Prospects Are People Too: The Person(a) behind the Account

November 06, 2014 | Wendy Goeckel
Prospects Are People Too: The Person(a) behind the Account

Sales reps are given territories, and in those territories are accounts that they are responsible for. When they plan for the quarter, it’s referred to as account planning. Their goals are set in terms of the companies or accounts that they manage.

But when it comes to the actual conversations they’re having, reps are not standing outside of a physical building yelling at it. Their sales conversations are with actual people. A company doesn’t sign the purchase order; a person within the company does. Accordingly, they should be communicated with—from content to conversations—as distinct individuals.

Related Article: Time to Ditch the Pitch? The Shift to the Sales Conversation

Unfortunately, the people who provide content for the sales reps to use—the supply chain behind the sales force—doesn’t always understand that. Marketing often creates broad-level messaging and content for a particular industry, but not necessarily targeted to specific people in sales reps’ accounts.

And while most marketing organizations don’t have the bandwidth to create a persona for each individual prospect on the sales radar, they can get a little closer to those individual conversations by creating types of people, or personas. Personas, or archetypes of the Sales Manager, Director, VP and so on, can then be translated into 1:1 conversations that reps are having with prospects and customers.

Even still, persona-based messages need to be adjusted by sales reps based on the business and personal value of their prospect. Personas are not carbon copies of individual prospects; they merely give reps the flexibility to make sure the content works for the conversations they’re having. And once sales reps are acutely aware of the individuality of the prospect, their challenges, and what matters to them, they can begin to lay the groundwork to win the deal.

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