“In three months our sales pipeline has doubled in size, and our close rate is up by 150%.”

Stuart RatnerCOO, A3 Solutions
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Below is over ten years of summary 3rd-party market research that documents how ineffective most B2B companies’ customer communications (messaging/value propositions, content and sales conversations) are and how devastating this problem is on marketing and sales effectiveness.

The research was then compiled into the following:

Customer Communication Index

  • Less than 50% of your marketing and sales communications are relevant to your customers
  • Less than 30% of your marketing content is relevant to your customer-facing teams

Just for a moment, consider these data points and the cost burden they place on your P&L. Even if your organization is better than the average B2B company, the cost is still way too high, and avoidable.

Companies use the index in three primary ways:

  1. To educate peers and colleagues on the #1 barrier to greater market success
  2. As foundational data to calculate cost and lost revenue of the status quo
  3. As an objective way to measure improvement over time

Summary Research Data

 “65% of business decision makers said “much of it is useless’ when asked about the value of vendor content”

 – Forrester Research, 2015


 “74% of the executive buyers surveyed said that salespeople focus too much on their product, and only 34% felt salespeople did a good job communicating business value.”

 – Gartner 2013


 “The greatest inhibitor to sales effectiveness is the inability to communicate a value message.”

SiriusDecisions, 2013


“When prospects do see your messaging, they only see 10 percent as relevant to them.”

Corporate Executive Board (CEB) & IDC 2012


“According to sales management, the salesperson’s ability or inability to communicate value messages is the biggest inhibitor keeping salespeople from achieving quota.”

PMM Survey, SiriusDecisions, 2012


“The most difficult issue for marketers is creating a compelling value proposition.”

Frost & Sullivan’s Growth Team Membership (GTM) 2012 Survey for the Americas.


“Up to 60 percent of qualified leads end up in ‘no decision’.”

Sales Benchmark Index, 2012


“Outcome of Deals Forecasted: Wins 48%, Losses 28% and No Decision 24%, based on responses from more than 1600 B2B sales and marketing executives across industries.”

CSO Insights 2012 Sales Performance Optimization


“In CEB’s research on how B2B buyers and decision makers chose one brand over another and how they decide whether to stay loyal or not, 53 percent said their interaction with field salespeople was the biggest differentiator.”

– Corporate Executive Board (CEB) 2012


“Time spent with content or searching for it comprises 56% of the buying experience. Here is how buyers say they spend their time during their buying process:

  • 23% in discussions with colleagues
  • 21% with sales team interaction
  • 19% searching the web
  • 19% with educational content
  • 18% reviewing promotional content”

– IDC, 2012: Sales Enablement Strategy: Content is King So Why Does Sales Feel Like a Jester?


“62% of buyers said that content is either not relevant or not useful. Buyers said they want shorter buying cycles, but the lack of relevant information to educate them, and all other influencers, is slowing things down.”

– IDC, 2012: Sales Enablement Strategy: Content is King So Why Does Sales Feel Like a Jester?


“Buyers’ top complaints about content: 86% of buyers say content is neither useful, relevant, nor aligned with needs of people in the buying decision.”

– IDG Connect 2011


“The availability of product and service information on the web and through social networks has fundamentally transformed the marketing and sales funnel, putting pressure on Marketing and Sales to align both process and content/messaging.”

– Aberdeen Group, 2011: Sales and Marketing Alignment: The New Power Couple


“Only 11% of sales conversations are viewed as valuable by executives”

– Forrester Research – Executive Roundtable Discussion, 2010


 “The #1 barrier to Sales hitting quota is their inability to communicate value”

– Sirius Decisions Quota Inhibitors Survey, 2010


“Online technology vendor marketing information is relevant to potential buyers ‘less than half the time,’ according to a survey of nearly 400 information technology buyers conducted by International Data Group. The online survey found that an average of six technology, business, and financial professionals are involved in major technology purchases, and that each has their own preference about content and how it is displayed online. The respondents said that they found ‘relevant’ content only 42% of the time. The survey found that lack of relevancy in vendor marketing content reduced the vendor’s chance of closing a sale by 45%.”

– IT Buyer Survey, International Data Group, December 2008


“We found that there was a direct correlation between the quality of the message that Sales uses in their process and the ability of reps to close business. The ability of sales reps to sell value and avoid discounting was also much higher.”

– CSO Insights, Sales Performance Optimization, 2007 Survey Results


“One of the biggest sales effectiveness problems is that the majority of salespeople are left to develop their own messaging. Marketing must fill this gap. They must provide effective messaging to Sales and a feedback system to monitor messaging quality. Marketing cannot ‘not’ do this.”

– Dave Stein, CEO, ES Research Group, Inc., 2007


“Companies are at least six times more likely to have a “best provider” relationship when they understand the business goals of the individual IT and business stakeholders and can articulate the business value of their solutions in terms of how it impacts each stakeholder directly.”

– Forrester Research, November 2006


“Over 65% of sales leaders feel they’re losing business because they don’t have a compelling value proposition.”

– Miller Heiman, Sales Best Practice Study, 2006


“Companies that describe themselves as world-class in terms of 1) consistent customer [sales] messaging provided to Sales and 2) collateral driven by market segments and customer needs:

  • Outpaced other firms in quota achievement by 25 percent
  • Had win rates that were 20 percent higher
  • Were three times more successful in proposal closing
  • Were five times better at eliminating excessive

– CSO Insights Study, 2005


“As Joe Galvin of the Gartner Group told me: ‘Marketing needs to provide meaningful content that is tied to specific people at the different stages of the selling process. Salespeople need flexible and dynamic content to meet the challenges of different selling situations. This allows companies to really make their salespeople powerful.’”

– Escaping the Black Hole (2005) by Robert J. Schmonsees


“As much as 40% of a sales rep’s time is spent creating presentations, customizing messaging and preparing for pitches.”

– CMO Council Study, 2004


“More than 75 percent of marketing executives believe they are doing a poor job of managing marketing and sales messages and content.”

– Bill Glazier, Making Marketing Messaging Meaningful, published by the CMO Council (Palo Alto, CA: June 3, 2004)


“Some 80 to 90 percent of marketing collateral is considered useless by Sales.”

– Proceedings of the Customer Message Management Forums, published by the American Marketing Association and Ventaso (2002 and 2003)


“Salespeople typically spend 30 to 50 hours per month searching for information and re-creating customer-facing content.”

– Bridging the Great Divide: Process, Technology, and the Marketing/Sales Interface, research published by Aberdeen Group (Wellesley, Massachusetts: 2002)


“The primary disconnect between marketing and sales organizations is the ineffective creation, validation, and delivery of the value proposition messages.”

– Marketing Alignment Benchmark Study, published by Holden Corporation (Hoffman Estates, IL: 2001). Holden Corporation, one of the leading B-to-B sales training companies, recently completed a five-year study with more than 1187 participants (460 sales, 727 marketing).


“75 percent of marketing and salespeople are unable to consistently and effectively articulate their value propositions.”

– Marketing Alignment Benchmark Study, conducted by Holden Corporation (Hoffman Estates, IL: 2001)



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