Marketing. Help!

I just saw a post on LinkedIn suggesting Marketing should ask Sales Reps what they need.   It inspired me to give this single answer.  Let's assume I’m an enterprise sales person.  If Marketing could give me one thing, one simple idea, one item that I rarely get, that would have the single biggest impact on selling better, what would it be?

Customer Data: lots of excruciating detail on how current customers are benefiting from our solutions.  That’s it.  That’s what marketing should spend it’s time getting and sharing.  Please.

What KPIs were improved?  By how much?  What initiatives were impacted?  Why did those initiatives exist in the first place?  What pains are reduced?  By how much?  Why us and not the competition?  What did the champion have to tell his boss?  What was the ROI?  Quantify.  Details!  Aggregate the answers to those questions across many customers, especially the stuff that can be represented by numbers, and you have an extremely powerful weapon.  One that can be used throughout a sales cycle, from early qualification to final signature.  By the way, this is exactly the sort of data necessary to practice challenger selling that’s all the buzz right now.

And no, this is not your dad’s success story we’re talking about.  Or some narration by a rep of general platitudes, like how he helped the champion get promoted, shared over a steak dinner.  The data is the key part.  How much was Average Sales Price improved?  How was IT Risk reduced?  How much faster are applications deployed.  By how much were support calls moved from phone to web?  How did we align to their mobility or virtualization initiative?  And on and on.

It’s not more product info.  Not more competitive info.  Not better CRM.  Not new features.  Not more trade shows.  Etc.  Would all those things help?  Of course.  But they're secondary to arming me to ask the right questions, and tell a provocative and compelling story.  To sell Value.  To learn, align, and quantify.

Look, I know what I’m suggesting isn’t easy.  Customers are not just waited to share all this data with us.  But if we really have helped them, don't we deserve to know?  Focus on getting that info.  It will be worth it.