Anthropology – businesses’ secret weapon?

Words by Warren Moss CEO and founder of Demographica

While there can be no doubt as to the importance of a sales department, the fact is that it’s not just salespeople who are involved in an organisation’s sales process.

According to the Harvard Business Review, the average business spends three times more on their sales training and sales enablement than they do on their media spend or marketing efforts. This shows that companies are spending far more on enabling sales people to do their jobs more effectively, and far less on creating demand for their product or service in the first place.

While no one can deny that training your sales staff is crucially important, it seems that not enough money is being spent on making sure these sales people have “chemistry” with their sales prospects. Because after all, no matter how good your sales technique is, people buy from people – and more importantly, they buy from people they like.

So, the real question then becomes: how can your business train and enable salespeople to make real connections with their prospects, and then arm them with collateral that enhances that chemistry and connection? Here are the three steps your business needs to take:

Step 1: Start by using anthropology.

In this first step, you find out what really makes your prospect tick. Say for example you’re trying to sell software to the CTO of a large corporate. If you start your sales conversation around how your technology can solve their problems, you’re not differentiating yourself. But if you use anthropology, you may discover that CTOs have a genuine fear of irrelevance in that from a tech point of view, most of them are preoccupied with ensuring their company is still around in 10 years’ time. Understanding this underlying fear around relevance means you can understand them on a human level, and then tap into this. Armed with this insight, you can rather start the sales conversation in a way that directly addresses this underlying fear.

Step 2: Make sure your sales collateral speaks effectively to your prospects.

In most sales scenarios, a salesperson will have something that he leaves behind after meeting with his prospect, such as a brochure, or an object like a pen or USB drive branded with his company’s logo. In the CTO example above, this may mean leaving a brochure showing images of the technology you’re selling. But again, this material doesn’t speak to the CTO’s underlying fear of irrelevance. This could translate into leaving behind a well thought out piece of content showing research of how to stay technologically relevant. If this is the case, all of a sudden the collateral becomes much more effective, because it speaks more personally more to the type of person they’re selling to.

Step 3: Create alignment between marketing and sales

Traditionally, sales and marketing departments operated in silos. If things went wrong, marketing people would blame sales people for wasting leads – or sales people blamed marketing people for not creating them in the first place. But to be effective, sales and marketing should be completely aligned and have a symbiotic relationship. After all, if marketing is generating the right kind of demand, and sales is able to turn that demand into business, sales commissions and budgets grow –  because sales are happening more effectively. That’s why these days, marketing plays a much greater role in nurturing sales leads to become more than just marketing qualified leads. Only once a lead becomes a sales qualified lead does the marketing department hand it over to the sales team to close it.

While there can be no doubt as to the importance of a sales department, the fact is that it’s not just salespeople who are involved in an organisation’s sales process. If you have a marketing campaign that creates awareness, which in turn is created through chemistry between a potential prospect and your brand, your salesperson can then close that loop by continuing on that chemistry. If that happens, the chances of a sale being closed is much higher – because there is consistency and feeling in the marketing campaign. Using the three steps outlined above, this becomes highly achievable.

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