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To smash your sales and marketing goals, ask yourself these 3 questions | B2B Marketing

How to smash your sales and marketing goals. To do that, Ed Thorne outlines the 3 questions you should ask yourself.

Imagine you’re on Oxford University’s elite rowing team. On a chilly March morning, you’re lined up next to the rival Cambridge boat, about to begin the annual Boat Race on the Thames. 

The starting gun cracks with a puff of smoke. Muscles taut, your crew members pull with all their might. But instead of a coordinated thrust, each rower pulls at his own pace and in his own direction. Despite having stronger rowers, your team flounders as Cambridge’s boat crosses the finish.

At too many B2B organisations, this is what it’s like to be a digital marketer or salesperson. When each team operates from its own data set, they wind up working in two different directions. No matter how much effort they put in, they can’t seem to get anywhere. 

Alignment is key and data is the glue 

Much like rowing, B2B marketing and sales are team sports.

Data may be the

 world’s most valuable resource

, but teams must work together to truly tap its value. According to MarketingProfs, organisations with aligned marketing and sales functions experience 38% higher sales win rates and 36% higher customer retention.
To get there, marketers and salespeople need a single source of accurate, actionable data. Only when working from the same set of information can they effectively implement go-to-market strategies, segment prospects, and nurture leads toward the finish line. 

But how, exactly, can your teams unite around data to get from start to sale?

Ask yourself these 3 questions:

1. Do we have accurate, centralised, dynamic data to drive growth?

To be effective, data needs to be accurate, structured, and actionable. It’s about quality, not volume. Remember the old adage: Rubbish in, rubbish out.

Don’t underestimate the financial impact of dirty data. Old and inaccurate data costs rose 50% in 2017 to a market total of $15 million per year, according to Gartner’s 2017

Data Quality Market Survey

. Thanks to a business world that’s changing more quickly than ever before, data’s shelf life is shrinking.

To

improve data quality

, start by integrating in-house data with reliable third-party sources. Be sure to structure it consistently across the organisation, manage it centrally, and monitor it for any changes.

2. How can we identify and

target

the accounts that matter most?

Focusing on your ideal accounts first is the way to make the most of sales and marketing resources.

Again, it’s all about data. With the right data, you can:

  • Understand and segment your current market coverage and the size of your total addressable market.
  • Identify audiences with the highest propensity to buy (these aren’t always the companies with the highest revenue) and avoid duplication
  • Identify white space in your target market — or adjacent ones — where you could be successful but don’t have a high market penetration.


Effective targeting

It’s not just about identifying accounts, either. To target them effectively, sellers need data on prospective company’s:

  • Background
  • Structure
  • Key decision makers


What’s going on?

Beyond the profile of a prospect company, sellers need to know when events are happening in and around the account that may indicate a readiness to buy.

For example, following a merger or acquisition or change in senior leadership at one of your key prospects, you need to respond quickly to adapt your approach.

3. How can we use data to close deals faster?

When time-to-close stats start to lag, the sales team might be tempted to pick up the phone one (or two or three) more times.

A more effective approach is to combine customer behavior data with smart sales techniques such as automated sales team alerts when prospects:

  • Download a

    whitepaper
  • Sign up for a free trial
  • Visit a specific webpage
  • Click a link in a specific marketing email

The buyer’s journey is just that: a journey. But without shared, accurate, and actionable data, sales and marketing teams can’t work together to guide buyers. It’s a lesson Oxford’s and Cambridge’s rowers learned long ago: To win, everyone must row in the same direction.

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