“Where there is data smoke, there is business fire.” — Thomas Redman

A marketing manager from one of my B2B clients stated that he preferred to ask salespeople to create spreadsheets of potential invitees to events, rather than force them to provide invitees directly from the CRM.

His rationale for this approach is that salespeople won’t keep their CRM contacts up-to-date, which results in bad data that he can’t rely on to send event invites.

There are variations of this story across B2B organizations that have invested significant sums in CRM and marketing automation technology, yet they have failed to deploy pragmatic processes and instill sales and marketing alignment at the most basic level — contact management.

Technology-rich, but insights and ROI poor

If marketing teams point to salespeople as the ones responsible for CRM use (or lack thereof) and good data, those marketing teams are destined for the dustbin — you won’t be seeing “Big Data,” marketing ROI or strategic insight from them. You’ll find that these organizations are not only underutilizing their CRM and marketing technology investments, they’re also making too many decisions based on tribal knowledge or gut instinct rather than data.

These marketing teams need to approach the problem differently.

Leading organizations have realized that good CRM data is a team sport.

In these organizations, salespeople are the “front line” for good CRM data, and they align with teams from marketing, sales enablement, sales operations, marketing operations, product management, and operations. None of these teams would venture to ask the sales team anything about customers, contact or opportunity data that did not come from the CRM. And you won’t find parallel efforts to manage this data via spreadsheets.

You’ll also find sales and line of business leaders in these organizations fully vested in the team approach because they recognize that the growth of the company is at stake!

If you want a transition from crappy data to great data, the first step is to elevate the conversation to the right leadership teams. Trust me that they all have a vested interest in better data and the insight it provides.

Salespeople are not the cause of bad CRM data. Lack of alignment and leadership are the culprits.

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