How to Use Data to Align Sales and Marketing
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How to Use Data to Align Sales and Marketing

When sales and marketing don't quite align, valuable opportunities can slip through the cracks.
Primer team
Updated on
April 26, 2024
Published on
October 20, 2023
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In the fast-paced world of B2B, every opportunity counts. However, when sales and marketing don't quite align, valuable opportunities can slip through the cracks. According to a survey by SiriusDecisions, a significant 27% of sales opportunities are lost each year due to misaligned sales and marketing teams.

Just picture it – potential deals left on the table, revenue untapped, and growth potential left unrealized. It's a hefty price to pay for not synchronizing efforts. But what exactly hinders sales and marketing alignment? Well, it's a mix of factors. Marketing might pass leads to sales too soon, resulting in missed follow-ups and lost deals. Sales, on the other hand, might be more focused on individual opportunities rather than aligning with marketing's nurture streams, causing confusion and mixed messaging for prospects.

This isn't just an internal clash of teams; it significantly impacts your bottom line. Research shows that companies that reached sales and marketing alignment enjoy 36% higher customer retention and a remarkable 38% higher sales win rate. And here's the catch: poor alignment can lead to a 10% or more loss in revenue per year for most companies. That's a staggering $10 million in missed opportunities annually for a $100 million business.

In the face of this reality, we can't afford to let valuable opportunities slip away unnoticed. It's high time we explore how to bridge the gap between sales and marketing, creating a collaborative environment for untapped growth. We'll dive into harnessing the power of unified data, a critical tool, that holds the key to converting missed opportunities into profitable deals. Further, we'll uncover the process of cultivating executive buy-in, forming a robust team of professionals, and defining the path forward in this data-driven landscape.

Bridging the Sales-Marketing Gap

The shared mission of both sales and marketing is simple: driving revenue growth. However, misaligned strategies and goals can hinder this core objective. Sales and marketing alignment might fail due to various contributors —contrasting key performance indicators (KPIs), communication gaps, and deep-seated cultural differences. Despite these challenges, they also present an opportunity to improve efficiency and capitalize on untapped revenue.

It's common for marketing and sales teams to have different performance metrics, leading to conflicting activities. While marketing teams focus on generating and nurturing leads, sales teams are primarily concerned with closing deals. To avoid this misalignment, both teams should adopt common metrics that prioritize pipeline generation, velocity, and revenue generation. This will enable them to work together towards a common goal and achieve better results.

We’d recommend paying extra attention to shared tools and metrics we’ve mentioned in our previous material about strengthening sales and marketing collaboration.

Building a sustained sales and marketing alignment also demands breaking down communication barriers. With marketing's command over personas, digital campaigns, and segmented outreach, and sales' efforts centered around calls, demos, and individual prospect experiences, cohesive strategy development is challenging. Establishing a shared language, with mutually agreed definitions, can bridge this divide.

The cultural contrast between these teams further escalates the divide and undermines sales and marketing alignment endeavors. The long-term, analytic approach of marketing often clashes with the immediate-results orientation of sales. This, combined with personality differences, contrasting work styles, and minimal day-to-day interaction, can breed an indifferent or even hostile environment. But by promoting initiatives like cross-functional training, job shadowing, and involving salespeople in campaign development, we can start building more empathy across teams. It’s a big time investment, but it’s worth it.

Perfect alignment between sales and marketing doesn't happen in the blink of an eye, and it's not a task with a one-size-fits-all answer. It's a journey that requires building bridges over the gap—through unified metrics and data, enhanced communication channels, and a shared understanding of each team's culture.

Maintaining Sales and Marketing Alignment Over Time

Achieving initial sales and marketing alignment is only the first step. To uphold this unified approach, it's crucial for teams to focus on transparent communication, celebrate shared achievements, and continuously optimize their strategies.

Marketing can routinely share campaign results, lead quality trends, and success stories with sales. This keeps sales in the loop on how marketing activities are contributing to the pipeline. In turn, sales must provide feedback on which assets and messages resonate most with prospects.

It’s also up to sales to voice their complaints and doubts regarding lead nurturing practices. The point is that lead nurturing and customer nurturing are inseparable. Their end goal should be customer loyalty.

Joint quarterly business reviews can highlight achievements from both departments. Recognizing collaborative wins derived from sales and marketing alignment maintains enthusiasm for working together. When challenges inevitably occur, transparent discussion of what went wrong prevents finger-pointing.

As the unified data strategy evolves, revisit responsibilities around lead scoring, handoffs, and other intersections. Listen to pain points from sales, marketing, and other teams. Improving these touchpoints requires compromise to meet cross-functional needs. However, it’s vital for keeping sales and marketing alignment purposeful and meaningful.

The journey towards unified data varies but the goal remains the same—a single, reliable source to drive revenue growth. By focusing on clear communication, celebrating small wins, and keeping sight of the end goal, businesses can align their teams around a customer-centric strategy.

Source: sayprimer.com

Harnessing the Power of Unified Data

For many B2B companies, customer data resides in disconnected systems and siloed departments. Sales teams manage prospect and customer records in their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) while marketing automation houses lead and campaign data. Separate systems track customer service, subscription information, web analytics, and more.

This fragmented data landscape limits sales and marketing alignment. Both party cannot evaluate the complete customer journey. Sales may not know a prospect attended a recent webinar or downloaded a key asset. Marketing lacks insight into how leads move through the sales funnel. Customers get frustrated when they must constantly re-explain their needs and history.

Unifying all this disparate data into a single source of truth provides immense strategic value for productive sales and marketing alignment. With a 360-degree view of every customer, sales and marketing teams can collaborate more effectively. Key benefits of unified B2B customer data include:

  • Enhanced prospect outreach. Sales can segment and target prospects based on their interests and interactions across marketing, sales, and service touchpoints.
  • Improved lead scoring. Algorithms incorporate multiple data points like form fills, site activity, and engagement metrics to identify sales-ready leads.
  • Personalized messaging. Emails, web experiences, and ads can deliver tailored content based on each customer's profile and history. When it comes to highly-personalized 1:1 outreach emails, Primer is just the thing. Come see how it works.
  • Proactive customer service. Support teams have full visibility into customers to resolve issues more quickly and enhance their satisfaction.
  • Informed decision-making. Unified data enables advanced analytics and AI to uncover trends, predict churn risk, optimize pricing, and more.
  • Simplified data governance. Centralized systems with clear data ownership prevent duplication and inconsistencies.
  • Increased revenue and pipeline. Studies show that aligned sales and marketing teams achieve 208% greater revenue growth over misaligned peers.

While unifying disparate data is no small task, the resulting outcome for sales and marketing alignment will be huge. the great example of synergized efforts. With executive sponsorship, a strong data team, and an enterprise-wide commitment to alignment, B2B organizations can transform fragmented data into a strategic asset.

Cultivating Executive Buy-In for Solicited Sales and Marketing Alignment

For the successful implementation of a unified customer data strategy, robust executive leadership support is critical. However, achieving buy-in from the C-suite for unifying B2B data across teams can be a challenging task.

The key is presenting a compelling business case backed by hard ROI numbers. According to research by Aberdeen Group, companies with tight sales and marketing alignment experienced 36% year-over-year revenue growth compared to a 10% decline among misaligned organizations. Additionally, companies with a unified customer data foundation enabled by a CDP or CRM system see increases in sales pipeline contribution and closed deal rates.

Leading with strong data points like these capture executive attention by connecting unified data to revenue growth, the lifeblood of any business. Further, make the case by calculating potential cost savings from eliminating redundant tools and technologies. Reduced manual processes and tighter sales and marketing alignment between teams also drive efficiency gains over time.

Beyond data-driven arguments, outline exactly how an integrated data strategy aligns with larger corporate objectives around digital transformation and customer experience. Connect the dots between unified data and key goals executives already deem as priorities. Recommend assigning cross-departmental data governance roles like Chief Data Officer to executives to drive further buy-in.

While monetary gains may provide the initial spark, the benefits of breaking down data silos extend far beyond revenue. Unified customer insights gained from sales and marketing alignment allow B2B companies to operate proactively rather than reactively. They can fully leverage the power of data analytics and AI. Ultimately, unified data is about better understanding customers and serving their needs at every touchpoint. With strong executive sponsorship, this customer-centric vision becomes possible, bridging divisions to transform how teams operate. The numbers seal the deal, but the customer-focused strategy sells the vision.

Building a Customer Data Dream Team

Achieving a unified view of B2B customer data warrants the assembly of a dream team of professionals with specialized expertise. Cross-functional collaboration is vital to align disparate systems and to decode a single source of truth.

Data Architect

The data architect plays a lead role in designing the infrastructure needed to consolidate and manage customer information from diverse sources. This involves mapping out current data systems, identifying integration points, and developing a future-state blueprint for centralizing data. Architects must balance IT requirements with business needs while ensuring data accuracy, security, and governance.

Data Engineer

Data engineers are the builders who bring the architect's plans to life. Their core responsibility is integrating data from CRM, marketing automation, support, and other systems into a unified data store. This requires expertise in ETL (extract, transform, load) processes, database management, cloud platforms, and more. Data modeling, API configuration, and middleware development are also key engineering tasks.

Data Analyst

Insights from unified customer data don't generate value on their own. Persistent sales and marketing alignment heavily depends on data analysts who mine consolidated information to uncover trends and patterns that inform strategy. Their statistical skills and analytics tools turn raw data into actionable intelligence for sales, marketing, and executive leadership.

Data Steward

Data stewards develop and enforce policies for data governance, security, quality, and lifecycle management. This helps ensure unified data remains accurate, consistent, and compliant with regulations. Stewards document processes, monitor for errors, and continuously refine governance as systems evolve.

Assembling data architects, engineers, analysts, and stewards is a critical step toward realizing the dream of a unified B2B customer data asset. With executive sponsorship and cross-team collaboration, this data dream team can make the vision of a 360-degree view a reality.

The Path Forward

The journey toward unified B2B customer data comes with its fair share of roadblocks, but overcoming these challenges is essential for modern businesses. While integrating disparate data systems requires upfront investment, the long-lasting sales and marketing alignment is worth every effort. With strong leadership and a clear implementation roadmap, companies can turn the dream of 360-degree customer intelligence into reality.

First, organizations need full commitment from executives and stakeholders. Gaining buy-in across sales, marketing, IT and other departments is crucial for success. Present the hard numbers on how better data utilization increased revenue at competitors. Share success stories of aligned teams hitting goals. With leadership on board, assigning cross-functional data governance roles provides accountability.

Next, rely on the experts. A highly qualified data team can work through the integration of legacy CRM, marketing automation, and other systems into a unified platform. Data architects design the ideal structure. Engineers develop pipelines to connect datasets. Data stewards maintain accuracy and security. Investing in the right talent lays the technical foundation.

With the technology in place, focus on adoption. User training ensures representatives utilize the centralized data repository to its full potential. Marketing crafts targeted messaging based on holistic customer insights. Sales rely on predictive analytics to convert more prospects. Syncing processes company-wide amplifies the impact.

Ongoing iteration is essential for sales and marketing alignment to endure. Solicit regular user feedback to guide improvements. As needs change, expand the unified platform’s capabilities. Use A/B testing to optimize data utilization. Automating manual tasks accelerates workflows. With continuous evolution and adaptation, benefits accumulate over time, amplifying the positive impact.

In conclusion, the path to impeccable sales and marketing alignment through unified B2B customer data is challenging but undeniably rewarding. It offers an extraordinary opportunity to break down silos, connect departments, and leverage a 360-degree view of the customer.

With strong executive leadership, a dedicated dream team of data professionals, and an unwavering commitment to alignment, organizations can flourish amidst digital transformation. Both the journey and the destination offer invaluable rewards: improved collaboration, efficiency, and above all, sustained revenue growth. By taking a proactive approach to alignment, companies will not only survive but thrive in today's data-driven landscape, seizing missed opportunities and ushering in a new era of customer-centric success.

Why Primer for an Enduring Sales and Marketing Alignment

At Primer we believe marketing needs to be held accountable to opportunities, which is why we’re relentlessly focused on helping companies reach deeper into their ICP, even to the point where they can make ad audiences and outbound 1:1.

Primer’s provide marketing and sales teams with a single source of truth by pulling together CRM and third-party customer data. Through customer identity resolution and data enrichment, you can identify audience segments that fit best into the ICP profile. Therefore, marketers will win more qualified leads susceptible to nurturing that can be handed off to Sales and converted to buyers. 

Start building your sales and marketing alignment success from this day – request the live demo to learn exactly how Primer works.

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