Buyers don't care about your product or service.
They care about the problems and opportunities they face and how your expertise can help them. Consequently, Marketing and Sales share a common goal: earning the right to connect with buyers.
As marketers, we're well aware that our priority has shifted from outbound to inbound marketing. For Sales, a similar dramatic shift has occurred—away from relationship selling to value selling. Now, salespeople must provide insights at each stage in the buying cycle to earn trust; that's an incredible challenge when buyers are doing homework on their own and engaging later on in the process—and only with a person and a company with expertise they respect.
Owning "awareness and lead generation," and then lobbing a lead over to Sales, is no longer sufficient for Marketing to do.
Generating qualified leads via inbound marketing and then helping Sales use content to address buyers' needs across the lifecycle has never been more important for creating opportunities and closing business. I'm referring to resources and insights that capture buyers' attention, spark conversation, offer problem framing and solving perspectives, demonstrate value, and trigger action.
The proverbial tough nut to crack: getting prospects to engage as early in the process as possible.
That's not an easy task when 70% of the buying process is complete before the buyer engages with a salesperson (SiriusDecisions). But it's all the more critical when 65% of the time executives go with the vendor that's been helping early on to set the buying vision (Forrester) and 39% of top producers offer buyers a novel perspective about how to win in the marketplace (The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation).
If those statistics don't grab you, then consider this: 66% of B2B buyers credit "consistent and relevant communication provided by both the sales and marketing organizations as a key influence in choosing the company they ultimately made a purchase from" (DemandGen Report and Genius.com).
Cliff Pollan is a co-founder and the president and CEO of Postwire. Get Cliff's latest e-book to share with your sales team: Be Relevant or Be Deleted: The Top 10 Ways to Sell Value.