I know, I know… the sales / marketing disconnect has been talked and written about for years. The problem now is that we need to fix it. With the rapid market shifts in competitive advantage and strategy, the new oil for salespeople is knowledge. Marketing (and to a degree, product management) has been unfairly tasked with providing this knowledge to sales. I say unfairly tasked because the role of marketing and the agencies that support them is not the granular level of knowledge, in real time, that sales needs to compete and win. Their role is higher level branding and perhaps lead generation.
If I asked you to make an investment with a 90% probability of no return, would you do it? Well, that's exactly what's happening. American Marketing Association (CMO Council) reports that 90% of what sales gets from marketing is not being used. Precision Guided Selling was purpose built to fill this gap. Marketing and product still play a crucial role in this effort, just not the lead role. What salespeople require today is not broad value statements but access to knowledge that gives them access to executives; knowledge that allows them to lead the customer decision process rather than just understand it; the knowledge to map value drivers directly to customer business initiatives and finally the knowledge to anticipate what will happen in the negotiation and what weapons will diffuse attempts at commoditization and price pressure.
Words coming out of salespeople's mouths have never been more important. As many of you know, Forrester reports that buyers have already collected knowledge available on the web and are "60-90% ahead of sellers." Sellers need for real time knowledge that adds value to customer conversations has never been so important. As mentioned in my previous blog, without a technology and knowledge conduit to sales they are making these conversations up on the fly or reverting to old patterns that are not relevant in the new world.