Part IV: Operationalizing Storytelling – SharperAx

By March 16, 2018Uncategorized

This is the final and fourth post of ‘The Storytelling Enterprise’ series. This series outlines the power and promise of capturing the organizations’ relevant selling stories for your sales team and – in a timely way – delivering them so they can be easily practiced, coached and mastered.

Our story so far:

Part I of the Storytelling Enterprise blog series outlined the power of everyone in your company capturing stories for the sales team and gave some good examples of selling stories.

Part II outlines how to capture your stories in a story deck that is easy to use and in a format that a sales person can easily digest and practice.

Part III shares a successful way to organize your weekly story workshops to get your reps comfortable learning new stories and mastering them.

Part IV addresses the question – how do you navigate busy calendars and multiple time zones to make role-playing your company’s selling stories convenient and scalable?

Operationalizing role playing

We built SharperAx to fill the sizeable gap between ‘role-playing our selling stories really helps our reps sell better’ and ‘we only do it once or twice a year because it’s too hard to do it more often’.

SharperAx is a SaaS application that makes it easy and convenient to capture, distribute, practice, share, coach and master a company’s key selling stories.  Let’s look at how it works.

Quickly capturing stories

It can take a long time to capture and deliver important information to sales – a 2-month turnaround for a customer case study is not uncommon, by the time it gets researched, written, edited, ok’d by customers, approved by lawyers and rolled out to the field.

That is a lot of work and two months is a long time.  And not only is it not timely enough to help sellers adapt to rapidly changing selling and market conditions but it’s in the wrong format for sales.  Do you really want your sellers spending their time reading and trying to synthesize 2-page case studies into compelling 1 ½ minute stories?

A better approach is to find the person that knows the story and have them turn on their webcam and tell it.  In SharperAx, we call this the story “guide”.  A two minute story can be captured in two minutes. (Or ten minutes, if they want to practice is several times). There are no writers, editors, oks or lawyers and no two month delay.

Below is a picture of the SharperAx workbench, showing a guide story that was just recorded.

Story Guide Image v2

Getting stories to sellers in minutes vs. months

It took 10 minutes to create and capture our story above.  Now, let’s get it to your sales team.  Good news — they already have it.  The minute that you promoted your story to be a ‘guide’, all your SharperAx users can view it.  If they have, they can view in their from the SharperAx tab.

Review Guide and Practice, Practice, Practice

Now the seller can review the guide, review the summary notes on the story and start practicing the story.   The seller can save as many practice versions as they like.  No one can see these practice versions besides the seller.  The idea is to give the seller a safe place to try new things without worrying about other people seeing the mistakes on the way to mastery.

Share best practice story for feedback

When a seller gets a good version of the story, they push a button and pick who they would like to share the story with for feedback.  It could be their manager, a sales trainer, a peer etc.

Seller Sharing

Coach stories

When someone shares a story with you, you can see it multiple places, including in your story thumbnail tray.  You watch it and giver the seller feedback to make their story better.  If you want, the seller can practice the story incorporating your feedback and share another story with you for additional feedback.

Coaching View

Series Conclusion

There is a growing realization that storytelling is an effective way to communicate in business.  There is also a growing awareness that sales teams are not effectively telling these stories, a big reason the average prospect conversation is failing.

The Storytelling Enterprise series demonstrates a way to unleash the power of storytelling within your company and outlines the tool (the story deck), the process (the story workshop) and the system (SharperAx) to help make it happen within your organization.

Good selling!