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In many companies the relationship between sales and marketing is a very difficult one. Unfortunately, this broken relationship is considered to be a standard of internal business dynamics despite costing companies millions of dollars every year.
Sales acceleration technology, focused on increasing the velocity of the sales process, can play a huge role in aligning sales and marketing, especially on the field.
With approximately 3 million field sales reps (non retail) in North America, there is a tremendous opportunity for tech startups to start focusing on sales acceleration for field.
The tech industry has noticed the depth of the problem, but even more the tremendous opportunity that lies ahead of us. That is why we see significant amounts of cash being funneled into sales technology startups that have the potential of increasing sales and marketing alignment to accelerate sales (like Clearslide, Yesware, InsideSales.com, and many others).
Spurred by the mobile revolution and the consumerization of enterprise software, the market is headed in a new direction where analytics and improved communication address this big and expensive problem.
According to a recent survey by Demand Metric on behalf of Showpad, the struggle between marketing and sales results in more than half of all companies regularly losing business due to a bad sales experience.
To accelerate sales and avoid a bad sales experience, businesses need to focus on aligning sales and marketing. But where to start? According to the report, 64 percent of sales teams said that marketing collateral is out of touch with their needs, while 76 percent of marketers believe the collateral they create.
What can possibly explain this dramatic difference of opinion? One of the main reasons is the fact that content usage and message delivery of sales interactions are a black box for the marketing department. Marketers are forced to make decisions on anecdotal stories and incomplete data. Until recently there has been no easy way for marketing to have full control over the content used by sales while also learning how their message resonates with buyers and partners.
Closing a sale is a subtle skill that often includes building a relationship with the right person at a company and anticipating the needs of different personalities and roles.
Interpersonal relationships are complicated by a lack of time (and patience) of prospects in response to selling tactics. Sales people are often left to hold complex conversations in very small windows of time that require specific pieces of content. If the content that they need isn’t available at a moment’s notice, it negatively impacts their credibility with prospects—and ultimately their sales opportunity.
Solutions need to bring together qualitative and quantitative information about a prospect and deliver the right collateral for the selling experience. It all starts on the foundation of data. Until some of the analytics gaps are solved, sales people will struggle to find the right content at the right time while the finger pointing continues.
Louis Jonckheere is vice president for North America and a co-founder of Showpad.
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