Why You Need Success Stories That Sell

Lorraine Maurice

For small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), customer success stories offer a great way to explain the tangible benefits of products or services.

Stories are more memorable than traditional sales ads, so it makes sense to use them to position your company the way you want to be perceived. To create success stories that sell, you need to make them less corporate and return to traditional storytelling. These 7 tips illustrate how to do just that.

1. Make the complex simple

Prospects want a simple story. To reach them, you need to make complex information as straightforward as possible while helping prospects understand why they should buy your product or service. You can use a five-step method to build engaging success stories: Create an overview that details the following:

  •  information about the customer’s company
  •  the problem the customer faced
  •  how the problem was evaluated and solved
  •  the results
  •  the benefits

This method helps you focus on providing only essential information.

2. Persuade where facts cannot

Facts alone may not be enough to persuade someone to take action. Consider how public service announcements (PSAs) on smoking portray information. The audience already knows that smoking is dangerous, but that fact has not been enough to persuade smokers to quit their dangerous habit. Instead, PSAs on smoking often engage the audience emotionally by showing its long-term consequences. Adding emotion can make your story more provocative and interesting, so it has a stronger impact.

3. Aid information retention

Stories are remembered up to 22 times more than facts alone, according to Jennifer Aaker, a professor of marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. If you want prospects to remember your company when the need arises, include customer success stories in all marketing campaigns.

4. Humanize the brand

Prospects prefer to work with people, not institutions. Customer success stories help you humanize your brand and build trust by putting faces and names to products and services. When writing about how your company helped a customer, include team member names to cultivate this personal touch.

5. Stimulate imagination

Stories help potential customers imagine how they might need your product or service. If you install whiteboard walls in offices, your prospects might not necessarily know they need a whiteboard wall and seek it out. However, if you communicate how a customer doubled productivity using whiteboards, your prospects might discover they too have a need for this type of product.

6. Evoke emotion

Stories evoke emotions in a way that traditional advertisements cannot. They help prospects relate to the problems the company in the success story faced. Even if prospects face somewhat different problems, stories help them appreciate how you solved a problem and supported a customer.

7. Convey a message

In storytelling, conveying a message is important. Whether you want to position yourself as a cost-effective solution or an industry leader, the message should be obvious within the story.

Customer success stories help you reach new customers and emotionally connect them to your brand. Storytelling is a key part of any strategy for successfully positioning your company online and in the real world.

Interested in learning more? Visit the SAP Marketing Academy homepage: choose SAP SME Academy Live Series and find the Demand Generation “Creating Success Stories that Sell.”

Lorraine Maurice

About Lorraine Maurice

Lorraine Maurice is the Senior Director of Global Indirect Channel Marketing at SAP. She is responsible for the launch of SAP partner programs, solutions and communications into the Indirect Partner Ecosystem, which includes many partner types such as VARs, Distributors and DRCs.