Episode 4: NOT ANONYMOUS STORYTELLERS
In the previous episode, NOT TEXT-FIRST STORYTELLING, we discussed why you shouldn’t rely on large, text-based collateral like whitepapers and lengthy slide decks to educate your sales force, partners and buyers on your offering in this new mobile world filled with busy professionals.
A better approach to tell your whole story is through VIDEO-FIRST STORYTELLING, which means creating short, 8-minute-or-less videos before creating large, text based content like customer presentations and 10+ page whitepapers.
This approach enables you to:
- Tell your whole story as a series of short episodes that are easily consumed over mobile by busy professionals anytime and anywhere, while also enabling the creation of text-based content
- More easily create and re-record, so it’s quick to update as the story evolves
In this episode we’ll dive deeper into Step 3 of the typical sales motion: Trying to schedule your best storytellers to participate in the follow-up meetings with the potential buyer.
This episode urges you NOT to rely on people who aren’t regularly in the field to tell your story, like third-party contracted writers. The truth is, your best storytellers are you star sellers and subject matter experts that the field would most like to have in front of their customers.
The best stories are in the field where sales reps learn by the process of closing business what story resonates with buying customers. Further, you already have your best storytellers in-house: They are your star sellers and subject matter experts—the people your sales force would most like in front of their potential buyers explaining the various aspects of the overall product or service story. The trick is in learning how to best leverage these busy individuals to be the star sellers for all your sales engagements.
Today, marketing driven collateral is written by third-party, contracted writers who are tasked to anonymously write story content. This creates some potential issues:
- It's extremely difficult for storytellers who are not in the field to learn the nuances of which story really resonates well with potential buyers and leads to closed business, so the quality of the story suffers
The sales force can become disenchanted with the content coming out of marketing, so sales reps spend time creating their own story content when they should be spending this time selling.
- The individuals who the sales force would most like to be in front of the customer are not being leveraged across the entire sales organization and with every sales call, so the best story is not told consistently in all sales engagements.
Therefore, don't rely on people who aren’t regularly in the field to be your star storytellers.
In fact, if you have closed business, there are people Instead enable and leverage the people your sales force would most like in front of the customer to be your storytellers.
The stars in your company have already learned how to tell your story to customers in order to close business. So why not leverage them to be the stars in telling your story to all of your customers?
We believe that instead of using third-party writers to be your storytellers, you’re better served to enable and leverage the best people you have to tell the particular aspects of the overall story that their best at telling.
The result is that:
- The enablement and leveraging of your best storytellers—your star sellers and subject matter experts—to tell your story consistently for all sales engagements ultimately enhances story credibility and quality.
- Creating your story with the field as the storytellers ensures that it’s the one that is actually working to close business, improving acceptance of story by the entire sales organization.
- Acceptance of the story content by the sales force means they will spend less time creating content and more time selling
- The assigned storytellers can re-record their episodes if they discover there is a better way to tell their story, without impacting the rest of the overall story, this leads to greater agility in the storytelling process.
This is all accomplished by first creating a story architecture which breaks the story into less-than-eight-minute episodes. Each episode is assigned a storyteller—the person the field would most like to tell that particular aspect of the story. These people most likely have already answered their assigned questions many times in the past. As part of the operationalizing of storytelling, we project manage these assigned storytellers to record their answers for their assigned episodes. On a case-by-case basis, we can help and coach these storytellers if needed.
Ultimately, by leveraging your best storytellers to be the stars, you increase the credibility and quality of your story being told across the entire sales organization, reducing the risk of delaying and losing business because of a failure to adequately educate potential customers.
In the next episode, NOT Outdated Content, we’ll discuss why you should NOT have a content strategy that isn't operationalized and agile; lacking the people, process and software to continually keep your story up to date means having outdated story content, which only hurts the field’s sales engagements.