I’ve been happily busy this past several weeks getting acclimated in my new role at ADP and loving it. I used a phrase the other day that I learned years ago and was reminded how relevant it is today for Marketers who are focused on filling a pipeline and enabling Sales to effectively sell.
“Lead toward your solution, not with your solution.”
I don’t recall who first explained that simple, yet powerful phrase to me, but it was a gift. As we work to tell our company story, there is always that tendency to make the story about us, not about our customer. However, to be most effective, customers must see themselves in your story. To that end, you must start your story in the customer’s world…the challenges and obstacles he faces every day that prevent achievement of business objectives. You can then let the story progress toward how your unique solution addresses those challenges. Hint: if you start your story with features and benefits or a slide that has all the logos of your biggest clients, you’re getting it wrong. Here’s a simple framework for building a story that leads to your solution, not with it:
- Set up the business problem and support with one or more industry facts.
- Explain why the current situation creates business (or professional) risk.
- Describe how your solution addresses the problem (not a list of features).
- Explain what the situation could be like with your solution.
- Provide some proof point to make the story concrete.
(Image Long road used under CCL)