Facts Tell, But Stories Sell: The Power of Narrative-Driven Marketing

Discover how sales and marketing combine for increased conversion rates and successful buyer targeting

September 29, 2016

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Sales and marketing have been kept apart for years; siloed into separate entities with different goals and varied metrics for success. Not anymore.

Today’s multi-channel, buyer-centric world demands collaboration between marketing strategies and sales outreach with a single binding metric—conversion. However, the path to increased conversion isn’t solely through cold calculation and analysis. The key to reaching today’s evolved buyer isn’t aggressive sales tactics or Big Data. It might just involve a good story.

Good Marketing Is Buyer Targeting

One of the easiest places to combine your sales and marketing efforts just happens to be one of the earliest, and most crucial steps in the buyer process: identifying your target buyer.

Creating a marketing and sales strategy without a clear understanding of your audience is a recipe for failure. It determines your SEO plan and the keywords you want to rank for, the social media platforms you use, networks you build, and the companies you research.

Effective content and social media marketing begins by asking questions about your target buyer so you can start the conversation:

●     Who is your audience?

●     Where are they located?

●     What are their concerns?

●     What is their position in the company?

●     Which social platforms do they engage with?

●     Who are thought leaders in their industry?

However, a targeted marketing profile can only do so much to make the sale. Your content needs context. That means a sales team that really understands what drives people to seek out your products and services like yours. The end goal is empathy.

Facts Tells, But Stories Sell

It seems counter-intuitive, but a well-crafted marketing campaign centered on storytelling that makes an emotional connection with your target buyers can help your team sell better than the most comprehensive quarterly report.

As detailed in LinkedIn’s eBook, Solving Sales and Marketing Alignment, BMC Software discovered that their traditional buyer had changed—rapidly—and new organizations were emerging as potential buyers of their software. To capture this fresh buyer demographic, BMC developed “new messaging and narratives in order to resonate with this changing buyer.” They didn’t develop new products or hastily scramble to maintain existing buyers. They listened to the feedback from their potential buyers, and let them direct the marketing narrative.

This shift in sales culture toward content aimed at new buyers resulted in new business development and growth. Social selling became a new cornerstone to success in an industry not typically known for social selling as a competitive advantage.

Too often sales professionals, focus on the data, metrics, and the ROI of their product without tethering the sale to the prospects’ needs. Facts and features are great, but only if your prospects think so too.

Social Research Creates Engaging Dialogue

The goal of narrative marketing is active prospect engagement. Social selling based on buyer targeting and research increases context, which focuses engagement, and ultimately builds trust. In our eBook, Julie Ekstrom, Senior VP of Sales at IDG Enterprise sums up the role of social selling and research nicely:

“We want our sales team to be viewed as a partner when they contact a prospect. We explore social feeds to learn about product launches, event participation and new content to understand how they are currently promoting solutions. All of this research allows for an engaged conversation. These conversations are the foundation for future relationships, and the more prepared our team is, the better conversations and follow-up will be.”

Marketing and sales exist in tandem. Targeting the right prospects with content that shows your product’s worth makes it that much easier for your sales team to convert prospects into buyers.

Download LinkedIn’s eBook, Solving Sales and Marketing Alignment and create the synergy and competitive advantage your company needs to become a sales leader.