Looker Blog : Data Matters

Using Census & Looker PDTs to Enrich CRM Account Records

Sean Lynch, Co-Founder at Census

Apr 30, 2020

Here at Census, we spend our days thinking about how to help our customers get value out of their data warehouse. We work with companies to connect their CRM, marketing automation, and more to keep their customer data in sync across all their tools, and help customer-facing teams working smoothly together.

In talking with business folks, we often take for granted that all the data they need is in the data warehouse. Sure it’s there, but there’s always a big effort that goes into converting that raw data into insights that can be easily consumed by the rest of the business.

Looker’s LookML is a powerful way to describe complex data relationships and make it easy for all business teams to use. And since the release of Looker 7, that can now work hand in hand with Census.

(Re)Introducing Looker Persistent Derived Tables

Persistent Derived Tables (PDTs) are a Looker feature designed to make very complex analysis speedy. PDTs work by pre-computing the results of a query and then storing it so that it can be easily referenced in Looks or by other queries that depend on the same data. They’re easy to set up and highly configurable, giving you flexibility to define when and how frequently they should be updated.

Since the release of Looker 7, PDTs have been extended in a powerful new way: you can now configure PDTs to be saved back to your warehouse with publish_as_db_view. This means your LookML models are now available to any SQL workflows, unlocking whole new ways to use LookML models.

Using LookML and Census to Enrich Salesforce Account Records

With your LookML models available in your data warehouse, you can create new workflows that use them as normal SQL tables. This is where Census comes in. Census makes it easy to connect a data warehouse and keep its data in sync with sales and marketing tools. This means you can use your data warehouse to drive your business marketing automation, customer success tools, or, the most popular use case, Salesforce.

Hiring platform Fountain uses Looker and Census together to enrich their CRM’s account records with live data of how customers are using their product. That way, sales reps know exactly what’s happening in an account at any given time, can identify the right contacts to talk to, and reach out at exactly the right time.

With Looker and Census together, it’s simple to set this up for any company:

  1. Create the LookML model summarizing each customer’s usage data by their Customer ID
  2. Configure Looker to store the model as a PDT with the new publish_as_db_view flag.
  3. Use Census to select the resulting view and map its columns onto the Salesforce Account object.

From there, you can continue to update the definition of Looker formulas and Census will keep the resulting computed data up-to-date in Salesforce. For the team at Fountain, this means their sales and customer success teams always have the freshest data. And because their key business definitions all rely on the same LookML, everyone’s metrics will always match — regardless of department of role.

Ready To Learn More?

If you’re interested in learning more about using Looker PDTs and connecting Census to your sales and marketing data, check out Census, or reach out to the Looker team to learn more!

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