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Data-driven mandates for aligning your sales and marketing efforts in 2014

Team-building exercises may be fun, but there’s a better way to convince sales and marketing to work hand in hand: metrics.

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A single view of clean and accurate data is central to achieving accurate metrics.

It may be quite difficult to align your sales and marketing teams by simply asking them to collaborate and produce results. Instead, you are much more likely to successfully align the departments if you prove the effectiveness of your organization’s marketing activities through data.

There are three key aspects of marketing metrics that every CMO will need to recognize and embrace in 2014:

  1. From traditional metrics to popular trends
    These days, marketing metrics abound, including customer acquisition, conversion rates, customer lifetime value, and cost per lead. Such metrics can help justify marketing spend, highlight broken marketing processes, and calculate the cost of marketing strategies. 

    But marketing measurements are expanding in scope. In addition to gathering routine metrics such as customer acquisition, you can now gauge effectiveness on a wider variety of business functions. For example, how well did a nationwide email campaign help human resources recruit new staff by uplifting the perception of your company’s brand? By measuring positive impact on other departments, marketers can build a stronger case for marketing investments. 
    Social media engagement metrics are also gaining in importance. How many customers engage with your products on social networks? Which social network is generating the most new leads? Every marketing department should assess the degree to which social media contributes to its overall marketing strategy.
  2. Sharing definitions and data sets
    To take full advantage of metrics, sales and marketing should agree on a set of shared definitions. For example, consider qualified leads: Marketing may define that as a customer who provides his email address in an online survey. Sales, on the other hand, may have other criteria requiring that a customer service representative first vet the customer. Only after coming to a consensus on standard definitions can a company begin to deploy metrics. 
    Second, sales and marketing teams need to clearly define different activity types. Charting and monitoring activities such as email messages, in-person meetings, and cold calls can provide clarity across organizational boundaries.
  3. A clear view to the future
    A single view of clean and accurate data is central to achieving accurate metrics. At the beginning of the process, your CRM system’s data validation functionality ensures that you enter only legitimate information such as a customer name or email address. Subsequently, data quality procedures can help preserve the completeness, accuracy, and ability to act on the stored information throughout the customer lifecycle.

Proper sales and marketing alignment depends on a single and holistic view of an organization’s data. Marketing may focus on customer segmentation, while sales teams hone in on territory planning. But despite these disparate activities, both groups need to view the same data sets in order to accurately measure an organization’s performance.

See how data analytics are improving the efficacy of sales and marketing organizations in 2014 in the accompanying article, “Data analytics provides the key to sales and marketing success.”

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