Make Storytelling Part of Your Sales Culture
- by Elay Cohen
- November 10, 2013
SalesHood - Sales Enablement Platform
The best salespeople I’ve worked with are the best storytellers. They share the details of a customer story in a compelling way. They focus on emotion. They focus on value. They use storytelling to deliver confidence and credibility. They tell customer stories from the heart. They set the context, sharing industry dynamics, size of company, problems solved, and quantifiable benefits, of a company story in a way that engages the listener to immediately relate. They grab the attention of the customer by showing business benefits at the very beginning of a customer story. They demonstrate empathy by relating stories to executives based on their role. They provide confidence that they can deliver on the promise. They earn the trust of their customers. I do believe telling great customer stories can be learned with a framework and some old fashioned practice.
There was an article in the Wall Street Journal written about storytelling called: “To Persuade People, Tell Them a Story.” It’s a good article. It highlights the needs for (sales) executives and professionals “to tell relatable stories.” The author further writes: “You have to step back and put yourself into their shoes and take them through the process of understanding….that requires you to distill the most important facts and wrap them in an engaging story.” I could not agree more.
Don’t we want every customer to proclaim the words: “I want that” about your solution? It happens. I’ve seen it occur when a great salesperson turns a demonstration or a standard pitch presentation into a story of customer success. One way to drive urgency in a sales campaign is to make sure that every customer story is emotional, quantifiable and transformational.
Sales teams can help each other tell better stories. Imagine you bring your sales team together and have each person share their best story or a recent deal win. You provide them with a structure and the ability to give each other constructive feedback in a consistent way. Imagine what would happen to each sales person’s skills on your team if they all heard each other tell their best customer stories. You can create a best practice sharing environment with your team in the Customer Storytelling Sales Huddle.
If you’re interested in applying these principles of customer story telling to your deals and your sales campaigns by engaging your sales team, request to join the SalesHood community.
By joining, you and your team will gain access to the “Customer Storytelling Sales Huddle” rich with storytelling best practices, self-assessment exercises, and the ability to share winning deal stories. In this 60 to 90 minute team based workshop (that can happen in person or virtually), everyone on the team shares their stories and deal wins while they give each other feedback. They learn new stories and learn great techniques in storytelling from each other.
– > Are your salespeople telling stories that are emotional?
– > Are your salespeople focusing on business value?
– > Are your salespeople inspiring your customers to take action?
Sales managers will be able to turn the “Customer Storytelling Sales Huddle” into a regular part of a team culture by running it monthly to keep the stories fresh and the best practices flowing across your sales team.
Elay Cohen is the author of SalesHood: How Winning Sales Managers Inspire Sales Teams to Succeed and the co-founder of SalesHood, a SaaS sales enablement platform and community for sales professionals. Elay is the former Senior Vice President of Sales Productivity at Salesforce. Recognized as the company's "2011 Top Executive", and credited for creating and executing all of Salesforce's sales productivity programs that accelerated its growth from $300M to $3B+ in revenue. The sales training and sales support innovations delivered over these years by Elay and his team to thousands of sales reps resulted in unprecedented hypergrowth. He also created the Partner Relationship Management (PRM) category.
Based on my experience leading Sales Productivity at Salesforce, accelerating revenue from $300M to $3B, we’ve packaged our proven methodology into SalesHood, helping client after client achieve record breaking revenue growth.