One common theme I’ve noticed in my work with technology startups is that their sales conversations revolve almost entirely around their technology. It makes sense. After all, their technology is the reason they exist. But, while the features, benefits, and capabilities of technology are important, alone they won’t account for the sale.
Account executives also need a treasure chest of customer success stories they can use to show rather than tell how the technology can fit into the prospective customer’s ecosystem and make their lives better.
Experienced account executives possess a gold mine of stories based on their personal experience. But, what about your new account executives?
It could take months, if not years, for new account executives to accumulate enough stories from their personal experience to sound credible. This is the very reason you should make sure to liberally season your sales training with examples, anecdotes, and stories they can leverage.
In fact, you’ll want to include these three types of stories.
- Me too stories. You want the prospect to personally identify with the issue your product or service addresses. Ideally, they recognize themselves in the story and excitedly think, “Finally! This is exactly what I’ve been looking for!” In other words, your “me, too stories” resonate. To make sure that they do, you’ll need to choose a story that matches the prospect’s business size and industry as closely as possible. And, if you can customize the perspective of the story to reflect the prospect’s role, you’ll be golden. This means that you’ll need to craft a library of “me too stories” from which new account executives can choose to tell based on the prospect’s profile.
- Head and shoulders above stories. Rest assured, every competitor is telling the prospect that their technology is superior. In fact, if an account executive only talks about the company’s technology, they will sound exactly like everyone else. So, how do you stand out? Tell stories that highlight customer results and prove that your technology really is head and shoulders above the rest. Once again, you’ll need to provide new account executives with a library of stories from which they can choose based on the prospect’s profile. It just makes sense that telling a small business about the results a Fortune 500 company achieved with your solution just won’t generate the same interest as telling them about the results a similar-sized business realized.
- Rags to riches stories. It’s one thing to talk about results, but telling stories that contrast the before and the after situations a similar customer experienced can be immensely powerful. Need to see how it’s done? Watch the Youtube video in which Steve Jobs introduced the iphone. Throughout his presentation, he contrasts the reality of the dumb phone to what could be with the iphone. In your rags to riches stories, account executives will be painting a picture that contrasts what is with what could be by telling a story of what was and what is for one of your happy customers. Again, you’ll need a selection of stories that match specific prospect profiles from which new account executives can choose.