Sales and marketing alignment is an ongoing struggle.

Marketing generates leads (MQLs) and gives them to the sales team. Sales takes those leads, starts to work them, and then something magical happens…or doesn’t. And it can often feel like a bit of a black box.

When times are good, and everyone is hitting their numbers, your salespeople are heroes. But when times are bad… suddenly, all of those leads were bad and the reason that sales didn’t hit their number. But in either case, marketing isn’t getting the data they need to properly attribute their programs, or the data to help them improve the leads going to the sales team.

For years, many sales and marketing automation solutions have been professing the importance of sales and marketing alignment. But most solutions have approached the problem from the perspective of aligning marketing TO sales. This is where the concept of lead scoring came from—it’s a way for the marketing team to recommend where sales should spend their time to get the maximum result.

Lead Scoring Versus the Cherry Picking

Even with a lead scoring process in place, salespeople will still apply their own filtering to their lead queue. The fact that leads come pre-prioritized and scored doesn’t mean that the salesperson who receives them will tackle the leads in that order (or call them at all for that matter).

Your salespeople will likely cherrypick the leads through their own biases and call the ones they like the most, whether it’s based on company size, industry, title, or other criteria that catches their eye—which is where everything breaks.

With the sales team cherrypicking leads, marketing doesn’t know which leads were followed up with. And sales doesn’t know if those MQLs were high quality in the first place if they haven’t gone through all of them.

And then the Monday morning management meeting blame game ensues.

The only solution to this problem is data—and the CEO making sales and marketing alignment a priority.

Using Data to Stop Cherrypicking and Increase Sales and Marketing Alignment

Imagine a situation where marketing gave sales 1,000 MQLs. Sales followed up with each of the leads, and there is detailed data showing how many sales touches each lead received and how far that deviates from the service level agreements that sales and marketing have set.

With data in-hand, you could see, for example, that only 5% of leads were properly followed up on. In this case, the data clearly shows that sales hasn’t held up their side of the agreement in qualifying and working the leads.

Or, the data could show that sales followed up on 95% of the leads and thoroughly disqualified all of them. Now sales can confidently say that those marketing leads weren’t high quality and have the data to back them up.

In other cases, the data may show that marketing has produced more leads than the sales team has the capacity to work, making it impossible for the sales team to give them all justice. This can help marketing to adjust the number of marketing campaigns in flight at one time.

With the right solution in place, you can capture how much time is spent per salesperson on a lead, which is incredibly important. Calculate how much time per lead each salesperson averages, and multiply it by the number of leads. If you are giving your salespeople more than 160 hours of lead follow-up work in a month, don’t expect a high conversion rate.

This is what real sales and marketing alignment can looks like—and it’s just one example of what can occur with the right data in-hand. allows you to capture every single sales activity into your CRM, without sales doing a thing, giving the data you need on your leads—as well as contacts, accounts, and opportunities. We’ve scanned over $3 billion in pipeline and less than 5% of leads globally get enough sales activity/calories/attention to even have a chance of being converted. To find out how to give your team the data they need to drive the alignment that’s critical to your business, schedule a demo today.