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Stories Make It Easy for All Employees to Be Marketers

Employees should have purpose in what they do

It is the provider’s marketing leadership that is charged with helping buyers go through their steps.  But the big cultural shift is when everyone in the provider’s company decides to be a marketer.

Stories are as old as cave drawings it seems.  It’s the opportunity to describe what has happened to someone who took the leap to know something others didn’t know and came back to share their information.  That gap between what they know and what they don’t know is what keeps buyers from progressing.  Stories can motivate buyers to take the leap because they pin their rationale on the benefits they want.  Perhaps the greatest thing about stories is it allows the buyer’s brain to learn raw information with context.  Stories are needed to make it feel relevant.

Most employees will tell stories that show purpose in what they do for a living.  People want others to know that they are part of something that matters, something that makes a difference.  Let’s say Mary works in the accounting department of a provider.  Mary doesn’t get a lot of direct buyer contact and she’s busy with her accounting job.

At a dinner party, someone asks Mary what she does and what her company does.  Would she rather answer with “we do cloud computing” or “we help organizations save up to 50% on their computing costs”?  It just so happens that this dinner party guest works for a company trying to lower their fixed operating costs.  What’s going to be easier for Mary to explain; the technical specifics of the solution or a documented customer story?  In order to avoid glazed eyes that could lead the inquirer into a deep sleep after a glass of wine, Mary is going to tell the story.  She’s going to tell the story because it’s simple and it gives her purpose.  Mary isn’t just a terrific accountant; she works for a company that is helping other companies improve their results.  The inquirer may not fully grasp what Mary is telling him, but one thing is obvious, Mary has a passion for what her company is doing and she has a story to back it up.  What Mary didn’t know was this dinner guest has lots of influence at his company.  Mary the Accountant just became Mary the Marketer.

Take your best customer stories and turn them into pithy stories for all employees.  They’re inexpensive to do, motivating and the provider gets word of mouth marketing.  It’s only a matter of time that someone in finance relays the story about how they unexpectedly sourced an opportunity through story telling.

More Stories By John Ryan

John is an experienced leader with a strong background of defining and executing company strategies. He is especially skilled in channel management, market analysis, brand marketing and selling technology products and services. He has successfully served in a number of executive positions and has been in management for 20 years. John is currently writing a book on increasing revenue generation. He has been a co-author of a comprehensive marketing methodology for high tech companies and has helped venture capitalists and private equity firms gauge their technology investments. In 2004, John served as Vice President of Marketing for the NA arm of the $6B IT Services division of Siemens, AG. John served on the board of directors at WebTrends, purchased by NetIQ (NTIQ) for $1 billion in 2001. WebTrends was highly successful dominating the web site analysis and reporting space. Prior to WebTrends, John was the Vice President of Marketing for Tivoli Systems. John has worked as a contracted consultant for established companies, start ups and top analyst firms. John can be reached at john@johnwryan.com or you can follow him on Twitter @buyersteps

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