At any given time only a tiny percentage of your prospect universe is open to hearing your sales story (where the prospect has identified a need and is willing to listen to “why you”).
So leading with a traditional sales approach will yield sub-par results in the great majority of interactions. I have received thousands of phone calls over the years that lead directly with the salesperson stating what they can do for me (“we are an IT services firm and would like to come and discuss your needs and our managed services program with you”). That salesperson is really counting on me to be in the market for IT services at the time of his call. 97% of those calls will be dismissed, maybe 3% are thinking about managed IT services and may listen to the caller.
Jump-starting the sales process requires that the salesperson capably influence the prospect by sharing relevant new ideas, insights and perspectives. When it comes to moving the sales process forward, curiosity serves as a powerful catalyst.
The successful revenue team knows that their ability to teach something of value to potential customers relates directly to generating more productive prospect conversations.
Is your marketing department focused on insight generation that can be developed into talking points for sellers? I bet they are. Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) has been teaching marketers about this for many years, and content marketing is now (or becoming) a core capability within most marketing teams.
The questions are more about the effectiveness of that content, and how (and in what format) it is shared with the sales team.
Those that do this well are operating as an effective revenue team, capable of influencing both prospects with active needs and those with latent needs. Those that do not are living with the significant interference brought on by a siloed organization.