Aligning sales and marketing is so fraught with assumptions, misunderstandings, and disagreement that we think both departments need a relationship therapy session!

Marketing has certain data needs. Sales has others.

Sales uses a CRM … but the marketing automation system might not integrate. Marketing says their leads are qualified – but Sales doesn’t trust them.

Relationship status? “It’s complicated.”

This co-dependent relationship may be on the rocks – but it’s not doomed for failure!

Sales and Marketing may have different data needs, but there’s a lot of overlap. When both teams have access to the same deep data, they can speak the same language.

A 2019 Demand Gen Report asked: What are your biggest challenges to maintaining data quality in your contact database? A full 1/3 (32%) of Sales and Marketing pros responded that their data was siloed.

In order to get aligned around lead qualification, conversion goals, and other metrics – sales and marketing must find common ground.

Luckily, these two departments have agreed to a data therapy session!

On the left: Senior Director of Commercial Sales Steve Waters offers the Sales perspective.

On the right: Email Marketing Manager Dominique Catabay reps Marketing.

What is the benefit of multiple data points? Relationship Therapy with Sales and Marketing

Are these two sides of the house fated to be at odds forever? We don’t think so.

Access to deep, rich data – and lots of it – helps marketers get personal, helps the sales team understand critical context, and it helps the two teams join forces.

We’ve bucketed B2B data into 4 categories:

  1. Firmographic data (Marketing’s favorite)
  2. Job function and area of responsibility (Sales’ favorite)
  3. Location data (Marketing loves)
  4. Reporting structure/org charts (Sales loves)
  5. Installed technologies (EVERYONE loves)

Read on to see which key data points each team should be relying on.

How much do we LOVE good data? Let us count the ways: Dear DiscoverOrg: Database Dating Advice for the Broken Hearted

 Firmographic data

Firmographic data is important at the top of the funnel – for determining fit, segmentation, and lead scoring: Marketing land. Sales relies on Marketing to make decisions based on solid data here, but for Marketing, firmographic data is personal.

Building marketing segmentation

Because the programs Marketing creates must be scalable, the data points we marketers typically work with should be easier to categorize and create segments with.

According to the same Demand Gen Report, 68% of Marketers have the goal of targeting more specific segments for better engagement in 2019.

A few of the data points we use at DiscoverOrg for segmentation include things like:

  • Job title / function
  • Seniority level
  • Industries
  • Location
  • Employee count
  • Tech stack
  • Revenue
  • NAICS code

Creating the Ideal Customer Profile

Both Sales and Marketing need to be on the same page when developing the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). A “qualified lead” means something different at every company, but whatever it is – Sales and Marketing must agree!

Determining the fit of a company – your Ideal Customer Profile – requires quite a few different data points. Depending on the solution you are selling, there are going to be more or less filters applied, but it may include the following:

  • Industry
  • Location
  • Company size (Employee Count and/or Revenue)
  • NAICS code

This information may be found using a combination of prospect websites, social profiles, public financial documents, and press releases.

Read it: The Ideal Customer Profile: Why “Fit” Data is so Important

Developing a targeted message at scale

Messaging is most effective when you are granular about segmentation and can write copy that is hyper-targeted.

Personalized messaging touches both Sales and Marketing sides of the house.

There are a lot of different data point combinations that allow personalization at scale.

Data points for personalized messaging:

  • Job function
  • Job title
  • Seniority level
  • Employee count
  • Location

Example of Sales + Marketing messaging

Here’s an example of how we used this combination of data points for a Sales + Marketing play that drove great results at a happy hour we were co-hosting in San Francisco during Dreamforce last year:

In order to drive attendance, we built targeted lists of Director-level prospects with a focus on inside sales, sales development, demand generation, event marketing, and sales/marketing operations, ALL working in the Bay Area and using Salesforce. These were super high-value contacts for us that had a high likelihood to already be in the area for Dreamforce.

The highly targeted segmentation resulted in registrations for the happy hour exceeding the capacity of the space by 10x! (We hosted the overflow at the location next door.)

That’s just one example of how you can use multiple data points to launch more effective marketing campaigns.

Location data for marketing campaigns

Sales often uses Location data for territory planning, but Marketers love Location data because it has so many use cases:

  • be more targeted with event promotion (like the Dreamforce happy hour example above)
  • get more strategic about the timing of email sends
  • send direct mailers to prospects or customers

These are just a few combinations our Marketing team uses. What are some ways you use multiple data points to launch more effective marketing campaigns?

By using a combination of multiple data points, you can speak more specifically to the value your solutions provide to individual prospects at scale.

 Job function and area of responsibility

Here’s where Sales is invested.

Many sales people assume that knowing job titles is good enough to determine whether their solution is applicable.

Title isn’t enough – Sales needs job function

Exhibit A: Titles aren’t standardized. One company’s “Digital Marketing Specialist” is another company’s “Web Manager” – which might be split into multiple functions at yet another company.

Exhibit B: Enterprise organizations have multiple similar job titles.

Job titles lose a lot of their power when you are selling to a company like Wells Fargo, who has hundreds of VPs of IT that are all responsible for different aspects of the IT department.

If your prospect is a landmark on a map, a job title is the city it sits in and job function is the whole address. You can try to make educated guesses or you can follow a map straight to what they care about.

 Department reporting structure (Org charts)

Marketing might not have much use for the org chart … but Sales loves org charts because they offer multiple points of entry to the account.

Org charts are a visual way to represent a company’s hierarchy. Accurate org charts are a goldmine for B2B sellers, because they display relationships between stakeholders, reporting structure, and job titles.

Org charts include data points such as:

  • Name
  • Title
  • Area/s of responsibility
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Physical location (may be different from company headquarters)

If a C-level or VP level individual is your buyer, they are likely a very highly prospected individual: Getting their attention can be tough. Here’s an example of when the org chart comes in handy for sales:

Starting at the Senior Director, Director, or Senior Manager level can be a great way to create groundswell and new opportunities. If you manage to engage your buyer, they will often refer the opportunity down to user buyers, coaches, influences, or technical buyers for review. Getting a referral for an evaluation most often leads to an opportunity. Think about it this way: if your CEO tells you to look at product, are you going to say no?

The most strategic salespeople use the org charts throughout the sales cycle to ensure they have the buying committee fully engaged. Given that there are typically between 8-15 people involved in an enterprise sales cycle (and just 1-2 contacts tied to the average opportunity in a CRM) – leveraging the org charts is a must for shortening sales cycles and increasing win rates.

Watch it: 5 Ways to Leverage Org Charts:

 Installed technologies (the “tech stack)

Both Sales and Marketing can leverage the tech stack for competitive intelligence, and ultimately to displace competitors.

Our win rate increases by 300% when we know key parts of a prospect’s technology stack. And it’s especially helpful when your target accounts happen to be using one of your competitors.

If your offering integrates with your prospect’s tech stack, it’s not a matter of whether a prospect can use a solution like yours: They can, and they do.

And if your Sales and Marketing teams are anything like ours, winning a contract that formerly belonged to a competitor is a sweet achievement that brings everyone together!

Read it: How to Use the Tech Stack to Displace Competitors

As you can see, a breadth and depth of data points is necessary for each team to do their job well … but the real magic happens when Sales and Marketing make killer plays together.

A thin layer of contact or company data by itself isn’t enough. For a healthy, solid relationship between both teams, you need deep data that is useful to both – together and separately.

While sales and marketing might prioritize data points differently, one thing is clear: More data on your prospects is always better. More data allows not only each team to their respective job better, but also to align and work together to close more deals

So, Sales and Marketing: How are we feeling now?

Keep those lines of communication open … and remember why you fell in love in the first place!



Read more from our sister company, ZoomInfo, on B2B marketing and sales alignment.


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Dominique Catabay
About the author

Dominique Catabay

Dominique Catabay is DiscoverOrg's Manager, Email Marketing. Before crossing the isle to Marketing, he was an Outbound Senior Sales Development Representative who hit $1M in cold-call revenue within 6 months. Dom has a B.S. in Business Administration and Marketing.