The Biggest Disconnect Between Sales and Marketing Today

Businesses of all sizes and industries struggle with the disconnect between marketing and sales. As soon as a company is large enough to have marketing department the rift between marketing and sales opens up. For emerging businesses and startups, this disconnect can be what determines success or failure of the entire business.

To understand the root causes of the disconnect, you have to understand the four levels of value in sales.

Level 1 = a great product

Level 2 = a great experience, which is service and support

Level 3 = a great solution so you can prove your ROI

Level 4 = a strategic value that speaks to something else.

This is where real sales and business acumen come into play. Level 4 salespeople have to be able to talk about political, economic, technological, scientific and cultural changes. They have to be able to talk about threats to their client’s business model and opportunities to do something different and produce a better result to leapfrog competition.

Those are the things that are interesting and relevant for a salesperson to talk about when they’re sitting across from a decision maker in a prospect’s office.

Here’s the thing: if you were to take all of your marketing materials and lay it out across a table you are going to find that most of your marketing content is at Level 1 or Level 2. It’s product specific, or experience specific. When you get into white papers and case studies you may have some content that starts to approach Level 3. They will be about the tangible results you produce — about ROI. Everyone can play at all three of these levels.

Where you can set yourself apart is with a Level 4 sales person who is selling strategic advantage and can become an integrated part of the client’s decision making. To do that, salespeople need Level 4 content. They need content that answers the question:

Why should I change and do something different than I’m doing now?

You cannot overestimate the resistance to change you’ll find with prospects. The status quo is deeply entrenched. Many businesses have post traumatic recessionary stress disorder, which makes it very difficult for them to embrace change. They can’t get consensus within their own organization, and they need a salesperson to help drive that change.

That means you have to be able to show them all of the negative repercussions of the status quo. What are the implications of not changing. Your marketing materials need to show the opportunities your client will have if they do change.

The major disconnect is messaging. Stack up all of your marketing materials on a table and look at how much of it is level one. It talks about you, your company, your products, benefits and features. Look at the tiny stack that is case studies. How much of is says WHY your client should change and do something different.

Your salespeople need a very different message to take to their customers and prospects. And you need salespeople capable of delivering Level 4 value.