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Only 40% of sales organizations clearly understand a customer's issues before proposing a solution, according to Miller Heiman Group. Moreover, 90% of selling content is never used in selling, and 58% of the sales pipeline ends up in "no decision" or stalled deals because Sales has not presented value effectively, according to QVidian.


That's three strikes against sales effectiveness: Sales reps…

  1. Don't understand the buyer's world and associated needs
  2. Aren't using the selling content they're provided
  3. Don't know how to communicate real value to the buyer

Whose fault is it... the sellers'? They often get the blame: They don't hit their quota (only 63% of sales reps do), and they are given their marching papers.

Now, this might sound strange, but I think the blame (and opportunity) should center on the marketing function—before it's even time to go to market.

Why Does This Go-to-Market Sales Performance Problem Exist?

Why? Because marketing organizations aren't taking the time to position the solutions that they want to go to market with—to make sure that they are in tune with the value prospects want.

In fact, one of my firm's partners, Lawson Abinanti from Messages That Matter, completed a study that found 57% of technology and software marketers don't have a formal process for positioning. Fully 53% of the participants admitted that they don't think they do enough research during the positioning process, and 45% don't think they spend enough time on positioning. As a result, there's "me too" positioning, messaging around commodity benefits (instead of unconsidered needs that can drive an unexpected urgency), and talk of "transformations" that have no business value to IT buyers.

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image of Bruce Scheer

Bruce Scheer is president of FutureSight, provider of go-to-market revenue enablement services. He also heads up the Go-to-Market Sales and Revenue Enablement Group LinkedIn community.

LinkedIn: Bruce Scheer