Get Rid of Tech Jargon and Start Telling Stories

October 4, 2013
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ImageThere is a fine line between success and failure in my opinion. Most businesses in similar industries have much the same composition, but often differ in the way they execute their operations, which is where the fine line exists. Approaching new customers with the right content, a well-defined product and a carefully crafted story is a major plus in winning  their business.

ImageThere is a fine line between success and failure in my opinion. Most businesses in similar industries have much the same composition, but often differ in the way they execute their operations, which is where the fine line exists. Approaching new customers with the right content, a well-defined product and a carefully crafted story is a major plus in winning  their business.

Recently, I was in Australia and I spent some time meeting a few of our customers. Having the opportunity to meet customers face to face is something that I thoroughly enjoy. So much time is often spent internally dealing with all of the complexities that come with running a modern business that it’s possible to lose the face to face connection that is the lifeblood of most companies. It’s right at that cold face where you can really feel the temperature of the business and the challenges businesses face. I appreciate the time customers made to meet with me recently. Thank you. It was invaluable.

When I meet with customers, it’s usually straight to the point without fancy lunches and drinks. I like to discuss their challenges and share some ideas on how to increase revenue. We usually talk about concepts that can help them grow. I guess it’s something along the lines of brainstorming, sharing experiences and establishing a genuine partnership, which can lead to a better outcome for all stakeholders. I love to see our customers grow and any ideas or advice we can share is value adding.

I will recall a conversation I had with one of our channel partners. We discussed some of the challenges they faced which was predominantly about working out how to grow either the volume of customers or the revenue share per customer.

Revenue growth is complicated to achieve for many service providers, not just in IT.

Service providers tend to have the technical expertise in-house but it’s the front end, customer acquisition that is often the weakest link. Part of the reason is that IT services are complex to explain. The services are mostly intangible, not easily articulated and require a large degree of trust, consulting and experience in order to diagnose the requirements and to deliver a proposal that will meet the expectations of the customer. It is difficult for an experienced account manager to convey the value of the services let alone an inexperienced business development manager.

I often discuss marketing activities with customers that I meet, because I believe it is a critical aspect of business growth. One of the strongest tools for marketing is storytelling. For example, in this article I am writing about discussions I had with channel partners. I am relating true events that occurred and trying to help readers of this article learn and associate with the discussion. Hopefully they might take something valuable away from the time spent reading.

In my view, one of the success factors comes down to the service provider’s ability to storytell and know who the audience is.

Most people making decisions are not technical people, therefore in depth discussions about technical items are only going to bore them or even worse make them feel uncomfortable due to their lack of knowledge.

Communicating the right language, solving business challenges rather than addressing IT problems might be a good start. Relaying experiences of others in similar situations helps the customer relate. A mix of content suits different readers. Case studies are good for buyers. White papers are good for technical people and opinion pieces are powerful for thought leadership concepts. All this content helps to demonstrate trust through experiences documented and shared.

Developing the material that conveys trust is a serious commitment that takes many hours. But with regular attention, deeper and more rounded definition of the services provided and their positioning, the chances of growing revenue will increase.

Take the time and try to recall one of your best installations or customers’ experiences. Share the project from start to finish. Was it a complex migration or overnight disaster saving event?

We love stories like that. Give it a try.

image: tech talk/shutterstock