Align Sales and Marketing with CRM Insight

Whenever I ask marketers about their relationship with sales, I always get the same answer: "You mean me personally?" Their instinct isn't to say anything bad about their counterparts on the sales team; in fact, on an individual level, most marketers and salespeople do like each other. Unfortunately, when it comes to organizational alignment, marketing and sales always seem to be at odds. Those on the marketing side feel as if they're going above and beyond to deliver more leads every quarter, while the sales team feels as if marketing isn't doing anything to support their efforts. The numbers may vary, but the exchange always goes something like this:

Marketing: "We delivered 1,238 MQLs [marketing qualified leads] this quarter, 27 percent above our goal!"

Sales: "We don't get enough help from marketing!"

Although both teams should have the same goals—boosting conversions and generating revenue—they often struggle to see eye to eye on a daily, or quarterly, basis. Marketing puts all their effort into generating volume, which ultimately doesn't interest sales, which has already zeroed in on the key influencers at high-value accounts. Sales is laser-focused on getting traction with those accounts, but at a tactical level, marketing tends not to be aligned with those goals.

For the most part, that insight lives in the CRM system, where the sales team tracks its progress with each and every one of those accounts. The problem is that marketing feels its job is done as soon as a prospect becomes an MQL. If the marketing team would look a little further down the funnel, they would understand why so many of their MQLs are never followed up by the sales team. While certainly some information is more relevant to one team than another, the data in the CRM system is critical to both sales and marketing. Following are three ways to use your CRM platform to your advantage:

1) Segmenting and Prioritizing

B2B marketers typically rely on campaigns that are far-reaching but nontargeted (or, as we like to call them, "spray and pray"). When they do begin to leverage targeting, they usually focus on persona-based strategies. They're working hard, but completely missing a huge piece of the puzzle: those key accounts that sales cares about. Whether it's specific accounts or types of companies, sales has valuable knowledge about which prospects are likely to become customers. In fact, that's why they're rejecting those MQLs: They have deeper insight into what sort of accounts make it to the finish line.

For these two teams to become truly aligned, key sales and marketing activities must be united around a discrete and identifiable group of accounts—ideally one that closely resembles the ones sales was already focused on. Organize, segment, and prioritize your list of accounts so sales and marketing can tackle it together in an efficient, measurable way. Sales already has a list in mind, but to move forward 

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