Can’t see the wood for the trees? That’s a common idiom referring to a person who is so concerned with the details of a problem that they forget to step back and see the bigger picture.

In our line of work it could become something like this: “can’t see the figures for the data”. In that phrase there are several pieces of advice for sales and marketing staff. In B2B industries we often refer to ‘the client’ meaning the entire organisation, but we do so at the danger of forgetting that it’s people we have to appeal to. Regardless of what you’re selling, it’s ultimately an individual (or group of individuals) that make the final purchasing decision.

A mistake we are all guilty of…

The language of sales and marketing frequently dehumanises the customer and that’s a serious problem, one that we’re all guilty of. Customers have become ‘targets’ or ‘prospects’. We use the language of hunting or even warfare to discuss our business activities. It’s so common that we don’t even question it, but it’s exactly that sort of received wisdom we must question.

When I was at business school, many years ago, we talked about salesmen as either hunters or farmers. On the surface it’s quite a good analogy. Language like that appeals to the animal brain, our hunter-gatherer instincts, but what does that say about our attitudes towards our customers?

Here’s another example, remember the Boston Matrix (also known as the ‘Growth Share Matrix’)? It’s a useful tool that helps business managers with product strategy and portfolio management. But just stop and consider the terminology within it. How do you think your best customers would feel being referred to as a cash cow?

All too often we forget about the people, we don’t see the individuals behind the data. The hallmark of a great salesperson is that they can establish an emotional connection with their customers. A good salesperson is neither a hunter, nor a farmer. They are a trusted advisor, a stakeholder, a partner, someone who cares and wants you to do well.

When did we forget that we’re all human beings?

Sales is a noble profession

A good salesperson wants to help people in the long term. You succeed or fail based on your reputation. When people trust you, they’ll seek you out when they need your products, they’ll listen to you and value your opinion.

It seems like an obvious thing to say, but it’s so important it bears repeating. Good salespeople want to help people. A few years ago, the Harvard Business Review ran an excellent article based on a research study of salespeople in the insurance sector. They found the best salespeople always empathize with others, and that means seeing the people behind the data.

Consider this: if a potential customer is on the TPS (Telephone Preference Service) or the corporate version, the CTPS, and you contact them with a telemarketing campaign, you are actually damaging your reputation. A salesperson who doesn’t see the people behind the data might think there’s still a chance of a sale, and they might be right, but there’s a greater chance they’ll anger the person on the other end of the line. There’s even the chance of a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office, and a large fine.

More than 5 million individual decision makers

When you’ve got more than 5 million decision makers on your database (as we do), it can seem impossible to see the people behind the data. But that’s what you need to do, and one way that happens is by keeping the data up to date, clean and accurate. If just 1% of that of that list had requested not to be contacted and you ignore that, you will have angered over 50,000 people; that’s the population of a small city.

To avoid that problem, we’ve developed a unique multi-sourced database of UK Business. It’s called The Marketscan Megabase™. This definitive database has earned an enviable reputation for coverage and quality. The Marketscan Megabase contains more than:

  • 3 million business records
  • 5 million decision makers
  • 2 million email addresses
  • 1.5 million telephone numbers

All the data is checked and updated monthly for complete legal compliance and market leading deliverability warranties. With figures like that, it’s more important than ever to remember the people behind each line of data. Rest assured every record is subject to a range of checks and corrective actions to give a reference file of outstanding coverage and quality.

If you want access to our industry leading Megabase, for yourself or to sell on to your own customers, then we’d love to hear from you. Our family of resellers get some of the best margins in the industry. We also have a full VIP Membership Programme where you will receive even more benefits, like priority same-day delivery from a dedicated account manager, and online ordering available around the clock.

Click here for more information about becoming a reseller, or contact us directly to talk to a member of staff. We’ll be happy to discuss the details with you.

Related Topics: Resellers