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Three Questions Your B2B's 'Story' Must Answer

September 6, 2012  
No B2B company can achieve a leadership position without a thought-provoking point of view. "Customers buy into the story before they buy the solution," writes Robert M. Wright at MarketingProfs. "And a story is more than a slogan or a catchy tagline." In fact, it needs to accomplish two goals: (1) Claim your exclusive territory in the marketplace; and (2) paint a competitor's product or service as a solution for yesterday's problem or the right idea but the wrong approach.

To do this, your story must answer three customer questions:

Why do I need your product or company now? "All disruptive companies and market leaders 'own' a set of buyer problems and create a sense of urgency to solve them," notes Wright. Your story should identify a buyer's pain point, explain how you can fix it, and demonstrate why she needs the solution right away.

Why is your solution different? Your buyer agrees she needs an immediate solution—but thinks she should stay with her current vendor, or investigate other competitors. Counteract this thinking with a story that frames the narrative like this:

  • This is your big problem.
  • Our competitors solve yesterday's problem. You need a new approach.
  • Here are three to four business requirements and capabilities that solve your problem.
  • Only we can deliver on those requirements.

How will this improve my life? Your story should also describe the rosy future, a post-solution bliss that's only a few months away, not a few years.

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  • by CQR Thu Sep 6, 2012 via web

    Everyone likes to be "clever", but at the end of the day decision makes just want the facts in an easy-to-process format. This article spells it out. Nice!!

  • by Nick Stamoulis Fri Sep 7, 2012 via web

    They key is to make it about your customer. It's not just about how cool/good your product is, it needs to be about how their life in going to be better with your help!

  • by Amber King Wed Sep 12, 2012 via web

    Agree. Consumers are wise these days, you need to provide a compelling story to make them purchase your products.

  • by J. Geibel Mon Oct 8, 2012 via web

    A little too presumptive about what the prospect wants or is experiencing. Also too much emphasis on the competition.
    Best to ask prospects with diagnostic questioning what their 'pain' points are, and what solutions they are, or have, considered.
    Most prospects are far more interested in how their peers solved problems, than for a vendor to prescribe a cookie-cutter approach.
    For those who are interested, an outline (with checklist) of the sales diagnostic approach to developing compelling customer stories:

  • by Ramiro Rodriguez Wed Oct 17, 2012 via web

    Awesome. I think you guys just helped my fix my landing page!

    I'm definitely going to put some quality time into this approach and I'm already getting a lot of great ideas on what to write. Thanks.

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