11,000 Species of Ants, Just 3 Sales Persona Rules

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, Nov 10, 2017

Only if you're a Myrmecologist...

ants-1.png11,000 species is a bit of worthless trivia...unless, of course, you're a myrmecologist, a scientist specializing in ants...

...which, of course is a sub-specialist of being an entemologist, who is a scientist who studies the very broad category of all insects. 

So, who cares? 

  • Clearly not any of the 11,000 species of ants
  • Obviously, the myrmecologist lobby cares, of which, I would expect that there are numbers of these ant scientists who are not only focused on the entire species of ants, but also very small sub-species of the 11,000.  For me, my ant knowledge comes down to identifying only red and black...which is just about as far as my knowledge of wine:  red or white is about as far as I go even after all of these years.

The Point... and The 3  Rules for using Sales Personas

The point is that knowing the details about ants, which doesn't sound very important to the majority of us, is incredibly important to the specialists, which is exactly the same way that we should be looking at our customers and prospects, since we are also highly trained specialists and professionals as salespeople. 

  1. Rule # 1:  Define Customer or Prospect?

    The first thing you should do is stop generalizing and mixing the terms ! 

    "Customers" are just that-existing customers to whom we can upsell, cross-sell, and affiliate-sell other products, extended services and to other departments and divisions within the same corporation.  All of these selling opportunities require specific sales and marketing content, and all have the distinct potential advantage of sharply reducing our sales cycles.  To a large degree, by the fact that they are already existing customers, we already have "permission" to sell to these specific personas.

    "Prospects" are also just that. They are maybe-or maybe not-qualified depending on where they live in the marketing and sales funnel stack.  They require very different marketing messages, very different value propositions and very different handling from marketing, from BDRs and from sales specialists.  Clearly, one size or even two or three sizes do not fit all types of prospects.

    Why is language and the terms of language important?  In a world of highly specialized messaging, individualized marketing content down to "The N of One", and very specific sales processes and tools, language counts a lot...
    in our delivery, in our measuring metrics, and in the delivery of our highly specialized sales training to our team.  All of which will dramatically improve the sales effectiveness and the efficiency of our sales teams.

  2. Rule # 2: Use Personas ALL OF THE TIME !

    These individuals are just that.  They are people; they are humans, and they are just as complex as you and me.  We, as salespeople, to make our lives neat and tidy, push both "Customers" and "Prospects" into nice little categories of...

    ...Decision Makers

    ...and way too many other boxes...when, in fact, all of these boxes contain real live people who will be most influenced in their decision making by being treated as individuals with consistent language and distinct Value Propositions from all of us who sit on the other side of the table.   

    Hubspot.pngWe always go back to our good friends and partners at Hubspot, who along with the creation of Inbound Marketing, first introduced us to the concept of "Personas" 10 plus years ago through their early use of "Owner Ollie" and "Marketing Mary".  

    If you haven't read the Hubspot HBR case study (required reading for my Tufts and MIT students before they begin the course), you should. 

    Simply, by giving prospects and customers human names (Engineer Ernie, Financial Fred, Peter Purchasing, and so on) and using that language everywhere internally, you will immediately change your view, your messaging and your sales approach.

    A majority of the employees in one of our tech customers loves Star Wars, and when you walk into their lobby, their personas are immediately identified by four six foot cardboard cutouts of their favorite Star War characters, each personalizing their customers and prospect types.  Fun, impactful, and consistently reinforcing.

    New Rules of PR.jpgFor a superb introduction to the exciting world of Inbound Marketing, read our close friend and marketing guru, David Meerman Scott's, classic , The New Rules of PR & Marketing This is also required reading in my Tufts courses...along with required Hubspot certification in Inbound and in CRM.  No certification, no grade: simple rules always work in class, and in sales training.  Sales Training without requiring certification is like playing tennis with no net !

    For a more detailed and updated understanding of persona creation and use, dive into the Hubspot University by clicking HERE.  

    Then if you want to learn more, ping our Senior Marketing Partner, John Routhier, at john@derbymanagement.com.  Set up and appointment call and ask him any question you want.  John's kind of like Apple's Genius Bar on steroids for anything in digital marketing.

    In our own case at our firm, by using exacting persona identification and then creating Value Propositions directly related to those personas, instantly....

    ur sales and marketing tactics began to change. 
    ...our speech patterns changed. 
    ...our use of specific marketing and sales tools changed.
    ...and, oh, by the way, sales way went up...way up

    Simply because we used much more specific messaging and specialized tools, but most importantly, we no longer focused on our side of the table.  Once we began using human names, we changed our focus to the other side of the table and started talking not about "buyers", but people, who simply wanted to create increased value both for their company and for themselves.

  3. Rule # 3:  Embed personas into your Sales & Marketing Funnels

    Derby Management Sales -Marketing Funnel-6-4.jpgAs you build out your sales and marketing processes and detail the specific steps and tools you will use along the entire funnel technology stack, always bring the detailing down to specific personas and create simple, easy-to-read one pagers that live in your CRM and are present in your marketing platform and are consistently referred to, reviewed and updated.  If you want to see a couple of examples of these personas, just email John Routhier at john@derbymanagement.com, and he will get them into your hands.

    Just a few ideas to think about this Friday, while you're having a great day selling !

    Business Plan Writing Ebook Free

     Jack Derby

    Head Coach  

     Derby Management...for 25 years
     -Sales & Marketing Productivity experts
     -Business & Strategy Planning specialists
     -Senior Management Coaches for CEOs & VPs

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    Boston, MA 02117
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Tags: Sales Best Practices, Sales Management Best Practices, marketing effectiveness, how to write a sales plan, sales personas, sales effectivness