How Storytelling Can Revolutionize Your Sales Process
In our conversations with both buyers and vendors, one thing is clear: storytelling is essential in the sales process. (It was no surprise to hear this mentioned during our recent webinar The 5 Key Skills Every Sales Team Needs for Closing New SaaS Customers.)
Storytelling is by no means a new concept in the sales world. However, with the state of the market and the current buying habits of organizations, the need for effective storytelling has become even more important in the sales process.
Storytelling Helps Your Messaging Resonate
In any sales process, even after all the ROI calculations, social proof, and discounts, there is still some deliberation the customer has to go through. After all, only the customer can make that final decision whether the rewards of purchasing outweigh the risks.
Storytelling is a highly effective method to close that deal. It also provides the assistance the buyer craves.
Even when sellers share insights and information, they rarely appreciate that the buyer still has to digest and to interpret that information. Incorporating a storytelling mind-set and strategy is the best way to create a comparison the buyer can appreciate.
Salespeople speak to many different stakeholders in different situations and roles, but if a seller can directly relay a story from a company in the same market with the same challenges, it often doesn’t matter who that individual stakeholder is. The seller is now speaking in the same language and using terminology the buyer can understand and appreciate. Without storytelling, what you’re saying will be understood at a high level, but emotional resonance and genuine impact come with the story.
If your enablement team can weave these stories into content and then make that content readily available throughout the sales process, you are going to enjoy greater success and will be able to assist prospects much easier.
Not convinced? To start to understand the power of storytelling, check out this article on case studies.
Storytelling Provides Social Proof
Have you ever received an email from a sales rep asking if you’d like to see how his or her company helped HP, Oracle, and Microsoft and can help you too? When you’re a fifty-person start-up, this social proof tactic simply doesn’t resonate.
In a conversation with a prospective client, the buyer rarely cares about the seller’s other clients. Storytelling, though, can help you seamlessly weave social proof into your conversation with a prospect.
Reciting how a given company, which is in a similar industry to your prospect, used your services to achieve a goal helps that prospect understand how your service can benefit them.
Showing how your service helped a company resolve a similar problem to your prospect’s illustrates how your process works and what it could look like for them.
Demonstrating how a company worked with your customer success (CS) team to ensure they got the best out of their specific package—the same package you’re recommending to your prospect—helps them understand what’s possible with the proactive assistance of your CS team.
Storytelling Helps You Navigate Objections
The main reason for most objections is that the prospect does not see the value of the product or service. The prospect doesn’t feel as if what the seller is talking about solves a current organizational objective or addresses a pain point.
Using social proof when handling these objections is a way to recapture the prospect’s attention—but only if done correctly.
Name-dropping enterprise clients when talking to a small start-up isn’t necessarily going to make that company reconsider their purchasing hesitance. What’s more effective is informing them that a close competitor in their market overcame their challenges by working with you. (This is, of course, contingent on a competitor having actually been your client.)
If you don’t have a prospect’s competitor on your client roster, the next-best approach is to know which companies your prospect knows and follows. If, for example, they’re in the sales tech market, it’s likely they’ll know other vendors in that market, even if they don’t directly compete with them. If you work with a vendor that recently won a round of funding or acquired another vendor, the prospect will likely know who you are talking about when you reference them as a company you helped.
The psychological benefit of this is significant. The prospect is able to directly connect you successfully working with a given vendor and their own success.
Arm Your Team with More Stories
Most sales reps have their own stories, and they’ll also generally know how their companies helped certain clients achieve success. They’ll even likely have case studies.
What most reps are missing is how their teammates have helped numerous companies in similar situations with similar challenges. The lack of this knowledge hurts your chance of closing with a prospect.
Sales managers, you can solve this issue! In your team meetings and one-on-ones, have your reps share their stories. Reps might have similar anecdotes, but building a catalog of stories that can be used and relayed to prospects is key. Reps should have as much to draw on as possible, and that includes personal experiences and case study content, as well as the combined knowledge of the sales team.
Sharing these stories provides invaluable perceptions into the selling process. Other reps might have handled situations differently. Other potential clients might have had other ideas or solutions that are applicable to the next prospect. Without story sharing, the team of reps can’t draw from these collective insights.
The faster you accumulate a wealth of stories and anecdotes, the more you will find objections dissipate, deals close, and meetings are more positive.
Amplify the Power of Your Stories with the Right Tech Solutions
Story sharing is only effective if reps actually use that content, and using internal content is contingent on having an effective content management system. After all, if reps don’t have sales collateral quickly and easily accessible, it simply won’t get incorporated into the sales cycle with any consistency or efficacy.
Is your company unsure what sales technology solutions can help with content management? Are you overwhelmed by options? Start with this quick, easy, free sales technology selection tool. It’ll help you start to narrow your options and put you on the path to a cost-effective solution that aligns with your priorities.