Marketing and sales are different when it comes to data

Marketing and sales may not always agree, but they do share the same goals. Find out how a CRM system can help achieve them.

“When marketers and sales people know different things about the customer, strategy is weakened. Both functions have different customer experiences, so it is inevitable that they develop unique and varying insights.”

—Christine Moorman, director of The CMO Survey.

Organizations are facing a shifting balance of power. Customers have immediate access to a wealth of information online. They make more informed buying decisions and make them quickly. Sales and marketing teams must combine efforts to provide a single view of the customer. If they don’t, they won’t be able to anticipate customer needs and, in turn, will not succeed.

"When marketers and sales people know or believe different things about the customer, strategy is weakened. Both functions have different customer experiences, so it is inevitable that they develop unique and varying insights," says Christine Moorman, senior professor at The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, and director of The CMO Survey. Ideally, these unique sources of insight would be shared across the two groups. However, because this rarely happens organically, effective companies actively manage the sharing of customer data."1

Focus on the customer, not your function

Your CRM system is your best ally in your company’s efforts to organize customer data. It contains a wealth of data from different interactions that sales, marketing, and customer service teams have with customers. Data culled from the sales department’s calling activities and the marketing team’s lead qualification efforts, for instance, must be available to the entire organization to ensure a consistent perspective.

In the Harvard Business Review2, Philip Kotler, Neil Rackham, and Suj Krishnaswamy recommend that companies do the following to integrate data from a CRM across all parts of an organization:

  1. Make the customer "your fundamental unit of data analysis."
  2. Share insights about customer data across your company.
  3. Use that data for predictive analysis and design interventions to alter that behavior, if necessary.
  4. Give employees the tools and responsibility to make customer-focused decisions.

Anticipate the impact of big data

Big data will play an increasingly large role in augmenting the 360-degree view of your customer. While customer history and contacts might exist in your CRM system, behavioral insights from online activities are found in today’s big data stores. The 2013 CMO Survey reported that the percent of a company’s marketing budget devoted to big data will increase from 6 percent to 10 percent over the next three years.3

In anticipation of that influx of data, get your organization in the habit of sharing information. If you cannot gain value from your own company’s data, it will be difficult to generate any significant competitive advantage from big data. In the meantime, communicate the importance of customer data to meeting and, ideally, exceeding customers’ demands. This is the ultimate competitive advantage.

Can you meet their demands today? Get salesforce.com’s perspective on how your company can improve relationships and focus more on customers in their video, How to Become a Customer Company.

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