gets data for running contextual email campaigns; etc. Silos are eliminated and teams can collaborate smoothly. 

2. Sync your data warehouse with Ad Platform Conversions APIS

One way you can use ETL is to sync your data warehouse with Ad Platform Conversions APIs. This is so you can optimize ad spend around downstream funnel activities. You’ll have better insight into the effectiveness of your ads and spend less time tracking them. With consumer privacy changes made over the past few years, conversion tracking has become trickier. This is because it has historically relied upon web tracking pixels.

Conversion APIs are a reliable solution to this problem as they are not vulnerable to browser restrictions. The downside is that they are time-consuming to set up. Reverse ETL makes the process more manageable. Conversion APIs, or “server-side” APIs, allow you to manage your own data directly and even track offline events. Share specific behavior data to target customers more precisely and optimize your ad spend like never before. 

3. Sync operational insights directly into CRM and SaaS platforms

When operational insights are at your fingertips, your capacity for solid decision-making is at its highest. This is true no matter what platform you use. Without these insights, companies are forced to rely on outdated methods, such as ad-hoc reporting tools, to make data-driven decisions. Shifting to real-time data right where you need it saves your team time, energy, and frustration. They can get the information they need and take effective action. 

4. Sync lead scoring models

ETLs are scalable. They can handle large streams of data and process the data in a variety of ways. You might use ETLs to sync operation insights into your CRM or SaaS platform. This would allow you to track your leads, customers, and prospects more effectively and make better business decisions.

For example, let’s say you want to learn about your top prospects to serve them better. You could use Reverse ETL to extract insights from lead scoring models right in your CRM. Then analyze that information for an accurate picture of your prospects and how to engage with them.

5. Sync other important data

Companies can sync many different types of data in third-party platforms with Reverse ETL – things like app usage, sex, age, occupation, and other statistically valid conclusions. With this information synced into your marketing automation systems, your team can target customers more precisely, get a clearer picture of your buyer personas, and know how often customers buy.

How do You Use Reverse ETL?

Getting started with a new data management system doesn’t have to be rocket science. There are a few steps in the process:

1. Connect to your data warehouse

Whether you’re using Snowflake, Azure, or another warehouse, the first thing needed is authorization to connect with your data storage center. With full control over permissions and governance, you only need to authorize access to the exact data that’s needed in a given platform. 

2. Sync your customer data

This is where you’ll locate key audience segments and sync all relevant data into your third-party platforms for immediate access. Once a business does this, every department will have what it needs to function more optimally. The more data you gather and transport, the better each team can do its job. Data can be sent to destinations like:

  • Facebook ads
  • Google Ads
  • Hubspot
  • Salesforce
  • Slack
  • YouTube
  • Zendesk
  • Gainsight
  • LinkedIn

Companies use this transported data in various ways. Some build more advanced customer profiles, refine their audience segments, or score leads based on more specific business criteria. Reverse ETL:

  • Makes life easier for customer service teams who can personalize the customer experience with things like past service history. 
  • Empowers marketing teams by bringing detailed information into each level of your marketing funnel. 
  • Informs sales teams by giving them access to the full customer journey so they can understand and nurture leads better.
  • Guides logistics teams so they can better forecast, resource plan, and adapt to changes in the supply chain.

Reverse ETL is a winning strategy for companies looking for a way to optimize marketing funnels and prove ROI without extensive tech skills. This level of data flexibility will be a requirement going into the future as digital competition grows more fierce. Full-funnel visibility will support companies in scaling and quickly adapting to market changes. With real-time data insights in your toolbelt, meeting the needs of customers and tracking ROI becomes effortless. 

Make Reverse ETL Work for You

Digital marketing is an ever-changing landscape. The advent of ad platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter has changed the way brands and marketing professionals can interact with their audiences. While this can be daunting for company leaders, the upside is that there are more ways to leverage your data than ever before. Reverse ETL is one of them. By syncing your data warehouse with your ad platform conversion APIs, you’ll be able to import campaign data directly into your CRM or SaaS platform. This is just one way Reverse ETL helps you gain more control over your marketing ROI.

At IronFocus, we help companies get their funnel optimization down to a science so they are free to focus on other things. The possibilities for leveraging Reverse ETL are endless! Curious to learn more? Break out of data silos and let ironFocus give you the data access you need.


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