A recent report by the CMO Council uncovered something startling. Of the 300 surveyed chief marketing officers (CMOs), the majority lack confidence in their ability to deliver results. Other key report findings revealed:

  • 70% don’t feel confident their current sales and marketing model is effective across digital channels
  • 61% said fragmented technology is holding back cross-departmental alignment
  • 60% said the sales and marketing departments don’t co-own customer strategy and data

Why are so many top marketing professionals feeling insecure? What’s the real issue behind this and how can teams address it?

The Challenge of Delivering Results

Many CMOs struggle to prove the ROI of their marketing efforts. This can be especially challenging in industries where the sales cycle is long or the product or service being sold is complex. Additionally, CMOs often face pressure to produce immediate results, which can be difficult to achieve with marketing campaigns that require time and resources to develop.

Gathering clear insights into which leads are contributing to revenue generation can also be difficult. The CMO Council survey reveals that a major contributor to that issue lies in data ownership and control.

The Data Problem

Less than half of the marketers surveyed in the study said they have co-ownership of data with sales. Worse, 25% say the data is kept in completely different silos between the two departments.

This fractured data relationship makes collaboration between these teams a huge problem. Marketing can’t understand what sales is encountering in their daily work and sales is uncertain about how well their goals are aligned.

Self-reliant digital buyers expect certain purchasing paths to be open to them, so marketing and sales must find a way to actually be effective in reaching those buyers.

Luckily, over half (53%) of marketers in the survey indicated they are prioritizing the integration of data across customer journeys in the coming year, demonstrating their readiness to make significant progress towards this goal.

De-Fragmenting the Data

Sales is reporting on revenue and pipeline, marketing is reporting on leads, but neither side is sharing that information. That creates a lack of clarity on which leads are generating revenue and what’s happening throughout each stage of the funnel. To de-fragment the data, teams must do several things:

  1. Invest in technology that facilitates data sharing. A CRM (customer relationship management) platform is the most common software for achieving this because it provides a centralized location for teams to track all customer and prospect data. For example, sales can save email conversations to the CRM to give context to the status of each relationship. Marketers can pull-in digital touchpoints across the website to interpret behaviors and track interactions with those contacts. Together, the two factions are able to contribute to a comprehensive data experience.
  2. Share more than just dashboards. Shared dashboards and KPI reports across the funnel will align the strategy and hold sales and marketing accountable for the roles they play. However, it’s crucial to extend communication beyond those dashboards and into real-world conversations. The teams must come together and have weekly discussions that bring that data to life.
  3. Cross-functional data ownership is a must. Co-ownership of the data and the sales and marketing strategies will help wary marketers feel more confident in their contributions. Shared metrics will empower them to pull meaningful insights about the work they’re doing and communicate clearly and consistently based on real-time feedback.

Marketers are struggling with imposter syndrome through no fault of their own. It’s not because they are incapable; they are simply feeling left out of the conversation. For sales and marketing to understand one another and share a vision, data must be co-owned and metrics must be communicated and discussed often.

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