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[Guest Post] Why your fragmented tech stack is costing you — and how to fix it


Why your fragmented tech stack is costing you — and how to fix it

By Jesse Guild, Founder & CEO @ Blitzen

Part of what makes VL the service-oriented business that we are today is our extensive partnership network. Made up of like-minded service providers, applications, and other businesses, our partner network is singularly focused on providing the best network of solutions to our common clients.

This week, we bring you an article from our friends at Blitzen, a rapidly growing business out of Waterloo, Ontario. Blitzen provides next-level insight into your customers and leads and is billed as ‘the easiest SMB personal marketing platform, and has already been adopted by top brands like vidyard, Plasticity, BMW, Shopify, and more.

Keep reading for a great guest article written by Blitzen on ‘why your fragmented tech stack is costing you — and how to fix it’!

Why your fragmented tech stack is costing you and how to fix it

Why your fragmented tech stack is costing you — and how to fix it

By Jesse Guild, Founder & CEO @ Blitzen

The adoption of cloud computing has undoubtedly helped small & midsized businesses become more efficient in their daily operations, with best-in-breed solutions covering off most of the essential business functions from marketing, to accounting and sales. But the explosion in the number of new cloud solutions being released each year has resulted many SMBs struggling to make sense of fragmented workflows and siloed customer data.

“It doesn’t take too many of these disconnected apps to start feeling the pain of productivity sinks, data entry errors, and a lack of solid customer data to support decision-making and strategizing.”

This is a pain that I’m sure you’ve felt. We certainly have. Our startup is regularly using a dozen-or-so cloud applications during our daily operations including Pipedrive for our CRM, Mailchimp for inbound emails, Outreach for our outbound emails, Slack for internal communications, Helpscout for our customer support, Bitbucket for our code repo… you get the picture.

As you can imagine, the costs of having all of these tools not play nice together are significant. First and foremost, there are the costs of manual data entry and double-handling of customer data, which can add up to probably an hour or two a week for a smaller business, but many more for a mid-size company.  Then there’s the cost of human error when that data gets entered incorrectly, or worse, lost in the hustle and bustle.

It doesn’t take too many of these disconnected apps to start feeling the pain of productivity sinks, data entry errors, and a lack of solid customer data to support decision-making and strategizing. Fortunately, there are solutions out there that can help SMBs create unified, reliable data sets that can act as the foundation for growth.

These tools are alleviating some of the growing pains that SMBs feel, by allowing them to start small, with just one or two apps, and then snap together extra functionality as they go.  How you may ask? Through little things called application programming interfaces or APIs. These are like Lego blocks that let you connect apps together, and though they may not sound sexy, the increased productivity and huge time savings that they enable definitely are.

Getting lost in the data sauce

From our experience, the business units that best understand the sexiness of unifying their tech stack and customer data are sales & marketing teams. They know that data is easier than ever to acquire these days –they’re awash in it. Whether it is Google Analytics, Optimizely, or Mixpanel, it’s everywhere, so there’s no excuse to not have a data-driven strategy.

But the sad truth is that too many sales & marketing teams are stuck in the weeds, trying to navigate a broken landscape with unreliable and fuzzy customer data. For example, marketing might keep information about email and website clicks in Marketo or Hubspot, while sales are tracking their own lead and prospect activity in outbound email tools like Outreach or

Dumbfounded by the complexity of these fragmented systems, sales & marketing teams will too often ignore the crucial elements of customer data altogether. Plus, with a lack of alignment between these two units about what makes a prospect a good fit to purchase their product or service, many small and midsize sales & marketing teams are still relying on ineffective and out-dated “spray & pray” engagement tactics (AKA spamming!).

This is true for young startup companies that are just implementing their sales and marketing strategy, or even large enterprises with massive demand gen budgets. This ‘quantity over quality’ approach is a huge waste of resources and also produces lackluster outcomes and can in the end, be damaging to the brand. But fear not, there is a solution – and it can be found in what’s called the ‘universal customer profile’.

The universal customer profile is an aggregated view of a customer’s interactions across all of your brand’s touch points, including web, mobile, and even offline. These centralized views contain all the known attributes that an organization knows about prospect. Sales & marketing teams are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of leveraging these profiles across their tech stack to help fuel a personalized marketing strategy.

So, how do you go about building and leveraging these magical views that contain all of your customer data-points, you may be wondering?  Don’t worry – we’re about to break that down for you! Here are the things you need to think about if you want to start fixing that fragmented tech stack of yours, and move towards more personalized marketing!

Universal customer profiles – a crash course

First-Party Data– The key to building universal profiles is creating them from first-party data, which is customer data that is collected by you directly from the customer.  What’s the easiest way to do this? Online forms & surveys of course!

API Integrations – Leveraging universal profiles is critical but actually kind of useless if you can’t take action with them. This is why it’s key to have seamless integrations between your email automation, CRM, and advertising systems, so your sales & marketing team can action on those customers in real time.

Smart Segmentation – Traditional segmentation techniques are static and place people into list. Nowadays marketers need to be able create customer segments on the fly, and have those segments evolve intelligently, based on different behaviours and actions that customers take.

Data Enrichment– One important part of creating a 360-degree profile is the ability to supplement your first-party data, with other data sources like social demographics, interests & affinities, and company data. Third party data enrichment opens up all kinds of possibilities, and is key in creating the most complete view of the customer.

Cross-device Identification – Buyers are now moving between devices (e.g. mobile, laptop) with increasing frequency, which makes it tricky to get a complete view of customer behavior. Even cookies aren’t always enough since people have the tendency to browse incognito. But using techniques such as device fingerprinting solves this problem by merging the known profiles of a customer across devices.

Logic & Rules Engine– Finally, the last piece of the puzzle in being able to leverage universal profiles is a logic & rules engine, which will let you define rules that trigger automations based on the actions your customers. These triggers are then executed within your marketing tools such as Mailchimp.

That’s it! Sounds pretty easy, right? Don’t get discouraged if you haven’t got a universal customer profile strategy in place yet. This is a learning process, and we’re most happy to share a few tips we’ve learned along the way. Just know that you don’t need to be lost in the customer data sauce, leaving opportunities behind – you can start unifying your customer data and maximizing your marketing impact!   

The only platform where personal marketing isn’t rocket science. Blitzen helps you convert more leads and make customer interactions more meaningful. Try a free 14-day trial today!

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