Winning with Success Stories
When was the last time you bought anything of value without asking a friend, reading a review or Googling the product to determine if it was a good deal? If you are like me, you probably even read Consumer Reports and other non-biased reviews to get the lowdown, too.
Getting prospective customers to engage with your company takes a lot more than a thumbs up or smiley face on your Facebook page. Convincing prospects that your company can deliver the business outcomes that they want often means showing similar successes.
Smart technology partners know that success breeds success, and as long as I have been in the channel, partners have been using success stories to jumpstart winning conversations that lead to successful engagements.
Why the Success Story?
I think there is something inherent in the humans that we love a good story. Whether you are nurturing your existing customers or trying to covert prospects into a new clients, a good success story drives the positive experience of an existing user of a vendor’s solution along with the partner’s value-added expertise.
As technologists and marketers, we know that a well-crafted success story can beat out any soulless data sheet. Great stories leave your prospects wanting and aspiring to be in the same shiny shoes as your winning customer. The success story advocates and validates what you do best and how you did it; it nudges a prospect toward starting a conversation with your company.
I often tell partners to look at success stories as a key tool in their marketing kit; it’s not the only tool, but it’s an important one. During any given sales cycle your prospect is likely to ask for an existing customer testimonial, and in many cases more than one. Success stories can help accelerate pipeline and drive sales by instilling confidence and validation that your prospects need during their decision-making process.
Like other vendors, SAP has a well-defined process for providing partners with access to a library of success stories. SAP customers can download such content via SAPPartnerEdge.com, where we have a designated section within the Marketing area of the site that is just for success stories. More importantly, our partners can nominate their own success stories to be developed by SAP at no cost to them.
We take success stories seriously, in particular; our approach is that great customer success stories tell the world how SAP and its partners are helping customers transform their digital business. And, the best ones demonstrate:
- Business Transformation: How technology and partner expertise/technology helped drive significant changes to the customer’s business approach.
- Leading-Edge Business/Technology Innovation: Where the customer used technology in creative ways.
- Outstanding Business Success: Where technology was a critical component to achieve a specific business outcome.
In addition to partners nominating their stories for development by SAP, we also provide value-added tools to help our partners easily share stories with their prospects. One example of this is the SAP Customer Journey mobile app (for iPad), giving our partners access to the latest SAP customer stories available anywhere and anytime.
While there are endless formulas and approaches for developing a great success story, the main takeaway is to leverage your vendor’s available success stories and work with your vendor to create your own.
Remember: Prospects don’t convert with smiley faces, but give them a great success story and you’ll get the likes that can turn into deals.
Success stories can drive more than just a thumbs up.