For years, the only goal in life for Charlie was to become a StarKist® Tuna.
In more than 85 TV commercials he tried to prove he was a tuna with "good taste" - a lover of Shakespeare, classical music and the finer things in life. Unfortunately for Charlie, StarKist wanted only one thing: tuna that tastes good, so their response was always the same: "Sorry, Charlie!"
Same two words: taste and good. But, wow!, a world of difference in meaning by which word comes first. Unfortunately for Charlie, he could never understand the difference.
Marketing and sales teams in a lot of businesses often act like poor ol' Charlie.
They continue to push out brand-centric messages weighted down with product features, specifications, applications, etc. Attractive websites are little more than brochureware.
They never seem to understand prospects are really looking for solutions to their problems! Failing to address the buyers' needs, they continue trying to impress with "Look how great we are!" stuff.
Prospects respond "Sorry, Charlie!", by simply walking away.
A friend who loves to fish told me years ago, "To be great at fishing, you have to think like a fish." To be good, one has to know the basic behaviors of the fish they want to snag. What fishes do and how they do it - feeding habits, environmental preferences, defensive/escape maneuvers, fear factors, etc.
I'd recommend a similar thinking path for marketers and salespeople. Think like the prospect! Get in their heads for a change. Understand what they are looking for, what information will resonate with them, and what will ultimately make them comfortable enough to buy your product.
A national survey of Chief Sales Officers reveals that they recognize the situation. Their overall top priority for 2009 was reported to be "Enhancing Lead Generation". Another high priority was "More Closely Aligning Sales & Marketing". Certainly a flip of the calendar page to 2010 has not dampened the need to take a long, hard look at the marketing messages relied on to generate quality leads for the sales team.
Quit trying to impress how great your company and products are.
Focus on the customer. Be "findable" when they are looking for you. Give them the information (great content) they need to solve their problem, enhance their life, etc. Then, you'll be in better position to begin selling, Charlie!