A few years ago, I took the helm of customer & market intelligence (CMI) for a large vendor. Executives wanted analysis that was more relevant — intelligence that was “deeper,” “more actionable,” and provided “knock-out punches.”

As a CMI leader, you likely hear the same thing. But, as you try to improve, you get feedback such as “the material is not helpful,” “looks the same as before,” or “isn’t specific enough.”

In hindsight, if I were to join a CMI team again, I would take a completely different approach — instead of trying to refine the research itself, I would change the design point.

CMI’s sales-oriented purpose is to prepare sales teams for customer conversations!

Earlier this week, during an interview with Forrester, a CMI leader commented, “CMI can make a strategic impact on sales because it prepares sales teams about important topics and potential surprises in customer conversations.”

But across the tech industry, CMI is not succeeding:

  • A Forrester survey of technology buyers shows that only 38% of sales “reps understand the customer’s issues and are able to identify how the vendor can help.”
  • Preliminary data from a Forrester study of marketing executives shows that 65% claim that one of their biggest strengths is “knowledge of the markets and customers we serve.”[i]

How can 65% of marketing groups claim “knowledge” as a strength when only 38% sales teams are able to “understand” the customer’s needs?

Is sales not listening to marketing? Is marketing not communicating with sales?

Where is the gap?

How are you evaluating the value of CMI materials for sales? Who in your company is accountable for “customer knowledge?” Is your CMI team helping or hindering the market shift of selling “business outcomes?”


In our next teleconference, we will explore this topic:

    Customer And Market Intelligence (CMI) For Sales Enablement Success
    Date: Tuesday, November 9
    Time: 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. Eastern time (50 minute presentation, 10 minute Q&A)
    Registration: Free to clients; nonclients, contact your Forrester representative for a complimentary pass

Information on the teleconference



[i]Preliminary results from Forrester’s North American and European B2B Marketing Organizations and Investments Online Survey