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4 min read

SaaS Sales Superpower: Client First Storytelling

SaaS Sales Superpower: Client First Storytelling

Our programs, from Demo2Win to Storytelling2Win, provide in-depth instruction on building connections with audiences and adding value to client engagements. One of the most potent tools and training for SaaS professionals is storytelling. When properly developed, the SaaS superpower connects solutions to organizational objectives and transforms your presentations and engagements into meaningful experiences that strengthen relationships. 

Your Big Idea

Why is it Important to your Client 

We define the “Big Idea,” or the story's main point, as the organizational objective plus a story theme. Whether using industry insight, a case study, or an outside story, the story illustrates your understanding of THE CLIENT'S challenge. When you are looking to build professional empathy and gain permission from a customer or audience to proceed, the story needs to include clear elements that speak directly to customer challenges and show scalability and efficiency. 

Defining an Organizational Objective 

Connecting a story to an organizational objective can be revelatory for gaining trust with clients. It has the potential to reframe problems and position your product features as obvious solutions to customer challenges. When delivered correctly, it has a very high success rate. However, you need to identify the organizational objective correctly. To define the organizational objective, go back to discovery and what sent the customer shopping in the first place. Without tying the objective to the story, and without knowing the objective, the story risks rambling, disconnecting you from the audience or falling flat. 

A story makes an emotional connection chemically because it is about customer needs, even though you are telling a story in the first person. If you are in presales, the objective can be what your solution solves. It can simplify their need in a way that distills your product as the solution, or it can handle an objection. 

Define the Customer Challenge 

2Win Storytelling framework shows you how to use universal themes to align with customer challenges. Several themes align with common customer challenges in SaaS sales including lack of visibility, inefficiency, and process-related items. The more common the challenge is in the story, the more likely you are to connect emotionally with the audience. Think of universal themes of human experience, like travel, dining, items breaking or malfunctioning that you use regularly, emotional disturbances, or anger, most people can identify with a universal theme and relate emotionally to the experience. 

Making Connection with the Big Idea 

The Big Idea consolidates the organizational objective and the client's challenge into one sentence and should be made, ideally, within 90 seconds. With practice, sales engineers, customer success managers, and sales leaders can develop Big Ideas and tell stories on the spot. This operates a lot like how comedians build their show. Consider the story themes of clarity and visibility, and develop business concepts to connect them to. You can build a collection of stories based on the common problems that your products solve for. Rather than attempting to find an unrelated story first, think back to recent client interactions and what common themes do you address- these can be the starting points for Big Ideas and work into your library. 

Important Considerations in Storytelling 

Receptiveness 

Will an audience be receptive to the story? Relationship, culture, and setting are items that must be considered. Match tone and energy with the story idea and audience. 

Plot Definition and Story Themes 

Cortisol and oxytocin, chemicals in your brain, are released during moments of tension, such as the rise of activity and the fall or resolution. These chemicals are the mechanisms of connection with your audience. Your stories should elicit these chemical responses, they regulate emotion. They also invite your audience to join you in experiencing the story.  

Iteration

Performers constantly revise shows. They adjust their pace, tone, and character to match their audience and for this reason and others, your stories will take some time to perfect. Multiple iterations of the same story are normal, and some iterations will be better suited to certain audiences. Remember that this is about more than matching your audience, it is about bringing them into your story, so you can better meet them where they are at. 

Types of Stories 

2Win outlines types of stories to use in our Storytelling2Win framework. These are bridges that unify challenges, show professional empathy, and are client-centered. 

Illustrative Analogy 

This can be the most effective story style but difficult to build. It adds drama and builds a strong emotional connection. To issue a call to action at the conclusion, we need to carry the audience with us and prepare them to receive proof points that speak to the organizational objective. These stories can be longer or shorter, but the story can be referred to throughout the presentation. 

Case Study 

Connect the case study to the big idea and put it back in front. Agenda topics should connect to the case study and organizational objective. Be sure to abbreviate the case study, do not flood the limbic system with details that do not pertain to this client and its challenges, and have a clear transition to the call to action. 

Discovery 

A discovery story should not be a recap of the discovery, but an agenda outline and identification of the core values of the organization. Again, this is client-centered because you are aligning organizational values and showing your understanding of their needs. 

Presence as a Storyteller

Things to Consider 

Walking, handshaking, intonation, pronunciation, and posture communicate something to your audience without saying anything. It is common in sales to pay attention to the most minute detail to ensure that we are not unintentionally distracting from our message unless it is to gain authority in an interaction. A few keys to consider here, which are expanded on in our blogs on non-verbal communication, are: 

  • Face prospects directly 
  • Give a solid handshake 
  • Perfect your posture 
  • Practice deferential manners by holding doors open, saying thank you, and smiling 
  • Make regular eye contact, lean forward, and nod, signs of active listening 
  • Uncross arms 

Deepen our Connection

Stories Meet Customer Needs 

We deepen our connection to clients and improve engagement outcomes through using storytelling that places the client's needs at the center of the meeting. Using stories that show we understand their needs and can meet their challenges helps us gain authority to present solutions and achieve agreement from our audience.

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