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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistThu, Mar 17, 2022 19 min read

Your Company’s Story Is Everything And Yours Gets A Failing Grade

What Is Your Brand's Story?

So many companies think lead generation and revenue growth is about marketing or sales execution. In other words, the ads, the website, the emails, the social posts, the content and the sales reps are why companies explode with growth.

Surprisingly, none of that is true.

If I handed you $1 million and you spent it on those tactics above, your company would waste that money unless you have a compelling, emotional and engaging story that is perfectly crafted to attract your prospects who have pain.

Today, companies are realizing they need to have an authentic brand story that moves the market. But that story is elusive for most companies.

We talked in detail about this on a recent episode of What's Wrong With Revenue? You can watch that episode here.

Before we get into the details, let’s take a few minutes to look at your company’s story. Pull up your website and review the headline on the site, then head over to your competitors’ sites (just two or three of them).

If your headline isn’t DRAMATICALLY different than their headlines, your story gets a failing grade. If your headline doesn’t tell a compelling, emotional, disruptive and authentic story, you also get a failing grade.

Let’s dig into this more.

How Your Current Story Was Created

Your company has a story right now. You might not know it, or it might be something different than what you think it is, but it exists regardless and actually in spite of what you’re doing.

To hear your company story, ask your sales reps to tell you about your company. It’s a simple question that prospects might ask every single day: “So, tell me about (your company name here).”

My advice would be to ask all your sales reps. If you have hundreds, make sure you ask a good cross-section of reps who have been with you for a long time, reps who are new, reps who are younger in age, reps who are older in age, reps who are industry insiders and reps who have come from the outside.

You’re going to be shocked to hear how they describe and talk about the company.

I’ve been on many sales calls with CEOs and sales reps only to have the CEO tell me later that she didn’t even recognize the company her rep was describing.

No sales reps? No problem. Ask your receptionist or customer support people. Ask your executives. No matter who you ask, you’re going to be surprised at what you hear.

We do this almost every week at Square 2, and people are always amazed at what others are saying about their own company.

This is because there is no designed story. It’s just what people have made up, are comfortable sharing and have been saying for years.

This is how your story gets created when there is no thought and strategy behind it.

How Your Current Story Gets Deployed In Your Marketing

Now it’s time for your company to build a website or rebuild an old website. You have the story that people are telling, but that’s not easily translated into a short headline for the website.

So now marketing people start looking at what other companies are saying on their websites. They are especially interested in competitors that are bigger than you or are competing aggressively with you.

Unfortunately, they’re not looking at these sites to make sure you say something completely different. They’re looking at those sites to come up with something similar, because if it works for them, it surely will work for you.

People, in general, are afraid to stand out. It’s uncomfortable. Yet as marketers our goal is to push you to stand out. The more you stand out, the more attention you garner and the more leads you generate. The more leads, the faster you grow.

You have to push your organization to stand out, and you should start with the marketing crew.

Let’s Look At Some Examples

It might make sense to look at examples of companies that are not standing out, don’t have a disruptive story and are not working hard enough to move the market.

Here’s a company with an amazing service. They place people in dental practices and help dental practices find people to work in their practices. In a time when finding good people is challenging, this is the right service at the right time.

Cloud Denstistry

Their headline is fine. It’s descriptive. They make staffing the dental practice easier, and it’s clear they work with practices and people who want to work in dental practices.

But is this going to move the needle? Is it going to get anyone excited? I think they could do better. I think it could be more about the prospect than about their company:

Matches Made in Heaven and Delivered to Your Inbox Instantly. Highly Qualified People for Your Dental Practice and Great Dental Practices Ready to Hire.

You have to admit, it’s much more emotional, interesting and engaging. Plus, the reference to heaven and the name of the company being Cloud Dentistry is pure artistry.

Here’s one more.

floorcoveringstoryslide

This is a company that does flooring. I know someone who works here, so that’s how I found their site.

Are You Ready For New Floors In Your Home? It’s a silly question. Of course I’m ready for new floors; that’s why I’m on the site. This space is supposed to be used to get me excited to work with them and only them.

Take Your Home From Drab To Fab With Beautiful New Floors

Since they have a rotator (a series of boxes appear) on this site, they could test a variety of headlines and then lean into the one that does the best.

Thousands Of Samples Available For Installation In 3 Days Or Less

Yes, this is a bold statement and requires them to actually deliver on this promise, but wow, that is a bold statement.

Choosing Flooring Is A Big Decision – Use Our Room Visualizer™ To See Your New Floors In Your Home

I happen to know they have this tool. You take a picture of your room, and you can see what your new floor will look like.

All three of these ideas far surpass what they’re currently doing, and I guarantee they will produce better results, more clicks and more leads.

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A Methodology For Better Story Creation

You might be saying, “Easy for you to do, Mike – you do this every day. How are we going to come up with something that moves our market, disrupts our competitors or is truly remarkable?”

It’s a fair question.

This doesn’t have to be complicated, but without a methodology, it might feel like it’s a lot to work through. The simplest way to handle this is as follows:

  1. Personas: Start building out your personas.
  2. Pains: Identify the pains, challenges or issues each persona is facing.
  3. Solutions: Match up your solutions to each of your persona’s pains.
  4. Remarkable: Make sure those solutions or the delivery of those solutions are remarkable, so no other provider can or does tell similar stories.
  5. Social Proof: People won’t believe you, but they’ll believe your customers.

Let’s look at each of these steps in more detail.

Who Are Your Target Personas?

A persona is a detailed profile of exactly who you want to do business with and attract to your website. In some cases, it might describe your very best customer or client. For the sake of this article, let’s focus on B2B personas.

While most people know it should include demographic information, the company where they work and their title, it should also include professional information. Some of these details might be level of education, professional experience, past roles and income levels.

Part of this professional profile should include the challenges in their role, the resources they might have access to and their aspirations.

But these personas also need detailed profile information on the actual person. This includes where they get their information, where they spend their time (online and offline) and what events they attend.

What websites do they visit? What associations or groups are they members of? What blogs or email lists do they subscribe to? How often do they want information sent to them?

It should include their information consumption preferences. Do they like to watch videos, listen to podcasts or read articles?

This part of the profile is often incomplete or missing altogether.

Most people today realize they need these persona profiles, but here’s one just to make sure you know exactly what you’re creating in this exercise.

Here’s an example of a persona profile at Square 2:

square2personaslide

Remember, if you have multiple people you’re trying to attract, you’ll need multiple persona profiles.

What Pains Do Prospects Feel?

Once the personas are done, you need to start identifying in detail the pains and challenges facing your personas. Some of this information is referred to in the personal profile, but it’s important to dig into these in more detail.

While it’s not imperative to identify all of your personas’ pains, it is important to identify the most significant pains. Try to be as specific as possible, and make sure these pains are directly related to the services or products you provide.

Here are a few examples for the persona above. Remember, pains are not objections in the sales process, so try to stay away from using objections instead of pains.

Pain 1 – We just can’t hit our sales goals month over month. We have one good month and one bad month; we can’t seem to string enough good months to finish a year with solid revenue growth.

Pain 2 – It feels like we’re doing random acts of marketing. We’re not strategic in any marketing we execute and so the results are mediocre at best.

Pain 3 – Our sales team isn’t telling the right story; they’re not following a defined process and they’re probably wasting effort too. We need to make sure our sales team is highly efficient and executing our sales process to perfection.

Notice that the pains, as illustrated above, are in the voice of your prospects. Try to keep the pains in their voice. That will help you align solutions and keep your story tuned into their issues, instead of talking about you and how you solve them.

Speaking of you, now it is time to have you map your solutions to each of the pains above.

What Solutions Satisfy Those Pains?

Next, you want to take each pain and map exactly how you solve those pains for your customers and prospects.

This doesn’t have to be a detailed set of solutions, but you want to make sure that each of the top pains has a set of solutions, products or services that satisfy your prospects’ pains.

No need to overcomplicate this. It’s the easiest part of the exercise.

In our case, the first pain.

Pain 1 – We just can’t hit our sales goals month over month. We have one good month and one bad month; we can’t seem to string enough good months to finish a year with solid revenue growth.

Our solution would be a revenue growth strategy engagement, perhaps an Accelerated Engagement to complete the work in 30 days, and include our senior team of experts, our Cyclonic Buyer Journey™ framework and the MAXG software we use for our clients to ensure solid results in an ongoing manner.

This is an initial story development exercise; how the sausage gets made is for another day.

What Makes You Remarkable?

But there is a little more to the solutions conversation, and this is where the ordinary becomes extraordinary and where every day becomes remarkable.

If I stopped and used the solutions described above, then Square 2 would look like one of the thousands of other agencies we compete with. This is what most people do – they describe in practical terms the solutions and services they offer and call it a day.

However, we’d create messaging that allows us to go further.

We would talk about our Accelerated Engagement instead of the traditional, ineffective and slow retainer model.

We would talk about our senior team of experienced people and our dedicated instead of fractional team model.

We would talk about our Cyclonic Buyer Journey framework that helps us craft a more compelling story as well as the associated content and campaign tactics.

You get the idea. Several remarkable elements to our story get communicated via our website homepage, like: The Secret To Revenue Growth — Get 6 Months Of Work In 30 Days.

For people with the pain of wanting to fix revenue and fix it fast, this story resonates. It’s emotional, compelling and different than most other agencies.

You can produce a similar story for your business. But there is still one other element to a good story, and that’s social proof.

Prospects Won’t Believe You

If you spend more time on our website, you’ll notice video testimonials from our clients, awards we’ve won, real reviews from clients and client success stories published with actual client participation.

This is because almost no one believes what you have on your website. You need social proof from people other than you — people just like your prospects.

This proof is an important and necessary element to your story. Just consider the playground when you were 10 years old. When you had a disagreement, you might hear, “Oh yeah? Prove it.”

That’s what your prospects are asking for today.

They want to make sure that what you say is exactly what you do, and they’re smart enough to know just because you say it doesn’t make it true.

They want to see who else you worked with, what results they saw, how long it took and what the experience was like.

It’s an important piece of how people process information and decide whether to go forward or not with your company. It has to be present, be part of your story and be public.

You need personas, pains, solutions and remarkable elements along with social proof all packaged up and presented in an emotional, compelling and disruptive way if you want to grow revenue at a fast pace.

This might be the most important work you do around your marketing in 2022. Don’t wait any longer. If your website story is similar to your competitors, get started on revamping it today.

Square 2 — Building The Agency You’ll LOVE!

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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.

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