“We are going with a solution from……” Mark said. Problem was, it was a competitive product. Worse, this was the first I heard of this evaluation.
Mark was the CIO of a large tech company. We had a trusted relationship and I was the sales executive for Cisco. Not good news to hear, so I took this moment to ask him point-blank how he truly made his technology decisions. His answer:
“I’m part of a CIO network that meet regularly to share challenges and successes. I learn from my peers on solution stories and technology successes. Vendor partners are critical to execute on technology and implementation, but my peer’s successes is my main source to learn and validate technology.”
This was at the advent of ZMOT and at a pivotal time. What Mark was saying was becoming common. The buying process had transitioned over the years and I needed to change my selling ways too. But how? How could I be a trusted advisor when other sources were considered more trusted?
The answer was in Mark’s message: Provide compelling customer reference stories and facilitate peer connections. I changed my approach to systematically include stories in my interactions and create connections. I developed a simple methodology for creating and narrating stories. The following year sales grew by 45% while my career became more enjoyable.
As I met with thought leaders in Marketing, Advertising, Sales, and Customer Success they validated the importance of storytelling in the customer journey. Today it’s well-accepted that 60% - 70% of the buying process is completed online before reaching out to sales. Peer reference storytelling is not just for the sales team, but also to be promoted online in every part of the buying journey. Traditional customer reference platforms have not evolved with ZMOT. The industry needed a modern, peer storytelling customer reference platform and process.
So we created it. Learn more about the company here.