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A great CSM with powerful storytelling skills can make selling fun and adventurous. Here’s a CSM’s guide to Customer Success Stories.
Everyone loves a good story with a happy ending. That’s why as a customer success manager, your best achievement could be the list of customer success stories you’ve managed to compile. Ever since the art of selling turned on its head and headed the digital way, storytelling is considered a powerful tool in the salesperson’s kitty. A good story sells your stuff, sells more, and sells at a higher price.
Often CSMs recoil when asked to spin a yarn. ‘I am here to sell, not tell stories’ is the refrain. But how do you sell? By making people listen to what you have to say about your product/service, correct? But in this world of marketing overkill, the customers are fed up with sales spiels. So, how do you make them want to listen to you? By telling them a riveting story of how someone found success by using what you have to sell!
A good story moves people, influences them to buy your wares. This makes storytelling a vital tool for connecting with customers, which, as many surveys prove, is the only way to customer satisfaction, aka retention. And when this happens, the customer is happy, your company is happy, you’re growing, the business is growing… happily forever situation!
Just one thing: A lovely heart-warming tale of a customer who’s madly happy with your product or service.
Now, the question is, how do you tell the story? How to make a great storyteller out of a good CSM? Now, no one is telling you to cook up grandma’s tales. All you have to do is gather all the necessary details and take it to your company’s marketing department to package it into a compelling narrative that your customers will want to listen to and get swayed by. Let’s begin…
Start by listening more and talking less. Listen to customers, peers, competitors, your colleagues, and your intuition. You will hear so many stories. After that, the first steps are to:
Once you decide how and when your consumer connect schedule, draw up a list of essential questions you need to ask your customers for you to put together mind-blowing stories. Remember each case study interaction with the customer must include:
A strategic interview will lead to a powerful customer story. Be to the point, be persuasive, but never invade their privacy. Keep the interview span, whether online on in-person short – no more than 20 minutes at the outside. Check out what’s already available – don’t waste your allotted 20 minutes asking questions that you can find answers to by browsing the customer’s website. Remember to throw in questions about the product, the buying process, onboarding, adoption and implementation, product worthiness, and advocacy.
Questions must include:
This list is not exhaustive, but aligning to this pattern somewhat will help you reach that reason, emotion that led the company to search for your product and subsequent adoption. Bingo!
This is a painful process of weaning and adding. As a CSM, you might feel everything the customer has said is of prime importance, but remember, leaving out stuff is as important as including things. The first thing to do is make notes for yourself:
Now take this list to the marketing department with all the raw material! Let them do Shakespeare’s job! However, it makes sense to include one short bit about what aspirational points (read film script) the marketing department should look for in a great story in this article. So adding it here:
Customer success storytelling should address the customer’s frustration listening to a particularly empathetic story, leading him to dream about a better future upon adoption, which would lead to anticipation to buy the product. And then comes the solution, resolution of his nightmares, and, therefore, the happy ending climax. Of course, the hero is the proud winner – and if you are a CSM with strong oratory skills, by now, the potential customer must be imagining himself as the hero-upon-adoption of your product.
A great CSM with powerful storytelling skills might never win the Pulitzer, but he can make selling fun and adventurous. After all, good stories always find listeners and viewers. Or else Netflix wouldn’t be putting together binge-watching lists and driving subscriptions.17
Bottom line: Great customer success stories make for great sales.
Rakhin has over 10 years of experience driving business development and client services. In his prior roles, he stayed close to customers to understand their requirements and help them achieve their business goals. He is passionate about customer success.
Published January 10, 2022, Updated February 28, 2023
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