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The Role of Data in Bridging the Sales-Marketing Gap

You’re sitting in your weekly Sales meeting and your boss is panicking over the fact that leads are drying up, your sales cycle is trending longer, and the deal pipeline is looking bleak for next quarter. He asks the room for ideas to inject some life into the pipeline and the room goes silent. The team has been prospecting lawyers in the area for months, but no one seems interested in buying right now.    

Across the office, your Marketing department is holding their weekly meeting. The Marketing Director is excited to share social engagement, organic ranking, and lead volume is higher than ever. The campaign they’re running for Accountants in the area is generating a lot of buzz online and they’re sure this has to be making a big impact on the business.  

Let’s face it - disconnections like this are real, and they live in nearly every organization on the planet. Sales cries for qualified leads, and marketing delivers a campaign focused on generating social likes. Marketing dreams of laser-targeted campaigns, and sales spends its time cold-calling. It's enough to make any professional throw in the towel.

The thing about misalignment is that it slowly and silently eats away at your profits, your sanity, and, worst of all, your customers' patience. Think about it: confused messaging, redundant efforts, and a revolving door of "helpful" sales people – nobody wins in this dysfunction.

There is hope. Our knight in shining spreadsheets is none other than data. Data has the power to mesh prospect insights, marketing analytics, and customer intelligence. Data speaks the universal language of numbers, a language both sales and marketing can understand.

Now picture this, instead of calculated shots in the dark, your sales team receives a steady stream of leads laser-focused on their ideal customer profile. And Marketing is busy crafting campaigns that resonate with real buyer needs and pain points. Suddenly, emails replace meetings, high fives replace head-desk breaks, and these two departments now go out to Friday happy hour, together. Yeah, it’s a stretch, but it is possible! 

So, how do we build this data bridge? It's not about throwing Excel reports at each other like confetti. It's about a shared journey, a collaborative dance fueled by the right tools and a willingness to listen.

Step one: Break down the silos, for good. Share your data, set common goals and KPI’s, and talk – really talk – to each other. Invest in a CRM that's not just a glorified Rolodex (we recommend checking out HubSpot), and embrace marketing automation like the productivity superpower it is.

Step two: Don't just collect data, make it sing! Learn to analyze, interpret, and translate those numbers into actionable insights. Turn customer behavior into a map leading straight to closed deals.

And remember, this isn't just about numbers; it's about people. Use data to understand your customers' needs, personalize their experience, and build genuine relationships. That's the magic that turns leads into loyal fans of your brand.

Here are some of our favorite ‘alignment’ KPI’s for Sales and Marketing teams to track, share, and review together:

Revenue & Revenue Growth: This overarching KPI reflects the combined efforts of both teams and their ultimate goal. Track overall revenue, year-over-year growth, and revenue by marketing channel/campaign.

Lead Generation & Quality:  Focus on quantity and quality of leads generated by marketing and qualified by sales. Track metrics like website leads, MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads), SQLs (Sales Qualified Leads), and conversion rates from MQL to SQL and SQL to customer.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): Measure the combined cost of acquiring a new customer through marketing and sales efforts. This metric helps teams understand the efficiency of their efforts and identify areas for cost optimization.

Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV): This metric evaluates the average revenue generated from a customer over their relationship with the company. It showcases the long-term impact of both sales and marketing strategies.

Campaign ROI: Track the return on investment for specific marketing campaigns, evaluating whether the campaign generated leads and revenue that justified its cost.

Net Promoter Score (NPS): This customer satisfaction metric assesses how likely customers are to recommend your company to others. It reflects the combined success of marketing in building a positive brand image and sales in delivering a great customer experience.

Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) to Customer Conversion Rate: This metric reveals the effectiveness of converting marketing-generated leads into paying customers, highlighting the collaboration between both teams.

Website Traffic & Engagement: Track website traffic, engagement metrics like time on site and page views, and conversions to leads or sales inquiries. This provides insights into marketing's ability to attract and engage potential customers.

Sales Cycle Velocity: Measure the average time it takes to move a lead through the sales pipeline and close a deal. This metric helps identify bottlenecks and opportunities for improving the sales process.

Customer Retention Rate: Monitor the percentage of customers who continue doing business with the company over time. This metric reflects the combined effort of sales in building strong customer relationships and marketing in providing ongoing value.

Bonus: Implement lead scoring to prioritize leads based on their potential value and assign them to the most appropriate salesperson for a smoother handoff between teams.

Remember, the ideal KPIs are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) for both sales and marketing teams. Track them together, analyze their relationships, and make data-driven decisions to optimize your B2B sales and marketing synergy.

Think of it like this: sales and marketing are two sides of the same coin, two wings of the same plane. Data is the engine that propels us forward, together. In 2024, the companies who build this data bridge will conquer the skies of B2B success.

So, are you ready to cross the bridge? At Brightlark Digital, we're data architects, communication gurus, and bridge-building specialists. We can help you transform your sales and marketing teams into a harmonious, revenue-generating force. Let's leave the "Friday afternoon sales meeting" drama behind and write a new chapter where data leads the way to B2B bliss.

The future is bright, and it's paved with data. Join us on the journey!

P.S. Want to learn more about how Brightlark Digital can help you build your data bridge? Check out our new pillar page, "Sales and Marketing Alignment Strategy" We promise, it's way more exciting than a singing bass (but we think those are pretty cool too!).

Matt Walde
Post by Matt Walde
January 9, 2024

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