Start by gaining clarity regarding the difference between selling to the enterprise decision maker and selling to SMB (small to midsize business) decision makers. Choose your market entry strategy and niche wisely. Then learn how to tell your story to inspire new customer acquisition.
When you leverage SMB customer success stories, you often tell these stories directly to key decision makers rather than swimming through layers of enterprise-level influencers. SMB customer success stories become dynamic and strike a resounding chord with that SMB CEO.
Those SMB decision makers, in turn, become your greatest advocates. They will enjoy telling your customer success stories to their own SMB networks. Your customer advocates will endorse, refer and grow your presence in the SMB marketplace.
It all starts by leveraging SMB customer success story-telling as a critical component of your team’s sales strategy.
Part 1 of this 3-part series on SMB customer success stories focused on enterprise versus SMB sales strategy, including:
- The importance of customizing parts of enterprise IT channel sales team strategy when selling to the enigmatic SMB marketplace. And being willing to reinvent the wheel if you need to.
- Defining SMB opportunities, comparing them to the personas of an enterprise opportunity and identifying SMB challenges for your current sales strategy.
- Avoiding adopting a “one-IT-channel-sales-strategy-fits-all” SMBs approach.
Part 2 of this 3-part series took a deep dive into characterizing opportunities within the often-enigmatic SMB marketplace, including:
- Avoiding the temptation to consider the entire SMB ecosystem as a viable marketplace for your sales team. It isn’t. The SMB marketplace and diversity of buyer personas are mind-boggling, which is why this market niche remains largely untapped by IT channel sales teams.
- Focusing on areas of specialization as your SMB market entry strategy.
- Evaluating your enterprise-level customer success metrics for relevance to targeted SMB decision makers.
- Telling relevant and valuable stories rather than reporting statistics and comparing numbers.
Part 3 of the series lasers in on the dynamics of leveraging inspiring SMB customer success stories.
Most of us think of stories as just that: an anecdotal and static recounting of: 1) what they needed, 2) what we did, and 3) how we fixed their problem.
This isn’t a bedtime story. Don’t put your SMB decision makers to sleep.
When you leverage SMB customer success stories, your team’s professional expertise becomes dynamic and legendary. You become the catalyst for engaging listeners and readers.
When you leverage SMB customer success stories, your business case recounts a saga of all-hands-on-deck hard work, rather than “we sent in the field service tech team and this is what they did.”
Think tribal camp fire. When you leverage SMB customer success stories, think about sitting around the tribal camp fire and enveloping the reader or listener into the midst of that customer success story. When readers and listeners empathetically and emotionally relate to your compelling heroic tale, SMB decision makers become engaged advocates desiring your team’s expertise.
Engage readers and listeners in collaboration. When you leverage SMB customer success stories, your goal is to draw everyone into the conversation. As you tell your story, ask them whether they had a similar scenario occur. Ask them whether they have thought about different processes for addressing the problem. Ask them, if they were in your shoes, how they would tackle the same type of customer problem.
Leverage your SMB customer success stories as ongoing tales. Customer success stories are not one and done. When you incorporate them into your IT channel sales team strategy, leave your customers in a state of suspense for the next installation of that success story! Oh, and avoid the demo as the next installation – that jerks everyone out of being an active participant in the story and puts them right back into a status quo observer role.
Always be story-telling. Your IT channel sales team has wonderful customer success stories to tell the SMB marketplace. Make story-telling part of your sales team process. Yes, it is a new skill set that is an innovative means of showcasing your team’s expertise.
Focus on creating an SMB account entry strategy that is engaging, creative, participatory and inspiring. Customer success stories lead the way.
Babette Ten Haken is a management consultant, strategist and coach. She is the Founder and President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC. Babette has one of the most distinctive voices in today’s workforce, professional development and customer success communities. She traverses the interface between human capital strategy for hiring and developing collaborative technical and non-technical employees. Babette’s playbook of technical / non-technical collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.
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