I hate to admit it, but I need to quote a line from the movie “Beaches”. In the attached clip (its only 4 seconds) CC Bloom, the self-absorbed actress played by Bette Midler, utters a fantastically relevant quote for today’s sales and marketing professionals.
This one quote best sums up the state of affairs in the trenches. Your firm is sending your sales force to talk about your company and not the needs of the people who have the wallets to compensate you. Ulitmately, sales forces are being prepared with a variety of messages about how great your company is (but enough about me) and they are getting a few hours of executive-skill training in a day or two of genric executive selling courses (lets talk about you.). Unfortunately, most lack the empathy of those executives to engage in a converation about the clients real business issues and revert back to talking about things they know (what do you think about me).
What proof do we have of this?
Each year for the past 5 years, Forrester has conducted an executive buyer study comprising of two parts. The first part is a 38 question survey gathering the opinions of executives across the globe in different functions (finance, sales, manufacturing, human resources, IT, etc) and at different levels. We follow up these survey questions with at least 100 interviews with roles that fit our profile to catch the color commentary that really brings richness to the insights.