December 10, 2020

How better data makes marketing and sales teams better partners

Chetan Chandavarkar

Topic:   Data

Last updated: December 22nd, 2020

Informed strategies require trusted data from both functions – and when they exist, revenues grow in lockstep with organizational morale.

In theory, marketing departments are meant to support sales departments by helping the latter connect prospects and customers with the appropriate products and services. Too often, though, these highly interdependent departments disagree on the necessary course of action. And in many of those cases, the problem can be boiled down to one word:


That is to say, the roots of many roadblocks – or even clashes between sales and marketing functions at large organizations – often come about because neither department truly trusts the other’s data.


Consider this: Marketing leaders in recent years have embraced data analytics as a way to predict market moves and guide sales strategies. But for many marketing departments, the expected results have not materialized. In a recent Gartner study, 54 percent of senior marketing leaders said insights from their marketing analytics have not had the influence they expected within their organizations. The biggest problem identified by those leaders? Poor data quality and findings that failed to support their intended course of action.

These problems stem from a lack of trust in the data. A Forrester Consulting survey found that 37 percent of marketers blamed poor data quality for wasted marketing spend in their organizations. The Harvard Business Review notes that when marketing and sales draw on different information to set their strategies, the misalignments that result can demotivate sales teams, undermine results, and cause friction between two departments that should be working together.


Historically, customer relationship management (CRM) platforms have served as the common data reference for both sales and marketing. Marketing analytics also may require data from other sources, such as social media, advertising analytics feeds, and other third-party systems to which sales leaders may not have access. To give sales and marketing equal access to comprehensive, trusted, integrated data, organizations must pull information from disparate sources – including CRM platforms, paid social platforms, and other tools such as Hubspot and Outreach.

But pulling data into a common place is only half the battle. For useful data analysis, businesses, especially those at enterprise scale, also must catalog their data and understand the quality of its sources. Only with a full view of customer information can marketing leaders find common ground about pipeline opportunities with colleagues in sales, while also developing key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with both departments’ goals. With these tools, marketing leaders can inform a coherent sales strategy that unleashes the full untapped potential of the organization’s data.

Bottom Line

A sound data platform with high-quality data can help marketing teams do their jobs better, not only boosting revenue but also eliminating the causes of many morale-sapping conflicts with colleagues in sales.

Chetan Chandavarkar is the vice president of Product Marketing and Market Intelligence at ibi. He is responsible for developing a deep understanding of the market, competitors, and clients. He partners with Product Management to shape product roadmaps and develop impactful value propositions, and works closely with the Marketing and Sales teams to build compelling go-to-market plans. Most recently, in his last role at Pitney Bowes, Chetan was the general manager of a $100MM+ line of business. In addition, he ran a Product Management team that drove product adoption and activation across the company’s digital, SaaS, and new offerings.

Why has the promise of data-driven marketing been so difficult to achieve? And what is the best way to move forward?


Read our ibi QuickStudy Guide “Learning from Leaders: How the best marketing organizations use data” to find out.


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