Compelling storytelling is an incredibly powerful way to boost your B2B sales and leads.
The Importance of B2B Storytelling
Successful B2B marketing strategies are about connecting with people on an emotional/psychological level. They’re more about connecting to the hearts of people so you can control their minds.
Stories help you do just that. They bypass the logical part of the brain and create positive emotions that engender trust in your brand. This trust, in turn, boosts your B2B sales and leads.
A research by Google, in partnership with Motista and CEB, revealed that 50% of B2B buyers are more likely to buy if they can connect emotionally with your brand. It concludes that the business customer won’t buy unless there is a substantial emotional connection to help overcome the risk of a bad investment and even job loss.
Why B2B Enterprises Need Storytelling
* Technical and Complicated Services
Stories provide a simple way to explain hard-to-grasp concepts. If your organization sells consulting services, you can easily help people understand what you do by sharing the stories of clients who successfully used your service to grow their brand. This is better than sharing business frameworks and processes.
* Long Sales Cycle
Unlike B2C businesses that enjoy short sales cycles, B2B suffers from long and complex sales cycles. B2B buying is often done by a group, unlike B2Cwhere an individual makes a purchase decision.
Storytelling can help shorten the sales cycle by conveying concepts faster.
For instance, if you sell marketing technology, you can get people to key into your solution by sharing how it helped other businesses enjoy positive outcomes.
* Low Conversion Rates
The conversion rate for B2B is relatively low as compared to B2C–between 2.23 and 4.31% according to WordStream–and many factors can impact that conversion rate.
To boost conversion rates, you can tell a compelling story about your brand and product that prospects can relate to.
This is a B2C example but it points to the power of storytelling.
How Cotopaxi Leveraged The Power of Stories to Build a Multi-Million Dollar Company
Cotopaxi is an eCommerce giant. It sells outdoor stuff to millennials. It tells great stories about its products. Cotopaxi shares the story of one of its most famous products, the Luzon Del Día, through a heartwarming video of factory workers that put their everything into the backpacks.
The backpacks were created from scratch by Phillipino natives. These designers chose the fabric color, thread color, and the many other aspects that went into making a good quality backpack.
The challenge these designers faced was to make every bag different. No two bags could look alike. This rule stretched their creativity and imagination. Their success became the product’s story. And, this has made Cotopaxi a multimillion-dollar company.
So, What Role Does Storytelling Play in Marketing?
- Drawing your audience into your brand narrative. This makes your news and content relatable.
- Influencing changes in thought and behavior. This is a powerful way to convince and convert.
- Getting the attention of your audience. This enables you to cut through the noise and get your message heard.
- Helping communicate technical concepts. This makes content easily digestible, especially in a situation where B2B concepts are hard to explain.
- Building your brand voice This creates a positive perception – you can’t copy a great story.
3 Common Storytelling Techniques to Boost your B2B Sales and Leads
You can integrate these tips into your messaging, from blog posts to product collateral:
- Show, Don’t Tell
Creative writers and novelists know this technique, inside and out. Instead of just writing, “it’s windy”, they’ll paint a more vivid picture for the reader – say, the hero leaving the park and dashing indoors, to avoid the stormy weather. B2B marketers can use this same technique to bring products to life. Here’s an example to show what I mean:
* SHOW: Our product will grow your business.
* TELL: After implementing our product, one client’s annual recurring revenue grew to $56M. They also got back their investment in less than eight months.
Ditch the abstract. Prop up your product with a more tangible concept, like revenue numbers, to really illustrate how your product can solve problems.
You can apply the same “show don’t tell” concept into brand positioning and top-of-the-funnel blog content. Tackle industry changes, pain points, or common questions, while demonstrating how your product can make a difference.
- Less is More
When it comes to content creation, B2B marketers need to focus on quality over quantity. They should adopt the ‘less is more’ mantra.
A blog post needs to be only as long as the topic demands. Avoid fluff and filler words.
Keeping your content brief and well-structured also makes it easier for your audience to digest and understand.
Use clear and concise language, avoid unnecessary jargon and details, and keep your sentences around 15-20 words in length. For blog content or other long-form content, make it clear in the introduction what the post is about and include sub-headings to make them easier to read.
- Engage Your Audience
We’ve all heard about the 8-second attention span. Whether it’s accurate or not, the truth remains that your target audience is drowning in information overload. So, what can B2B marketers do to get their audience to read more blog posts or even schedule a free demo?
- Visuals: Relevant photos will make your content appealing and say more than you can say with just words. A picture, they say, is worth a thousand words. Use charts, videos, screenshots, drawings, and other imagery to brighten up your content.
- Brief Paragraphs: Ditch the old 5-sentence rule and focus on what makes the most sense for the information you’re presenting. Use bullet points and subheadings to break the information on product pages, while keeping the paragraphs short for blog posts.
- Active Voice: Active voice makes your writing stronger, more direct, and easier to read. Active voice: The dog bit Mary. Passive voice: Mary was bitten by the dog. Still not clear? Just use this tool.
- Power Words: Good writing focuses on the use of nouns and verbs, instead of adjectives and adverbs. Choose strong verbs like elevate, discover, and subjugate to keep your readers on your page. Check out a whole list of ~250 power verbs here to bring your content to life.
- Conversational Writing: Write like you talk. Readers warm up to such content and can relate to it. Use contractions like ‘I’ll’ instead of ‘I will’ or ‘I’m’ instead of ‘I am’. Unlike technical writing, sentences in conversational writing may begin with pronouns and end with verbs. Sometimes, sentences are broken to display a thought.
These three storytelling techniques are meant to keep customers reading more of your content. If you can keep them on your page, you can convince them to subscribe or even schedule a demo. This, can ultimately lead to sales for your B2B enterprise, if you play the content game right.