Don't pitch....Tell a great story!

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Don't pitch....Tell a great story!

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If there is one thing that people love – whether it be in their personal or professional lives – it’s a great story.

One that stands out for me in the Sage CRM world was a project carried out in Australia by the partner “Enabling Victoria”. The focus? Graveyard Management! Every time I am at a customer or partner event, and have to think of a memorable example of how Sage CRM is used in the real world, this one always comes to mind.

On the face of it, it’s a classic need/business benefit project. The customer (a graveyard management company) had paper-based records going back many years - who was buried where, who was in each plot and so on. Over time, this paper-based system began to fall apart. Technology provided a solution:  the partner showed how CRM could manage this whole process from start to finish – record the “people” who owned each plot, the “relationships” between each individual buried in the plot and so on. The partner even used mobile to do case management – employees could take a photo of a damaged gravestone and raise a case against the “person” in CRM. GPS coordinates were matched to the system records to identify the plot location!

This isn’t just an example of a really clever implementation of Sage CRM – it is also, first and foremost, a great story.

Realistically, not everyone has an example such as this to highlight. But what it does show is the benefits of using interesting ideas and examples to tell a story. This approach triggers the “emotional” reflex in the buyer that says to him/her – “yes, I like this person, and I could see myself buying from them”.

So how do we build a story?

It’s actually not as difficult as you think. You just have to remember the right building blocks. Any story we have been told, or have told to some else, usually consists of three basic elements:

  • The plot – what it’s about (the storyline)
  • The characters – who feature in the story
  • The themes – what the story is trying to tell us or teach us

We can translate this structure into a Sage CRM, business or technology story by matching these key components to our own terminology:

  • The story itself is about…..a business need, the problem we’re trying to solve
  • The characters.….include stakeholders, beneficiaries and other subject matter experts
  • The plot…..includes the problem/solution detail, the options available, the numbers involved, and the plan for delivering
  • The themes…..focus on things like the value proposition of Sage CRM, the customer’s own business strategy and organisational improvements that can be derived

Of course, getting "good" at telling stories requires practice, personality and the ability to "deliver" the message (communication). This link covers some of these concepts.

Have you any great stories to share? Feel free to do so below or elsewhere on the community!

Good luck

David

Comments
  • David,

    Great article! I'd add that if you can then provide measurable benefits the customer achieved, you have your prefect ending for the story. E.g. "After 6 months, Graveyard Management Co. had decreased their avg. time to solve an issue by 80%" or "Due to increased sales efficiency, Graveyard Co. increased sales by 20% over that 6 month period equating to $100,000 in extra revenue".

  • It's all about people.   Understand the process, tell the story, appeal to the heart and, as Stacy notes, save some for the head as well.  

    Below is a nice, related, post, btw ---

    www.mycustomer.com/.../168030

  • Stacy - great comment! The measurable benefits are what "complete" the story. I've been to a bunch of presentations where you hear a great story and are waiting for the punchline ("so what happened afterwards") and it never comes!

    We don't want our story becoming the "never-ending" story :-)

    Keep sharing.

    David