Once upon a time, there was a Director of New Business Development. She was good at her job, but it was a hard job. She arrived at the office each day with a smile and a positive outlook. “Today,” she would think, “I am going to generate new leads and convert existing ones. I’m going to move customers through the magical marketing funnel.” At the end of the day she would bask in the glow of the treasure called “conversions.”
Yet each day, she wondered how she would continue to attract leads and grow her company’s business. The customers of the kingdom got rained upon with advertising every day, all the time. Would they hear her company’s message amid the din?
The Director of New Business Development–we’ll call her Princess NBD–became worried. She had heard that some companies where using a new spell called “storytelling.” Actually, it was quite an ancient spell, but they had discovered its power anew.
And yet, Princess NBD did not think the spell would work for her. She thought it was only for something called B2C companies. Hers was a B2B company. What kind of story could they possibly tell that the kingdom would want to hear?
As she began to despair, a wolf appeared in her midst. A viral wolf. The wolf asked Princess NBD why she was sad, and she explained. The wolf responded by saying that, in fact, B2B companies were quite worthy to wield the magic of storytelling; they only needed someone to show them how.
Your Company’s Stories
Which brings us to the present. You’ve probably heard a lot about the power of storytelling lately. But if you’re wondering what kinds of stories your B2B company could possibly tell, here are some ideas. Whether you’re in manufacturing, professional services, finance, or consulting, you have stories to tell!
Story #1: The hero within
You probably already have a lot of these stories. Maybe you publish case studies or testimonials. If not, you should. Describe the heroic potential your customer was unable to achieve. Perhaps they just lacked the right software or machinery or information. You came along and helped figure out what they needed. You worked together but–this is key–they solved their problem. They showed the initiative and the courage to accept the challenge. They emerged victorious and went on to accomplish great things. They’re the hero.
Story #2: The meet cute
Ever notice how heroes in movies never meet their mentors through cold calling? Luke Skywalker didn’t go on LinkedIn and say, “Hey, can someone guide me in the ways of the Force so I can get off this rock?” If you have a serendipitous or remarkable story about how one of your clients found you–or you found them–tell it!
Story #3: People helping people
Your company helps companies, but companies are made up of people. Show that your people care about your clients’ people. Start with your founder or CEO. Go beyond the degrees, awards, and titles to tell a story about human connections. What made this one individual wake up and choose to use his or her talents to make a difference in the lives of others?
Story #4: The metaphorical story
Let’s say you’re a brand new company. You don’t have any stories yet. You can imagine what your hero will look like and the journey they’ll take. You can create an avatar for them, an ideal image to whom future clients can relate. It can take a lighthearted approach, like the princess story above, or a more realistic one. How you tell it depends, of course, on your brand voice.
Story #5: Their own (future) success story
Paint a picture for your client. Show them that you understand the problems they’re currently experiencing. Then walk them through how you will tackles those problems together. Show them what their success will look like on the other side. Remind them of all the ways that they’ll be better able to serve their own customers once they move to the next chapter of their story, thanks to your support.
With a little guidance, Princess NBD started crafting brilliant stories that delighted the people, with heroes they could relate to. Soon she found her job a bit easier as her company’s sales funnel filled and her conversions became the best in the land.