I don’t expect global recognition or a knighthood for pointing out the blindingly obvious, but it doesn’t hurt from time to time to be reminded that the people you want to connect with, engage, sell to or “reach out” to are in fact as individual, diverse, weird, worried, driven, motivated, nuts, stressed, arrogant, confident, busy, lazy, overworked, underpaid or hugely successful (take your pick) as you are.
It’s a fact. They too are real live, breathing humans.
When they go home they do things just like you do. Like make the dinner, pick up the kids, walk the dog, do the ironing, watch the soap opera…
If you’re careful and observant you may even see one or two of them out and about. In the supermarket or at the cinema. They will have the same debates as you and I do with our family or partners about what we will eat this evening or what we’ll do at the weekend.
The problem is that if you allow yourself to, it’s very easy for Marketing to see your prospects or your customers as a Unique ID on a CRM system or an “inbound, unqualified lead” or perhaps more so today they will be simply an MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead) or an SQL (Sales Qualified Lead).
Sales are just the same. They often see the prospect or client as The IT Director, The CFO, The Office Manager of the Head of HR.
Interestingly these are not the same labels these people would naturally apply to themselves.
Add into that the “Buyer Persona” that you’ve spent time and energy crafting and all of a sudden your poor prospect or customer is not only an MQL /Head of HR but you have now applied all sorts prejudices and generalizations to them – issues/drivers/challenges/etc.
Of course there’s a good deal of logic in segmenting and organizing your data, after all we’re all trying to build a “Customer Factory” right? (Ash Maurya) but when you’re doing that, keep in mind that the same Unique Codes and Matrix categorizations are being made about you too. And how comfortable are you that you fit neatly into any one of those boxes yourself?
I suspect you’d have something to say about limiting you and all your dynamism, enthusiasm, professionalism, personality and capability to a Unique ID and a deal cycle status.
Funnily enough Customers and Prospects are real people. It will pay you to remind yourself of that from time to time.
You might also enjoy this from Hiscox http://www.hiscox.co.uk/business-blog/personality-calculator it will help you understand how to work better with your clients. I liked it!