It’s the toughest challenge facing any sales team: creating new opportunities. Most salespeople agree that prospecting is not something they enjoy. Sales leaders concede that in any case, prospecting is probably the most unstructured and least productive activity the individual salesperson engages in.
Smart sales leaders also know that sending a sales professional out to fight this battle alone is a hit-or-miss approach that ignores one of the rock-bottom basics of business: opportunity creation equals revenue growth. And growth doesn’t happen without a coordinated, organization-wide effort.
From the CEO to the customer service rep, everyone has to be onboard with the message to the market. Miller Heiman’s research has found that 96% of top-performing sales organizations report that this statement applies to them: “We have a formalized value proposition that is very compelling to our prospects.”
These companies know the value they provide, and they know how to express that value in messages that connect to their intended recipients. It should not be news to anyone that sales and marketing must work together to formulate, perfect, and present these messages.
Sales and marketing alignment has long been a critical strategic issue for all organizations, and today the benefits of combining forces are clearer than ever. When sales and marketing have a shared view of what the customer wants and needs, marketing campaigns are in sync with sales initiatives, and the sales force has confidence that the entire organization stands behind them.
In recent years, marketing’s role in creating opportunities has grown in significance through the use of marketing automation platforms to drive demand-generation efforts and create more qualified leads for sales. As I’ve written elsewhere, marketing also influences a high percentage of opportunities through social, outbound, and other marketing strategies to drive interest and awareness.
Ultimately, the quota-bearing sales professionals carry the burden of bringing the business home. But when marketing is a full partner in identifying and creating the right kinds of opportunities, winning gets easier.
Joe Galvin leads the Miller Heiman Research Institute as Chief Research Officer. His mission is to continuously research, measure, and analyze the best practices, innovations, and emerging trends for complex B2B sales organizations to provide clients with the insights required to make strategic decisions.
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