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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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