With ninety percent of companies either evaluating or deploying a CDP, the question comes up as to the difference between a B2B CDP and B2C CDP. In a recent BrightTalk webinar, Amish Sheth (Leadspace VP, Solution Engineering) explored the capabilities and differences between a business-to-business customer data platform and a business-to-consumer customer data platform. What are the core functions of a CDP? What are the benefits of a B2B CDP? What are the different types of CDPs and their key use cases? What makes B2B CDPs different? How do you determine which CDP is right for your business? 

First of all, a customer data platform is personal to your organization and it’s the key to defining shared customer insights. No use case is exactly the same for every company, so understanding your specific needs and use cases is a critical first step to selection.

Customer data platforms were originally designed with B2C marketers in mind, so they weren’t originally set up to cater to the unique needs of B2B marketers. In B2B sales and marketing, you need to know who your best customers are, understand your sales whitespace opportunities and be able to seamlessly activate across both sales and marketing processes to personalize the end-to-end customer experience. B2B professionals need to qualify, prioritize, segment and match your inbound leads to accounts in order to optimize funnel conversion. In addition, you need to get insights and leverage AI predictive and categorization capabilities to promote customer personalization and consistent omnichannel marketing. A solid B2B CDP should be able to do all of this and it should help eliminate data silos, compiling everything into unified company and persona buyer profiles to be accessed across sales, customer support, and marketing.

A customer data platform has three core functions – profiling, segmentation and activation. It needs to build unified account and person profiles from disparate internal first party data sources including CRM, MAP, ERP transactional systems. And it needs to integrate that first party data with third party firmographics, demographics, social and intent data. The profiles need to be kept up to date so that segmentation is accurate and then activate these profiles within campaigns deployed to systems of engagement like ABM, ad platforms, sales engagement, content management, and MAP/CRM systems. Most CDPs are commercially available products. Some companies have chosen, however, to build their own.

Homegrown CDPs function essentially as large-scale storage and typically focus support for first-party data. Key use cases include identity resolution, MDM, and business intelligence. These are highly technical tools that typically have no built-in normalization of data, and they require custom development and integration to use it. Homegrown CDPs are generally built and supported by IT groups and often are not suited for the ease of use necessary for business users.

B2C CDPs add ease of use, segmentation, and activation capabilities. B2C CDPs are typically limited to 1st party data. Activation and segmentation functionality makes them great for use cases such as person-level unified profiles, digital targeting, and web personalization. They’re designed for business users, enabling them to integrate and unify first-party data to create profiles. B2C CDPs incorporate basic and often proprietary activation and they help to improve targeting and create more timely experiences.

B2B CDPs add company-level profiling, cost optimization, operational scale & self-service. Unlike homegrown and B2C CDPs, B2B CDPs bring third-party data into the equation to create more complete account and buyer profiles. This active profile management can be used to build predictive models and buyer classification engines to prioritize leads as well as provide sales & marketing channel activation, unification, and segmentation functionality. Key use cases of a B2B CDP include unified profiles at the person, company, and buying center levels, TAM / ICP modeling, territory planning, business operations, digital targeting, lead personalization, and sales territory creation/assignment. B2B CDPs are purpose-built for the entire business-to-business buying journey and ideal for unifying first, second, and third-party data to build and maintain profiles. They should include models and analytics for insight-based decisioning and should be completely data and channel agnostic. What makes B2B CDPs different? Active profiling management & active funnel management.

The Role of B2B CDPs

While traditional CDPs were initially designed for B2C marketers, the unique needs of B2B sales and marketing require specialized B2B CDPs. In the B2B context, where identifying key customers, sales opportunities, and seamless activation across sales and marketing processes are paramount, B2B CDPs excel.


B2B CDP Capabilities: A robust B2B CDP should be capable of qualifying, prioritizing, segmenting, and matching inbound leads to accounts. Leveraging AI predictive capabilities enhances personalization and enables consistent omnichannel marketing efforts. Unlike traditional CDPs, B2B CDPs focus on company-level profiling, operational scale, and self-service functionalities, incorporating third-party data to create comprehensive account and buyer profiles essential for predictive modeling and territory planning.

Benefits and Considerations

The benefits of implementing a B2B CDP are significant, including improved data quality, increased lead conversions, enhanced pipeline generation from target accounts, and reduced data spending. To select the right CDP for your business, it’s crucial to align business priorities, define key use cases, and establish success metrics that align with expected business outcomes. By understanding these considerations and the unique capabilities of B2B CDPs, businesses can effectively leverage customer data to drive impactful go-to-market strategies and enhance overall operational efficiency.


Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) have become essential tools for businesses aiming to use customer data effectively for personalized marketing and better customer experiences. CDPs help organizations understand customer behavior and preferences through profiling, segmentation, and activation, leading to more targeted engagement and improved conversion rates. B2B CDPs are tailored specifically for the needs of B2B sales and marketing, offering capabilities like account-based marketing and predictive modeling. The benefits of using a B2B CDP include better data quality, increased lead conversions, and improved pipeline generation. To make the most of CDPs, businesses should align their priorities, define key uses, and set clear goals when choosing the right platform. By adopting and using CDPs effectively, businesses can enhance their marketing strategies and operate more efficiently in today’s competitive business environment.