Guest post by John Barrows, CEO @ JBarrows Sales Training

There’s a difference between sales-ready messaging and marketing messaging. Unfortunately, too many companies don’t understand the distinction. The unintended consequence is that they hurt their sales team’s prospecting efforts.

Marketing Messaging vs. Sales Messaging

Marketing messaging typically focuses on the overall features and benefits of a solution and includes the requisite buzzwords like transparency, synergy, and ‘leading provider of.’ Sales teams then take this messaging and put it into their e-mails and call scripts. As a result, sales communications sound like a regurgitated marketing talk track.

The easiest way to explain the difference between marketing and sales messaging is that marketing messaging usually says stuff like “on average our clients see a 32% increase.” Sales messaging should be more specific. It should convey something like “we showed XYZ client in your industry how to increase their conversion rates by 32%.” See the difference?

Marketing is a broader, more general message. Sales-ready messaging should be specific and focused.

To break through the noise, sales reps need to be as precise and targeted with their messaging as possible. This doesn’t mean templated communications aren’t useful, but a little personalization goes a long way. SalesLoft did a great study on this.

For the sake of effectiveness, sales teams must find the right balance between effort and reward. SalesLoft’s data science team found that 20% is the optimal amount of personalization in an e-mail to maximize performance. Outside of that 20% personalization, the rest of the content (template or not) needs to be targeted to ensure relevancy to the person you’re sending to. Sales messaging is important to get right so that your team’s efforts aren’t wasted.

Sales email probability of replies proportion of personalization

To develop sales-ready messaging, begin by breaking down your addressable market by the target industries. Then, section out the personas within those industries. Finally, research the top three challenges and priorities these people face, in the current year.

How to Develop Sales Messaging

  • Break down your addressable market by target industries.
  • Section out specific personas within those industries.
  • Research the current top three challenges and priorities these people face.

For example, CIOs in the healthcare industry have different priorities than CIOs in the manufacturing industry. Also, CIOs in the healthcare industry have different challenges in 2019 compared to 2018. Only after you understand the details of each persona’s particular challenges and priorities can you map the specific components of your solution to each need they help address. Then, you can tie in an expected result.

Most companies have multiple products and/or components of their solution that can add value to customers. However, too many organizations make the mistake of combining them into one overall value prop or elevator pitch. That is the job of marketing. Sales should carve up the overarching value prop and segment it to address a prospect’s specific needs.

John Barrows at SalesLoft's Rainmaker

A Real World Example

Let’s use my sales training as an example. The typical value prop or elevator pitch is “We provide sales training and consulting that focuses on prospecting, meeting execution, negotiation, objection handling, and closing.” That’s great but what if I send that e-mail or make that call and you don’t respond? What’s the next thing I’m going to say?

“Hi, it’s me again. Touching base, checking in…”

“…Did you get a chance to see my first e-mail?”

“…Bubbling this one up to the top.”

Instead, we should section out the value prop to tell a story. The story we communicate aligns different components of our solution with specific challenges and priorities a certain persona is facing.

The result of this process is multiple messages the sales team can use to tell their story. These serve as templates, personalized to specific personas. Once the messages are constructed, split test them to determine which ones work the best. They should sound something like this:

“CIOs in the Healthcare industry leverage (insert targeted solution component) to see (desired result).”

Pro Tip: Tie the results to a case study in a similar industry, if possible.

A closing thought on usage. You can have the most targeted, persona-specific sales-ready messaging in the world and it won’t do you any good if your sales team doesn’t use it. Making content easily accessible across the sales organization is necessary to enable personalization at scale.

For more reading, check out these 6 free sales training tips from John.


For additional, in-depth help going through the process of creating sales-ready messaging, join the JBarrows team at Salesloft’s upcoming Rainmaker conference, March 11-13 in Atlanta. On March 11th, John will be hosting a session that will detail the creation of sales-ready messaging for your organization in the Level Up workshop.

John and his team provide customized sales training and consulting services for clients like Salesforce.com, Google, Slack, and many others with a focus on driving results with proven techniques and reinforcement tools that impact adoption and behavior change.

Learn more and purchase tickets here.

Rainmaker 2019