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How to Use 'Story-Selling' and Modular Content to Drive Sales

by Melissa Andrews  |  
November 3, 2015

Some marketers would tell you that salespeople are babies who need structure and boundaries, and can't be trusted with the nuances of storytelling. As a marketer and former sales representative, I disagree: A more accurate—and less demeaning—portrayal of salespeople would be that they are renegades.

So much of selling has in the past relied on the individual salesperson who was almost exclusively responsible for his or her own destiny: "Only I know my territory. Only I know my process. Only I know my clients."

Which is why it's easy to see why sales reps roll their eyes when asked to align with Marketing and work together with those dreaded "creative types."

I've seen how that alignment between two departments isn't always smooth. But I've also seen, firsthand, that it can work. And when it does, it works really well.

To Align Sales and Marketing, Try 'Story-Selling'

For "story-selling" (which is as it sounds: selling with stories), Marketing and Sales work together. They are co-storytellers.

Marketing creates the blueprint or outline of the story, and Sales does the actual storytelling, provides examples from personal experience, and brings the passion that fuels the emotional connection with the client.

Think of the process as a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book.

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Melissa Andrews is VP of marketing at Mediafly, an enterprise software company that provides a secure, cross-platform content distribution solution for sales and marketing functions.

Twitter: @MandrewsDigital

LinkedIn: Melissa Andrews

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  • by Michael Harris Wed Nov 4, 2015 via web

    The type of stories salespeople tell also changes I believe based on where they are in the sales cycle.

    Late in the sales cycle, case studies can be used as proof but early in the sales cycle when customers haven't yet decided to change I believe sales people need a different type of story that focuses primarily on why change.

    Also, salespeople need to take the customer stories and slice them up into small pieces so that they can deliver them conversationally in 90-120 seconds.

    Is this your experience?

  • by Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler Wed Nov 4, 2015 via web

    It's nice to see an article about modular content on Marketing Profs! We've been trying to get folks in the marketing space to recognize the importance of this approach -- called "intelligent content" once you get past the high level discussion about modular content. Unfortunately, marketers have no idea how to do this, nor do the tools that are available (designed for technical communicators) support marketers well. It's a growing field. Marketers interested in learning a little more about this idea should read our new book entitled "Intelligent Content: A Primer" by Ann Rockley, Charles Cooper, and myself. Available from your favorite bookseller or direct from XML Press. We wrote it just for you!

  • by Alaura Weaver Wed Nov 4, 2015 via mobile

    Great insights! I love the idea of co-authoring between marketing and sales. I used the term "story-selling" in my recent article on creating a sales pitch/marketing presentation based on the TED talk structure: and your ideas about modular content would apply perfectly to this.

  • by Brian Fravel Tue Nov 10, 2015 via web

    Great article. Most sales people are overwhelmed and have too much content. Every marketing person should attend their fair share of sales meetings and even try their hand at it. It's easy to write 20 pages of powerpoint. It's hard to deliver your message in 2 minutes or less.

    MobilePaks has a great sales enablement tool that helps you create this kind of modular content.... Highly recommend you check it out.

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