Make your Customer the Hero
Storytelling is alive and well in movies and theater, but diluted in digital marketing, sales, and sales development campaigns. It’s challenging to introduce drama and emotion into a complex B2B sales cycle as the elements are often very technical, and hard to describe. Yet our B2B customers are indundated with unwarranted solicitations, and craving a meaningful experience.
Developing and sharing customer stories is critical for transforming case studies and sales pitches into memorable experiences. Stories create relevance, credibility, and empathy, and help to align the buyer and the seller on solid ground.
Who has the stories that your prospects want to hear? Your company does ! Meet with your customer success team, talk to your top sellers, develop a story framework and library, and tag your stories and story snippets for easy access.
Better Stories = Better Outreach = Better RevenueJoin the team
Start with a Story Outline
In his book To Sell is Human, Daniel Pink described an outline he dubbed the Pixar Pitch :
- Once upon a time
- Every Day
- Until one day
- Because of that
- And because of that
- Until finally
The Pixar Pitch introduces tension, which helps to engage your audience, but needs further definition for complex B2B sales.
Starting with 6 buyers journey questions, outline the story of how your customer solved their problem(s):
- Who was your ideal buyer profile?
- What problem(s) did they need to solve?
- When did they need to solve the problem?
- How did they try to solving this problem in the past?
- How did solving the problem align with company goals?
- How was success tested, measured, and reported?
Sparklines, described by Nancy Duarte in her book Resonate, is a another great way to introduce tension, or transformation, into customer stories.
Deconstruct the Pitch
In a complex, fast-paced B2B sales cycle, few prospects have the space to hear about the time you got lost in the woods. B2B Stories need to have the same tension and suspense as a campfire tale, and imbued with a real business concern. You need to find the right balance of compassion and focus, empathy and urgency.
Exercise 1: Remove the Hype
The sure sign of a sales pitch is too much buzz and not enough empathy. If you are pitching every day, highlight all the buzz-words in your pitch deck or prospecting script. Consider that these may mean little to a new prospect; in fact, they may be a turn off. Replace them with questions. For example, gently inquire about the prospect’s current state and past efforts to achieve their goals. (Hint: This is THE backstory.)
Exercise 2: Add the Human Element
Present yourself as a guide along the buyer’s journey, a guide providing the insights and proof points they’re seeking. In this scenario, your prospect is the hero, and you are their mentor, providing resources to help them make the best decisions as they overcome internal and extenal challenges. As more and more prospects share their stories with you, your ability to mentor and transfer power increases. This is the magic of sales, but it’s up to you to find it.
Continue the Journey
Sophisticated buyers look for proof points to be reassured that their purchase does not result in a data disaster. They also develop emotional preferences, based on identity, perception, and market share. Develop a library of customer stories that support your brand story so that you evoke real images that connect with your prospects.
Join the Team and put #StoriesinFocus
Ready to raise the bar on your B2B storytelling? Join the SalesStack Slack team! We’ve got some top talent sharing their stories in chats, blogs, and video pitches too. We learn from each other, and we’ll update your insides sales storytelling skills with videos and worksheets. Join the team and DM @Chris O or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember the customer is your hero, guide them on their journey!