Interview with InsideView           8/18/2016

Let’s Get Real.

In this series, we interview sales tool providers and get real about the problems they’re solving and why you should care (or not).

This week I interview Kristine Webb, Director, Demand Generation and Marketing Operations at InsideView.

Nancy: I ask guests to answer the first question using what I call the “You know how…” format. Tell us, what does your solution do?

Kristine: You know how marketing works hard to find, nurture, and qualify net new leads but sales is rarely happy with them and always just focused on pipeline. You know how sales and marketing frequently disagree on metrics, fall back on their own systems to prove decisions, and always seem to be at some degree of misalignment. The challenges all boil down to data, specifically the lack of consistent, shared, and accurate data.

Marketing uses their marketing automation system while sales relies on their CRM system. Most companies sync those two systems, but that misses the broader point: if you’re not using the same data, and if that data is dirty and inaccurate, you’re limiting your company’s success. InsideView helps you solve that fundamental challenge by giving everyone in sales and marketing the same accurate, current, and relevant data and insights that help you better engage and close more deals.

That’s because better data and shared data brings sales and marketing closer together and more in alignment. Both teams are looking at the same trends, the same accounts, and the same insights, which helps them reach the same conclusions. It also helps increase effectiveness as you take on bigger initiatives, like account-based sales and marketing, end-of-year territory planning, or other, where inconsistent data can ruin your results.

Nancy: That sounds like a problem worth solving (and a worthy solution). But let’s get real, sales and marketing organizations have a lot of challenges and they have to make choices about which to solve first. Why shouldn’t they continue with things the way they are if they’re getting by? What are the ramifications of not solving the problems you outlined?

Kristine: Well, of course sales and marketing could continue with their status quo of relying on unaligned, disconnected data that’s incorrect and out of date. And, they’ll continue making bad decisions, wasting time on bad leads, and losing more often to their competitors.

Instead, sales and marketing must build on a foundation of good, clean, consistent data and better align their teams towards growth. It’s true that companies with aligned sales and marketing teams have 19% faster growth and 15% higher profitability, according to SiriusDecisions. It’s also true that sales and marketing have to work at keeping their data clean–as much as 5% of B2B data goes bad every month…that adds up over time.

If you’re not working together on a common set of clean data, you’re just going to continue to diverge more often, and that’s bad. Just imagine if marketing is using dirty account data for their targeting. They would be bringing in leads they think are great, but that sales then sees as unqualified.

We conducted a survey of 1,000 sales and marketing professionals and found some striking similarities between the leaders and laggards, and it all revolves around their approach to data. Leaders focus on lead quality, their teams work together on lead scoring, and they prioritize database quality. Laggards focus on lead quantity, they have murky lead scoring mechanisms, and a full 25% say their “database is a mess.” In today’s competitive environment, where customers are smarter and faster, it’s clear that sales and marketing need better data to get better results.

Nancy: What types of questions should Marketers ask to decide whether solving this problem should be a high priority?

Kristine: The questions we would ask Marketers are:

  • Do you regularly meet with your sales team? and if so, how often?
  • Do you know the sales team’s account plans and strategies?
  • Do you know why your sales team rejects qualified leads?
  • Do you know the ideal customer profile and who in your current database fits that profile?
  • Do you know how leads are scored and why they are scored that way?
  • Do you measure your success based on pipeline?

Nancy: What types of questions should sales leaders ask to decide whether solving this problem should be a high priority?

Kristine: The questions we would ask Sellers are:

  • Do you know what campaigns your marketing team is running, and why?
  • Is your marketing team directly working with you to help drive pipeline in your territory?
  • Do you feel like your marketing team is a trusted partner?
  • How often do you meet with marketing to discuss pipeline and open opportunities?
  • Do you hold marketing accountable to your pipeline quota?
  • Do you know how leads are scored and why they are scored that way?

Nancy: This question is your choice. What do you want to answer that I didn’t ask?

Kristine: I’d love for you to ask, “who else should be involved in the sales and marketing alignment conversation?”

With businesses relying so heavily on systems to manage customer and prospect data, sales, marketing, and operations must work closely together. And that includes both sales operations AND marketing operations. Only by working together, and aligned on a common goal, can the teams move the needle for the business.

Nancy: What should people do next?

Kristine: To learn more about how sales and marketing alignment improves revenues and why you should care, check out our report based on a survey of 1,000 B2B sales and marketing professionals.