This shift emerges in many ways. You might have had a contact tell you to get rid of your slide deck. You would also have been asked to answer every stakeholder's questions, many of which would be about how you would address the systemic problems and challenges your contacts had experienced. This conversation is a much more difficult, dynamic, and complex conversation. Nothing in a "why us" slide deck offered any help.
To align sales and marketing, marketing must provide the sales force with a different conversation. This conversation needs to address the forces and factors that are the root causes of the client's challenges in producing the outcomes they need to reach their goals.
The 4th Level of Value and the Future of Sales and Marketing Strategies
To align sales and marketing strategies, you need to start with what buyers need from both the sales and marketing conversations. One way to do this is by working backward from the strategic outcome. Beginning with the end state, you can work your way to the internal and external obstacles that prevent the company from producing the results they need. This requires consultative selling training.
We talk a lot about empathy in business with few working to understand their clients, their challenges, and what they might need from a sales organization. Those who do this work enable marketing and sales to create greater value in the conversation they have with their buyers. You can skip right past the legacy conversations with no one objecting or insisting you spend half of the hour-long meeting talking about your company and your products. Your contacts will find you compelling when you provide them with the conversation they need, one based on a value creation model.
Too few sales organizations provide their sales force with the training and the support they need to present themselves as an authority and an expert in producing the outcomes their clients need. By aligning the sales conversation with what clients need to know, the salesperson is able to create and win deals. They will also improve their average close rate by providing a better and more valuable client experience, one better than your competitors. You’ll also improve sales performance.
Ending the Misalignment of Sales and Marketing Strategies
For a long time now, we have described this shift from "why us" to "why change." This is no longer true. If you are sitting across the table from your prospective client, they already know they need to change. They don't know what they don't know. In a time of uncertainty, what buyers want most of all is certainty.
In 2017, I published The Lost Art of Closing: Winning the 10 Commitments That Drive Sales. I spent a whole chapter on the strategy of working to resolve the client's concerns. When marketing and sales can align around a conversation that provides their contacts with what they need to move forward, we'll have something like alignment.