“Facts tell, but stories sell,” declared Verballistics founder Gina Balarin in the opening moments of her presentation at The Revenue Growth Summit in Oxford earlier this year.
As sayings go, this one rolls off the tongue and leaves a familiar taste in the mouth; it’s well established across sales and marketing that a genuine and compelling narrative can be used to improve sales performance.
Yet when most of us think of storytelling’s commercial potential, we turn automatically to marketing. In doing so, many HubSpot users are missing out on storytelling’s awesome potential to close revenue and drive new business.
In the first two articles of this series, I introduced telling your brand story with HubSpot and then specifically storytelling with the Marketing Hub. In this third article in the series, I'll cover storytelling and Sales Hub.
The HubSpot Sales Hub is equipped with multiple features that sales directors and their teams can use to tell interesting and engaging stories to help turn today’s prospects into tomorrow’s customers.
See Which Stories Engage Individual Prospects Using Email Tracking
The key to business storytelling that performs is relevance, yet stories are deeply subjective. Buyer personas, analytics data, and customer feedback are ways that marketers and salespeople traditionally review their success in this area. Your Sales Hub goes one step further by flagging up in real time how prospects are interacting with your emails.
Use the email tracking feature to give yourself complete visibility over which stories are performing well and to discover who’s reading them.
When distributing and following up on sales emails, in-the-moment notifications that your prospects are opening your emails are invaluable. When that email contains elements of storytelling, you can jump onto a call and continue the story over the phone while the prospect is "hot," quickly establishing rapport and building relationships.
Build Successful Stories Into Quick-Fire Sales Email Templates
Content creation — particularly narrative content — can be challenging and time-consuming. Industry reports suggest some salespeople spend up to 30 hours a month creating email copy and other content assets. For junior reps and new starters, this figure could well be higher.
Sales Hub’s email template feature is specifically designed to address this. With this feature, you can save effective stories into templates so that they become re-usable and accessible to the wider team.
And this is great for scalability, too. Turn the stories that sales reps find themselves emailing over and over into email templates so that even your new starters can jump straight into the business of nurturing and closing leads using your most powerful or affecting stories.
Many sales reps recognize the revenue-generating potential of good storytelling. Templating these stories means reps can deliver relevant, easy-to-personalize content that cuts through a prospect’s mistrust and begins building faith at a crucial time in the buying journey. To put it another way, quick-fire email templates help your sales team close new customers.
Nurture Prospects With an Extended Narrative Delivered Across an Email Sequence
In much the same way that a book is made up of successive chapters, an automated sequence presents the opportunity for you to extend an effective narrative across multiple emails, nurturing the recipients over time while improving productivity.
A winning sequence of emails targeted to the recipients can deliver an engaging and persuasive story at scale. You'll clearly see the impact of that storytelling in improved open rates and clickthrough rates.
And don't just take my word for it. Our sales enablement consultant Chris Grant can also testify to the effectiveness of sequences:
“I was talking to a sales director this morning who was telling me that his new hires take 6–9 months to be effective. But actually, if you can start templating key documents and creating winning sequences that will get meetings, you can speed up that process from day one.”
Use Sales Hub’s Live Chat to Tell Interactive Stories in Real Time
Today’s prospects don’t want to be talked at or sold to. Interactive storytelling creates an environment wherein the prospect has an opportunity to react, to contribute, to fill the gaps in your story with pieces from their own. This is storytelling at its most masterful and affecting, and live chat facilitates it.
HubSpot’s live chat is presenting exciting opportunities for businesses to add an interactive element to their storytelling, inviting visitors, prospects, or customers to quite literally join the conversation.
When set up and managed well, sales chatbots can deliver similar capabilities at scale. Could a short story or anecdote told over automated chat provide the context a site visitor is missing or offer a hook that leads the prospect to read the rest of the story on the blog?
Deliver Personalized Case Stories With 1:1 Videos
Case stories have applications across sales, marketing, and services. Sales Hub’s 1:1 video creation capabilities create an interactive way for you to personalize and deliver case stories to individual prospects, furthering engagement while reinforcing the case story’s impact.
Referring back to a written case story, your sales reps can film themselves discussing the key points and how it’s relevant to the target viewer, creating a visual and personalized delivery.
Our business development representatives create custom videos every day when introducing themselves to new prospects or promoting offers. Taking a case story that communicates how your business has helped a customer in a similar situation to a prospect and transforming it into a short, impactful video stands out in their inbox, holds the viewer’s attention, and resonates with today’s time-sensitive buyers.
No one wants to be sold to anymore. But stories? They’re as irresistible as they’ve always been. This was the crux of Gina’s session at our event last October. It’s also the thread running across all my sales content activities, beautifully enabled by the Sales Hub.
Technology is enabling truly awesome feats in the sales and marketing space. Among these, its storytelling capabilities are right up there at the top. For sales directors willing to, and capable of, building storytelling into their people and process, revenue growth and meaningful relationships with new customers await. Isn’t that what we all want?
Originally published Dec 19, 2018 11:00:00 AM, updated December 19 2018