Pendo Community

CRM Alone Isn’t Enough to Drive Growth. Here’s Why.

Published Jan 16, 2020

Last year I spoke on a panel alongside Jamie Punishill, CMO of Lionbridge, who said something that resonated with me. He said that dirty data was clogging his CRM system and holding back initiatives, such as investments in artificial intelligence. Jamie’s comment crystallized why I joined Pendo in the first place: product usage data is the cleanest, most “potable,” data an organization has access to—provided they think to access it.

Fast-forward to today. The team at Segment asked if we’d join their “Platform of Independents” program, which brings together companies that span the full spectrum of the customer experience to illustrate the advantages a constellation of data offers alongside a CRM system. Their battlecry: CRM is not enough.

We jumped at the invitation.

The Platform of Independents is led by 10 independent software companies, including Pendo integration partners Segment, Drift,, along with friends like Outreach—and joined by nearly 200 co-signatories united to set a new standard for marketing and business technology.

You see, as essential as application usage data is to product managers and customer success teams, that value compounds when it’s paired with, say, marketing data from Marketo and sales engagement data from Outreach. It all made me recall a conversation with CEO Paul Teshima in which we coined the “The Minesweeper Effect”—a phenomenon in which what initially appears to be incremental progress turns out to provide exponential impact. 

Mashing up clean data from multiple sources, using it to prompt timely and relevant communications, and visualizing it in a common BI interface … this interconnected systems model isn’t only changing the way individual companies are taking their solutions to market. It’s also giving rise to the product-led growth movement in which companies leverage their product itself as the means to attract leads, convert them into customers, and sell more into their base.

Take PagerDuty, for example. It would be difficult to cite a company that’s more adept at combining multi-source data with in-app triggers to drive ridiculous growth. On a recent webinar, the company explained how data sits at the center of their product-led model. 

By feeding into Pendo customer data captured by Segment, they’ve created a series of experiments to drive free trial conversions. After learning which behaviors were synonymous with conversion—for example, downloading the PagerDuty mobile app—the product team rolled out a sequence of in-app guides to encourage those high-value actions. When they used Pendo guides to prompt users to download the app, the number of downloads increased by 178%. 

PagerDuty has moved on to building a new automated onboarding program that uses data from Segment to customize education and guidance for each new user. Soon, they’ll add Marketo to the mix when they begin sending tailored emails to users based on their interactions with guides, helping to drive behaviors associated with successful onboarding and conversion. 

As notable as PagerDuty is, they’re just one example of how building business processes on top of data from new, or at least previously untapped, systems is clearing fresh pathways to growth. And that’s why CRM, alone, isn’t enough. Want to learn more? The CRM is Not Enough crew will be discussing this topic on an upcoming webinar with Forrester. Register here