There’s a reason Hollywood keeps making superhero movies. The good ones not only provide 190-minutes of action-packed adrenaline, they take us through the hero’s transformational journey, a quest everyone can relate to, made larger than life. It’s thrilling. A good story inspires us, and we are left rooting for the hero and wanting to hear more. A well-told digital transformation story can be just as thrilling – or at least pack a similarly powerful punch.
When we talk to marketing leaders, we hear a lot of talk about digital transformation. But when we dig deeper, we find that many leaders are still working through what that actually means for them. To understand a transformation, you need to understand the story behind it. Good storytelling is the art of persuasion. It reveals the truth behind the facts in a way that is real, relatable, and inspirational. As account-based engagement (ABE) strategists, we frequently work with our sales teams to help them tell their customer’s transformational story.
There are a few different approaches you can take to transformational storytelling. One approach is to tell the story of the past, the journey. Focus on how you helped the customer achieve their goals and outcomes. Another angle is to tell the story of what could be, the vision. This is useful to demonstrate that you understand what the customer is trying to achieve and can see the vision ahead to help them attain it. In either case, it’s about making the customer the hero. Getting to the unique value proposition for the customer requires you to think first from their point of view so that the story is truly theirs – you are just writing it down for them.
Here are a few things to think about when crafting your customer’s hero story.
- What’s the purpose? Decide what you want your story to drive. Do you want to focus on value delivered? This type of piece can be a great way to showcase your current customers and can be used to open new doors within the account. Once you’ve opened new doors, you might want to showcase the art of the possible with a vision piece that serves as a strategic manifesto between you and your customer. Keep the story focused on 1-2 areas of success or opportunity so that the intent is clear. The story can showcase the value to date or articulate the vision for the future. Sometimes it can do both.
- Will your customer believe it’s their story? It’s important to think about the story from multiple points of view. In the case of an annual value report, will it be obvious to your stakeholders that you are highlighting their success? If you are delivering a vision piece, will it be obvious across the C-suite that you have heard their specific perspectives? Can they each see themselves in it? It’s the personal details that make the difference – take the time to find and incorporate them.
- Are there diverse perspectives? The heart of the story comes alive when you combine what the customer has shared together with the depth of knowledge across your account team. The more diverse the perspectives are, the richer the insights will be.
- How do you keep the story alive? You created and delivered the value or vision story for your customers, so now what? Stories instill the human element into business transformation. Have a plan in place to keep the momentum going by redistributing through internal channels, door openers, retargeting, and digital nurture.
The power of well executed customer storytelling is that it brings business transformation to life. It takes the spotlight off of us and makes the customer the real hero. How will you make heroes happen?
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