snap This is a guest post written by Jill Konrath, bestselling author of SNAP Selling & Selling to Big Companies and popular speaker at annual sales meetings. 

Dear Marketing,

I know we haven't always gotten along.  In fact, I've been pretty critical of you over the years.

I've complained that you're not doing enough to get us business. I've blamed you when our new offerings fail to achieve projected success. I've accused you of being out of touch with what's really going on with our customers and prospects.

The truth is, I don't want to be the fall guy when I don't reach my numbers. You don't either.

You've been just as hard on me as I've been on you. You've criticized my salespeople's skills, telling everyone in the company that we're incapable of selling value. You've carped about our bonuses, whined about our expenses or grumbled that we weren't working hard enough. Enough already. We need to stop this blame game or neither of us will be successful.

Personally, I'm at my wit's end. It's harder than ever to reach our numbers and I don't see things getting any easier in the future – especially when I talk to the people who buy our products and services.

It typically takes my salespeople eight to ten contacts before they have a conversation with a prospective customer. We just can't afford to keep doing this. It's not a good use of our sales force's time.

You know what drives my sales people nuts? When you send over a ton of unqualified leads that you got at a tradeshow or some other promo event you did. Again, we don't have the time to do this. When we finally uncover a company who can realize significant benefits from our offering, typically they're not actively making a purchase decision. Instead, they're trying to determine if it makes good business sense to change.

Even our hottest prospects sometimes disappear into a black hole because it's just plain easier to stay with the status quo than to invest all the time and effort into making a change. That's what we're facing out there every single day.

Traditional prospecting and sales strategies don't work anymore with today's crazy-busy buyers. We're spending more time and effort than ever before, but getting diminishing returns. We desperately need your help or we're not going to make it. It all starts with high quality leads that you've nurtured.

Let's get together and agree on what this means – soon. We can't wait any longer. Plus we need tools to nurture prospects. These are things you can create for us.

I've got some ideas that might make it easier for us both. SNAP.

SNAP Rule 1: Keep it Simple

  Our overwhelmed prospects grind to a screeching halt whenever they encounter complexity. From their perspective, this means anything that feels difficult to decipher, difficult to decide on or difficult to implement.

SNAP Rule 2: Be iNvaluable

Now more than ever, our prospects want to work with companies that “know their stuff" and who continually bring them new ways to improve their business. In reality, that's our biggest competitive differentiator today – not our products or services.

SNAP Rule 3: Always Align

Virtually the first questions our crazy-busy prospects ask is, "Is this relevant?" They don't have time for anything else. And I hate to be brutal with you, but 90% of our prospects think that information about our products and services is totally irrelevant.

SNAP Rule 4: Raise Priorities

On a daily basis, our prospects are buffeted by newly arising emergencies, reorganizations, shifting market dynamics, and ever evolving corporate directives. It’s an absolute imperative to work with them on their priority projects.

So what do you think? I'm offering you a peace pipe and a chance to create a better future. I think it'll only happen if we're ready to work together. And I'm ready. I need you now more than ever.

We need to attract those online seekers and get them into our database. Then we need to keep sending them great information till they're ready to make a change.

Looking forward to talking soon,

Sales

Photo Credit: SidewaysSarah


Originally published May 13, 2011 12:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016

Topics:

Marketing and Sales Alignment