The Great Data Divide

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In this special guest feature, Bonnie Crater, CEO of MarTech platform Full Circle Insights, discusses the Great Data Divide caused by siloed data and the lack of cohesion between marketing and sales, which makes it difficult to show marketing ROI. Bonnie predicts that 2018 will bring more collaboration between the two departments in order to increase insights-driven marketing, where data is further analyzed for actionality, so that campaigns can yield greater results. Prior to joining Full Circle Insights, Bonnie Crater was a five-time vice president of marketing and executive at many software companies in Silicon Valley. Bonnie held vice president and senior vice president roles at Genesys, Netscape, Network Computer Inc.,, Stratify, Realization, and VoiceObjects (now Voxeo). A ten-year veteran of Oracle Corporation and its various subsidiaries, Bonnie was vice president, Compaq Products Division and vice president, Workgroup Products Division. Bonnie holds a B.A. in biology from Princeton University.

We’re entering into an era that requires us to derive rich insights from our data like never before. There’s just one problem. It’s been commonly referred to as the Great Data Divide – otherwise known as the miscommunication between sales and marketing teams, due to a lack of consistency in data and, often, disparate systems. In fact, SiriusDecisions, a global B2B research and advisory firm, found that only 14% of their survey participants responded that they have an integrated sales and marketing process. This number is extremely concerning. Marketing and sales alignment will be the key factor of success for companies of all sizes.

In the past, it was fine for marketing and sales to work separately and report off of their individual data sets. Marketing would work in their marketing automation platform, and sales in the CRM. This isn’t the case anymore. We’re in the Insights Economy now. In order to be successful in this economy, we must align our marketing and sales teams and pull insights from a single source of truth.

Even before technology and automation upended marketing and sales processes, the two groups struggled to collaborate effectively. The conflict tended to center on issues like hand-offs and messaging. In many companies, CRM platforms like Salesforce function as the de-facto revenue reporting system, and when the numbers don’t match up, it can seriously damage marketing’s credibility and the ability to generate conclusions about performance. That’s a problem, and it won’t be resolved until marketing and sales agree on a core technology stack. The only remaining hurdle is an ingrained tendency for marketing to consider the CRM a “sales thing” when in fact it is now much more.

Without sales and marketing alignment, so much of each team’s time goes to waste. In fact, on average, 80% of marketing leads are completely ignored by sales, according to the report “101 B2B Marketing and Sales Tips from the B2B Lead” presented by Marketo and Reachforce. With numbers like that, companies are wasting at least $1 trillion annually on their marketing budget.

Integrating your marketing team with your CRM shifts their focus from solely generating leads  to nurturing the entire purchasing journey, involving more people and typically progressing much further along the continuum before sales gets involved. That means marketing needs to connect its metrics to the sales team’s and build revenue projections into its planning process, linking budgets with goals. There’s data to prove it too.

Last year, MarketingProfs found that organizations who aligned their sales and marketing departments experienced a 36% higher retention rate and 38% higher sales win rates. When you look at the company’s ROI, the numbers say the same thing. According to Aberdeen Group, companies with a strong marketing and sales alignment average 76% higher contribution to revenue from their marketing efforts.

As marketers plan for 2018 and how to conquer the Great Data Divide, they should be looking for a marketing performance solution that is native to the CRM platform to find a single source of data truth. This may mean marketers will need to make a change in their solutions, but they’ll be better off once they make the switch. Marketers who align their data with sales will be ahead of the game.


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