We’ve all earned a few scars as we’ve tried to drive sales and marketing alignment in our organizations. In years past, sales and marketing leaders had to lean hard on their charisma and use their counterpart’s desire to be viewed as a good corporate team player to drive alignment. No wonder those alignments rarely outlasted the tenure of the department’s leader!

Today, data-driven marketing professionals have found smart ways to instead use data to drive sales and marketing alignment. Here’s how those marketers are doing it, as shared in our recent data-driven marketing meetup.

Align Your Language

It’s every marketer’s worst nightmare. You’re in a meeting with your sales counterpart, and you’re getting all fired up about a shared initiative, only to realize midway through that the two of you were talking about very different things. How do you avoid it? By making sure you’re using the same definitions and terminology.

Mimi Rosenheim, Director of Web Marketing, Demandbase, shared one such meeting nightmare scenario. “I was going in kind of all excited about something that is going to help them, but since I wasn’t speaking in their language, my credibility was shot and it took a lot to gain that back.”

How’d she rebound from that meeting disaster? By framing future meetings in the language of the sales team’s goals and objectives. Now, instead of talking in marketing-speak about what her team is doing, she’s careful to instead focus on using sales terminology and presenting her results from a sales perspective.

“Now, I go in and am very clear about what’s happening in my channel and how that’s impacting pipeline,” she said. “I go through how that’s impacting their funnel velocity, or other things that are key to what their goals on—and which they’re getting paid based on what I contribute.”

It’s in the CRM or It Doesn’t Exist

In addition to finding a common language with sales, it’s also important to have a common data platform. Without that common platform—and its inherent agreement on KPIs, definitions, and language, it’s impossible to have a conversation around the data.

“We try to really rigorously drive not just agreement on the metrics, but the fundamental language of what we do through SalesForce and through tools like talking to us through Marketo,” said Claire Hunsaker, Senior Director of Demand Generation, Okta. “Making sure that everything’s integrated so that we’re pulling that into a place so the sales people can see it.”

In addition to the discord that can crop up in these conversations over the source of data, there’s also the inevitable disagreement over attribution. Depending on who is pulling the data—and from what system—there can be significant disparities between which team is getting credit for which leads. That’s why Emma Dunstone, Vice President, Marketing at Mixpanel takes her conversations up a level, sidestepping and potential attribution conflict.

“I elevate the conversation up to the whole pipeline,” said Dunstone. “How are we doing in generated pipeline, then what activities are we doing to help generate pipeline, and the sales agents—what are they doing to generate pipeline from the sales side?”

For many of our clients, is that single source of truth that is used to facilitate sales and marketing alignment conversations like these. To see how can help your organization improve its sales and marketing alignment, sign up for a demo.