Using Storytelling to Engage and Connect with Customers
How many times have you been contacted by a salesperson with a pitch that was robotically delivered without a focus on your business and what it might need? Or received a piece of content from a company that didn’t speak to your business problems? Did they even inquire about what your needs are?
Sales and marketing people are so intent on pitching their product or service to a target customer, they often do so with little information on that customer. This is evident in B2B content marketing companies often create content that will inform their target customers and help sell their product or service, but it doesn’t really relate to or make a connection with the customers.
The Effects of Storytelling
Storytelling has become a vitally important tool for making effective sales pitches and presentations and creating compelling, unique and authentic marketing content. Storytelling can help you connect with your target customers and make you relatable, eventually building trust. But how do you create a story that will truly win over your customers?
You may think you don’t really have a “story” to tell, but there must be a reason why you do what you do or offer the products or services you offer and times when you’ve helped other businesses. As experts on storytelling in B2B content marketing will tell you, there is a story in your company’s history. If you are the face of your company, the story is in your background. Your target customers may be interested in knowing where you came from and how you got to where you are today. The failures you’ve experienced on your journey may be as captivating as the successes, as people always want to learn how someone overcomes a disappointment or roadblock. Also, sharing the downs as well as the ups may help you develop a deeper bond with your prospects; you can become more relatable but also build that trust with your customers because you have shared a story that explains who you are, what you stand for, why you do what do and also how you do it and how it will help them.
Even more powerful than your own story is the one you share about a customer, explaining who they are, what their challenges have been, how you helped them address their challenges and what the results were. This type of story provides validation for your business but can be most impactful if this customer has a lot in common with the prospect you are sharing the story with.
What is key to effective storytelling and truly engaging your target customers is first getting to know them. You want to know who they are and what their story is, and the best way to know them and their story is by conducting a survey to learn more about their business and what drives them and keeps them up at night.
Customer Knowledge is Power
By doing customer research upfront, you capture intelligence that can help you gain a sales and marketing advantage when pitching, creating content marketing and using storytelling with your customers.
At SimplyDIRECT, we use surveys as a demand generation tool, asking target company contacts what’s installed, where they’re challenged, what they’re planning to do to solve their problems, what their priorities are and more. The survey data provides sales and marketing people with everything they need to tailor their efforts to their target customer to craft a pitch or presentation that is forceful, develop content that resonates and tell a story that inspires.
Survey data tells a story in itself that can be used as a roadmap in the sales process, informing the salesperson on what sales triggers and pain points exist, what pitch to use and how to prioritize follow-up. For content marketers, the responses to specific survey questions provide clues to what types of assets will be most effective.
Surveying customers is a powerful way to get the data needed to engage them, build trust with them and ultimately move them closer to the point of purchase. Prospects may be reluctant to share their goals, needs and pain points with a salesperson, as that information can be intimate and proprietary, but they will be willing to open up to a third party in the context of research.
Get free market research reports and learn how surveys can yield more than leads, producing data about your target customers that can be used to enhance your storytelling and content marketing efforts.