Is anthropology a secret sales weapon?
Companies are spending more on enabling sales people to do their jobs more effectively than they do on creating demand for their product or service in the first place. 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.
There’s no denying that training sales staff is crucially important. That said, it seems that not enough money is being spent on making sure sales people have “chemistry” with their sales prospects. Because, 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 businesses need to take:
Step 1: Start by using anthropology.
This step is about finding out what really makes prospects tick. For example if you’re trying to sell software to the CTO of a large corporate, starting a sales conversation around how your technology can solve problems doesn’t differentiate your offering. However, by using anthropology, you may discover that CTOs have a genuine fear of irrelevance from a technology 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 instead start the sales conversation in a way that addresses this underlying fear directly.
Step 2: Ensure sales collateral speaks effectively to prospects.
In most sales scenarios, sales people will leave something behind after meeting a prospect – a brochure, a pen or a USB drive branded with the company’s logo.
The big take-out:
There are three steps to a successful sale, and it entails more than simply training sales people, says Demographica’s Warren Moss
In the 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. A better idea would be to leave behind a well-thought-out piece of content using research about staying technologically relevant. In this case, the collateral becomes much more effective, because it is relevant to the target market on a personal level.
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 would blame marketing people for not creating them in the first place.
However, to be effective, sales and marketing should be completely aligned in 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 being made 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.
Ultimately, it’s not the salespeople alone who are involved in the sales process. If a marketing campaign creates awareness, through chemistry between a potential prospect and the brand, the salesperson can close that loop by continuing that chemistry. When that happens, the chances of a sale being closed are much higher – because there is consistency and feeling in the marketing campaign.
• Warren Moss is CEO of Demographica.