B2B Sales – The Narrative to the RescueJuly 6, 2018 at sales, storytelling
Backstory: In 2016, I worked on a product support center project for a real estate CRM. Towards the end of our contract, the founder of the company asked me to have a quick look at the sales pitch thinking that my technical writing eye can help him tighten the slides. I reviewed it and that instance helped me develop some understanding of doing sales. I started reading some really good stuff being published by SaaStr, Intercom, Tomasz Tunguz, and many others, and I am thankful to all of them.
Recently, I have seen some ordinary sales pitches by B2B and B2C teams. Their products are promising but the sales-thinking is not well targeted. The sales narrative is totally missing and in some cases, the pitch was poor. When I explored, the reasons were:
- Sales team has very little understanding of the customer journey and of product experience (they should have basic understanding of why and how of product design); the sales team operates in their cubical, aloof and confident–confident because they never thought that they could do better
- A very conventional thought process that they are selling a product
In this post, I take an example of what they had, and how I transformed it for the right sales narrative orientation to their message.
Before: The Original Slides
Here is a quick look at first four slides of what the sales team originally used to pitch. I cannot see a reason of why the audience will feel interested in the product. The message completely fails to inspire trust, and promise.
After: The Narrative
Although I am working with this team as a UX designer and content strategist, I offered them to redo their sales pitch. Being a growing startup, they cannot afford to invest in a formal and strategic narrative. So I proposed to use a minimum viable narrative framework.
My basic framework for such teams is:
- Start with the pain or problem
- The customer is the hero, and the hero is in trouble
- How they are affected
- Why there is a need for change (some numbers)
- The new promise
- The product shows the promise
- How the promise has lived up to the numbers (existing customers)
- The brand trust
- The hero is changed now
- Usual stuff on team, press, and contact details
See a couple of slides below, and you can see the complete deck at my Slideshare. Note that I have removed the business identity on the team’s request.
Storytelling is so integral to almost every function in an organization today, as Doug Landis explains it so well in this Intercom post–Telling Stories That Sell. If your sales culture lacks storytelling, you are missing out on something. Think about it.