Content Discovery Smackdown: Hootsuite vs. Buffer vs. KloutContent Marketing Minds: Ingredients of the Tastiest Content [Nutrition Label]From the Corn Field to the Digital Era: Content Marketing Starts with TrustContent Marketing: Is 2014 Really Shaping Up to Be the Year of Video?
Your Customers Aren’t Listening! How to Create Consumer Dialogue that Converts4 Tools for Nonprofit Social Listening and Reputation ManagementThe Promising Role of Social Listening in Treating Health IssuesThe Importance of Social Listening for Brands
- Public Relations
Facebook Testing a Way for Users to Buy Products on the Platform7 Website Tips to Attract More Shoppers to Your PagesHow eCommerce, Augmented and Virtual Reality Will Redefine the Retail ExperienceSearch Query Analysis to Increase eCommerce Website Conversions
- Content Marketing
Technology & Data
Social Startups: Bizible Connects All the Dots from Marketing Contributions to RevenueCreating the Perfect Profile for Your Social Media Marketing EffortUsing GPS and Localization for Social AnalyticsAnalytics and Prospect Intel: Discovering Your Ideal Prospect
- Big Data
- Tech & Innovation
3 Security Risks You’re Taking Every Day While Using Social MediaShould the President Have the Power to "Pull the Plug" on the Internet?How Safe is Your WordPress Website From Hackers and Other Malicious Attacks?
- Software & Tools
- Small Business
- Social Organization
Celebrating the Grand Re-Launch of Social Media Today! SBH Podcast Episode 8Why Should You Care If Your Employees Are Thought Leaders?Beyond Engagement: The Art of Managing Social-Media Risk in Employee Advocacy
Why All-in-One Social Media Management Systems Don't Cut It for Social Customer ServiceWhat You Should Know About Customer, Digital, and Contextual ExperienceSurging into Q3: How to Make It Better Than Q2Is How You Serve Your Customers Costing You Business?
Join us September 15th in Atlanta for The Employee Advocacy Summit and learn how to unleash the power of your employees.
Post your event here and we'll share it with our community. If one of our members is featured, we'll promote as well on their profile.
- Marketplace & Webinars
The SMT Marketplace
Your resource for exclusive content and insights from Social Media Today, and opportunities to reach our community of professionals.
The Social Business Book Club brings you books, discussions, and insights from today's to business thought leaders.
Join interactive talks and and panel discussions with leading thinkers and practitioners on social media and networked business, or browse the catalogue of recorded sessions - all completely free.
Reach Social Media Today's community of marketing and communications professionals in an editor-approved context with a native advertising package.
Boring Your Prospect to Death? Revive Them with a Story
Posted on July 18th 2013
Earlier this year I ran a Sales and Marketing Messaging Alignment workshop for an early stage company in the Bay Area. They are not actually a start-up as they have been in business for a few years, but they are still starting up.
The subject of capturing proof points and formatting them to tell stories came up during the messaging workshop and I want to use a story to illustrate the point of using a storytelling and to describe the discrete steps in the storytelling format. I partner with Mike Bosworth and use his Story Seekers method in formatting and telling stories. The format is universally understood and follows the basic "hero's journey" format that powers so many of the scripts in our popular film culture.
The people in the company I'm working with are World-class thought leaders in their field, they have a great product for a well-defined niche, but they are struggling.
Their messaging clarity was 3/10 and their website unclear and they got few inbound leads. Like many other emerging technology companies, they were using outbound cold calling and spamming lists to generate interest and not surprisingly had very little success.
An additional problem was that the few leads they got often proved to be unready for sales contact. We (Kuno Creative and Admarco) were hired to help clarify their messaging and to transform their Website and implement an inbound marketing methodology.
After clearly identifying their capabilities or Win-Themes and applying them to their Buyer Personas in the messaging workshop, I asked a couple of the top salespeople to role-play with me around the buyer persona issues, using the capabilities we had developed.
What happened next is happening in sales teams all over the World and explains why so many salespeople are struggling. They have plenty of success stories or proof points, but they don't have the stories in a usable storytelling form … and salespeople don't have the skills to relate their story.
(The barrier or status quo in the last sentence is the fact that they don't have the stories in a usable form – at their fingertips; the complication is that they don't have storytelling skills - even if they had the stories.)
But let me get back to the story and role-play.
- Their salespeople who know so much about the problem proceeded to tell me what I needed (to use their product), - I immediately felt my personal space being invaded when being told what it was that I needed to do and I felt like I wanted to push the salesperson away. It felt like I was being sold and I pushed back hard and gave them an objection, I felt I was under pressure - like every buyer does. No-one likes being sold... it's offensive. ((Telling is the STATUS-QUO delivery mode and a BARRIER to success for most salespeople))
- The other issue this sales team has is that their market has nuances that are subtle and they cannot be 100% sure they are "on-message" when making a recommendation – because typically they are premature in making it. Salespeople who have seen the problem dozens of times before, often can't wait until they fully understand the buyers story, before suggesting a solution. This is also known as premature elaboration. ((Market nuances are the COMPLICATION))
Now let’s break down the role-play with me telling a story vs. premature elaboration above.
1. We reversed the roles and I played the role of the salesperson and asked if I could share a story of how we had helped another VP in a similar company (same role) to solve a similar problem. SETTING.
2. I described the status quo - they had Oracle and lot of reporting tools to do the job… but the barrier was that they couldn't see the problem with their existing tools, despite having spent a lot of money on technology and decision support. STATUS QUO/BARRIER - Setting the Stage.
3. I then introduced the complication, which meant that because managers couldn't see the problems in their standard reports, they had to work Sundays to prepare for Monday morning meetings using a data dump and Excel to try and spot the problems. COMPLICATION/Constraint + vulnerable/human… we can relate to the pain of working Sundays.
4. Next I introduced the unique product capability and our insight which helped to identify the problem and show the customer how they could use our tools to see the issues and take action to solve the problems. TURNING POINT.
5. They adopted the solution and now the problems are made visible in reports that we generate automatically from our system and managers get to share Sundays with their families. RESOLUTION.
6. To add concrete evidence, I used the quote about the impact of the software on productivity extracted from a CEO's Quarterly Wall Street briefing = OUTCOME.
This was a watershed moment for my client and the sales team.
- Stories give us the natural ability connect emotionally with buyers in a non-threatening way and to accelerate trust.
- Stories need tension and emotion/vulnerability to connect emotionally with buyers.
- Stories are boring without emotion and contrast to bring them to life and are quickly forgotten.
- Salespeople need to be prepared to be vulnerable and go first with a story and then to carefully "tend" or listen to the buyer’s story.
- The “Who I’ve Helped Story” starts with the setting and introduces our buyer and the status quo.
- The journey begins with Barriers that describe what's preventing the buyer from achieving their goals.
- Complications/constraints are emotional factors that bring our story to life and give it tension through struggle, resistance to change and ultimately this is the point of human connection.
- The turning point is the insight we bring with our expertise and the use of our software to help the buyer see the problem in a new light.
- The resolution is the successful outcome and if possible, some hard ROI evidence
- Stories are the most powerful connective link between salespeople and buyers to convey insight in a way that buyers want to receive it. Just about everything else can be gotten from the Website.