We all get frustrated with prospects and customers not understanding the value of our products and services, we all been there. Every business needs to make money to stay in business, but without a clear message, customers will walk away.
The Authentic Marketing Podcast provides a plan for an authentic approach to customer engagement that creates clarity within your sales and marketing, generating more leads and closing sales faster.
In this episode, Simon Harvey and Daniel Kleber are joined by Alister Grigg, CEO of Fastman, to discuss the power of storytelling in marketing. He shares his success story of using storytelling to revolutionise their approach to communication. With our Authentic Marketing approach, we show you how to create clarity within your sales and marketing efforts. Using a storytelling approach, you can communicate your message effectively and engage your customers on a deeper level.
Listen in now to learn how to transform your sales and marketing efforts to help you create marketing that resonates with your audience and drives results.
To help you improve your marketing strategy, download the free brand script worksheet, which includes sections for each part of the storytelling framework we discuss in our episodes, here (or copy and paste the link below):
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You know how frustrating it is when prospects and customers don't understand the value that you're offering to them. When people can't relate to what you're saying, they walk away. Every business needs to make money to stay in business. So the question is, how do you make that connection and how do you get people interested in the products and services that you offer? In the Authentic Marketing Podcast, we're going to provide you with a plan. We show you how an authentic approach to customer engagement creates clarity within the sales and marketing, generating more leads and closing sales faster. In today's episode, we're going to take a look at story. We talk with Alistair Grigg, the CEO of Fassman, and see how using a storytelling approach can radically improve the effectiveness of communication, both with your customers and within your business. Hi there, and welcome to the first episode of the Authentic Marketing Podcast in association with Demodia. I'm your host, Simon Harvey. And with me today is my cohost, Daniel Klaber. Hi there, Daniel. How are you? And thanks for joining us today. Hi Simon,Daniel:
great to be here and great to meet with you listeners.Simon:
So sales and marketing has never been easy and over recent years I think things have only got more confusing for many businesses. With the rapid shift to digital marketing that we've seen in the last few years, I know that many of you listening today I've struggled to find approaches that work for your business. Uh, do you try social media? How do you use AdWords? What is SEO? What's the difference between email marketing and marketing automation? How do you set up a CRM or why do you even need one? These are all questions that I've asked myself and all questions that I've been asked over the years. Having trodden this path myself when I started Demodia, I really understand the pain that you're going through. And that's why I created this podcast. I want to be able to help others like you that are going through the similar struggles to what I've been. So throughout this podcast, we're going to make your life easier by giving you a plan. I'm going to give you some simple steps in each episode that you can follow that will make your marketing simple and effective. So, welcome Daniel, and thanks for joining me here. So when you volunteered to help us out with the podcast, I know you thought it was going to be an easy way to get out of your regular day jobs. Just to provide you wrong, I'm going to start off with a quick test. Before we started this podcast, Daniel, we had our regular internal staff meeting. Quick memory test for you now. Can you tell me what it was that I said that we were going to do during this week? What was, what was it we talked about in this meeting?Daniel:
Um, we talked about organizational restructuring and how we are going to define the role of each, um, staff member. Ah,Simon:
that's pretty good. You were listening. Good to hear. That was pretty easy though, let's be fair. So let's push you a little bit harder. Can you explain to me something that you heard on one of the recent HubSpot training videos perhaps that you were watching?Daniel:
Uh, yeah. I'm doing the CMS implementation exam at the moment. I remember the guy talking about having an implementation plan, managing customer expectations, migrating from another CMS, and allSimon:
that. Yeah, again, not too bad, but it was something that you were doing last week. So again, I'd hope you'd remember it fairly well. How about, let's go a little bit further away, one of the presentations maybe that you saw at Inbound last year?Daniel:
Um, well, I remember that I was there, but I have to be honest. I don't really remember the presenter content. I definitely remember that I had a couple of beers afterwards.Simon:
That's probably more like the trouble, I'm sure you spent more time thinking about the beers and the stories you were telling with the girls afterwards rather than thinking about the presentations. So, yeah, I'm sure you probably got a lot out of the sessions at the time, but I think you've, you've proved my point, you know, that was only October last year and your memory is already fairly fuzzy about that. Let me try and push it back even further, just to sort of prove things. How about this, tell me a story that your parents told you, or something that you saw on television as a child.Daniel:
Let me think. Um, one of my oldest memories is watching Yu Gi Oh! at 6 o'clock in the morning in our apartment in Istanbul. We used to live in Turkey back then.Simon:
Yu Gi Oh! I can't say I've heard of that specifically before. Go on, tell me more.Daniel:
Yu Gi Oh! is basically a... Asian cartoon, and I remember that this was a special episode where one of the main characters used the Dark Magician Girl card against one of the strongest opponents. It was a rare card that gave its owner a lot ofSimon:
power. So, just out of interest, how old were you then, can you remember?Daniel:
I was about four years old.Simon:
That's quite impressive given a few minutes ago. You were struggling to remember anything that happened a few months ago It's quite amazing how much detail you can recall about something like that. That was probably what 20 plus years ago now And that's a problem that we all struggle with. Our brains aren't wired to recall facts. As hunter gatherers, facts weren't important. They didn't help us to survive or thrive, so our brains just cleared them out to make space for more important things. And to this day, that's still the same. We forget facts. We forget figures. But we understand stories. So listeners, I know that you struggle with this every day. You're bombarded like me with information, facts and figures. And the more that we hear, the more that we forget. So the question is, how do we help our visitors and as sales and marketing people, how do we get our prospects to remember our messages? I can't evenDaniel:
remember what I had for breakfast yesterday. What we're seeing here is that our brain is wired to remember stories. And when information is presented to us in the form of a story, we are more likely to engage with it and remember it than if it was just a stream of words. And the reason why Is because stories follow a simple template that has been used by tribal elders, oracles, and storytellers for centuries.Simon:
So I'm going to ruin films for you forever now by explaining to you the framework that storytellers use to create films and novels that you remember. And what's best is that you're going to be able to apply this straight to your business and to your sales and marketing. So the best filmmakers have this down to a tee. When they start writing a script, they quickly introduce the hero. The hero is the main character of the story, and they often have a challenge or a problem that they need to overcome. And this introduction needs to happen within the first, you know, seven to nine minutes of a film or within the first chapter or two of a book. Then comes the guide. The guide shows them how to solve this problem. After that comes an inciting incident. This is the point in the story where the hero has to act, and they have to follow the advice that the guide has given them. Then finally, we get to the point where ultimately the hero wins out, they avoid the pending doom, and they transform into something new. This is what storytellers call the hero's journey. So, how do youDaniel:
apply this to business?Simon:
Well, yeah, there's numerous frameworks that are out there that teach you how to create stories for business, but, um, one particular one that I like that I think is very simple is Donald Miller's Story Brand Framework. In this framework, there's seven key steps. The first one is to introduce your character. So, as I say, the character is the main person in the story. The second is to outline the problem that they're struggling with. So this is the thing that they need to overcome. This is the thing that is stopping them from achieving their end goal. The third stage is to introduce us as the guide. Many companies make the mistake of playing the hero. We're not the hero. We are the guide in this story. And we're here to really tell our hero, our main character, how to solve the problem that they've got. Step four is that we're going to lay out a plan. We're going to tell them how exactly we're going to help them solve this problem so that they understand how they're going to engage with us and what the process of working with us looks like. Step five... is we need to call them to action. We need to tell them it's time to do something otherwise they're not going to act. Step six is we want them to avoid failure so we need to make it clear what failure looks like because otherwise without any potential to fail there is really no need for them to act at all. Then step seven, we want to outline what success looks like. How are they going to transform from what into what as an organization or as a person. When you create a clear story like this, it's much easier to engage both your prospects and even you can use this sort of thing for communications internally with your staff. So once you get away from thinking and talking about features and functions and start to really think about the bigger picture of what the problem is, that's the time that people start to get engaged. They start to believe themselves part of this story. They picture themselves in the situation that you're describing, and they start to get more enthusiastic and they remember these things. The questionDaniel:
I get the first time I introduced the customer, the storytelling approach is we're already doing this. We have a messaging document and a value proposition. And they're right. Most of you listening probably already have some form of value proposition. But it's not just about knowing what those elements are. It's about how to include them as part of a narrative.Simon:
Yeah, this is something that I've heard as well before. I often like to explain it like this. It's like having a jigsaw puzzle. You've got all the pieces that are there, But you're missing the picture on the box. So you've got no idea what it is that you're trying to build. You've got no idea what this final puzzle is supposed to look like. And the thing is that most people don't have enough time or patience to make that picture up in their own mind themselves. So what you end up with again, with these value propositions, is just a bunch of facts and figures and ideas that are quickly forgotten. The picture is like the story or the story is like the picture. Once you have that picture, you know what you're building. And once you've got the story, you know how to pull all these pieces together. And your memory actually remembers that much better. SoDaniel:
creating a compelling story is not just showing to your audience what you're going to do in a crystal clear way, but also making it really easy for them to remember.Simon:
So. Earlier this week, I had the chance to talk with one of our great customers about exactly this, and to hear more about how having the right story has helped them to make their sales conversations easier. Alistair Grigg is the CEO of Fassman and he was struggling to get his prospects and partners to understand the value that his company was bringing to their business. Alistair talks about how storytelling changed his approach, not just to selling, but to running his business. I know you're going to learn a lot from this interview with CEO of Fassman, Alistair Grigg. Hi Alistair, thanks for joining us on the podcast today. So maybe to start with, you can tell us a little bit about yourself, what you do and what Fassman does generally. My name'sAlister:
Alistair Grigg. I'm the Managing Director of Fastman. And, uh, Fastman's a company that's been in existence since 2006. We specialize in information management, primarily on the Open Text and SAP platforms. And, uh, we've been working with Simon and his team for a good number of yearsSimon:
now. So, we've been talking a lot about storytelling on the podcast today. We've done quite a bit of this work together. I know in recent years, but I think it'd be interesting for our listeners to hear a little bit more about some of the challenges that you were having, getting your messages across to customers and even internally to staff. So the problemAlister:
we were having was that we weren't providing a consistent message to customers around. A solution sets if you're like, so we were quite comfortable going to customers and talking about the products, what features they have and how they would benefit from them. But as time goes on, customers are more interested in an overall outcome and they want to know what you do in their context. So you've got to translate what you do and what your solutions do for a customer. So what is it that a customer actually is looking to get out of the relationship with? not just your products, but with you, the company. So that's really important. But it's also important for us to be able to understand the sorts of, uh, vision that we have in the outcomes that the customers are achieving with the products. So the brand story does that for you. It gives you the ability to be able to to visualize the end state, if you like. So you can explain it more clearly. But in words that the customer is comfortable with. Um, that they don't feel they're being overly soldSimon:
to. You know, you mentioned then that before you reviewed the way you talk to customers, there were times when they didn't understand exactly what you were trying to get across. You know, when you know you've got the perfect prospect lined up and you know that they could absolutely benefit and use Fassman's products and services. How did that make you feel? You know, how did it make you feel when they just don't engage with you because maybe they didn't understand the benefits or didn't see the problem that you're trying to solve?Alister:
Well, it doesn't make you feel very good, does it? Because you put a lot of effort and work into your products over the years and into your company. And then, and you see the customers who are successful. And when you break down why they're using your products and what they're getting out of them, and then you look at other customers or other prospects who you're talking to and they don't get it. When you send a message to somebody, it's always your job to make sure that that gets to them in a way they can consume. So you've got to look at yourself first. If you believe your message is correct and you believe that the product is appropriate for them, then I think it's incumbent on you, the person sending the message to look at how you're sending it. Because if the message is not received, that makes you feel frustrated.Simon:
Yep. Very much so. And I think you're absolutely right. It's up to us as marketers and salespeople to make sure that our prospects and customers understand our message. In this age of social media, memes and other quick consumables, people don't sit and read for hours these days. You're absolutely right. You know, they want to see a message and understand it quickly. And if they don't, they're off to something else. I think the other thing that you said in there is insightful as well. It's our job to explain that for sure. So, back to you, what was the tipping point for Fassman in the end? What made you finally decide to embrace story and update your messaging? The timingAlister:
coincided really well because at the same time as we started working with you on the brand story, we packaged the products up into solution sets. We've always had solutions, I mean we've always presented solutions, but we've never thought of it and presented it the same way that we decided to do. This time around, we're able to use the brand story approach as part of the launch process if you like for those solution sets. So for what we present now, it's quite different to what it was six, eight months ago.Simon:
You're right. One of the first tasks that we performed when you asked us to look at this was a review of your existing content. And I seem to recall there was quite a large disconnect between the messages that people were seeing on the website and what your sales guys were presenting to them in their own presentations. Some of the content we saw was more business focused. Other bits were much more technical focused. Everybody seemed to have their own take on things, their own spin, even though you're all trying to sell the same thing. So yeah, I mean, it wasn't surprised that customers were confused really. Um, I thinkAlister:
previously, you could see, uh, a specific customer would get the message, right? If it was the right audience and it was the right group of people, you could see the technical people would get it. But you had to make sure you had those people in the room. And that was one of the problems. When you approach a customer, it's always hard to get the right people in the room. And if your message can only be delivered to one group of people, then I think you've got a bit of a problem because you need to have a message which is relevant to a broader audience inside the customers because the sort of products we deal with the, the, they're not sort of, they're not products that are bought by someone over the internet using a credit card. Um, they're generally bought by a group of people or get consensus across a group of people before a decision is made to implement them andSimon:
use them. Yeah, that idea that technical people in the room aren't the ones to hold the credit cards is absolutely spot on. I think many of the new business owners that we talk with as well overlook that when they're working on their pitches. This is something that I know we went through with you Alistair, but let me introduce the storytelling framework that we use to our listeners that maybe aren't so familiar with it. So it consists of seven simple steps. I'm not going to try and go through them all here, but I'll give you a link for those that are interested at the end of the podcast where you can learn more. So step one is to be really clear as to who the hero of the story is. Look at the target audience and create your story for them. As you mentioned Alistair, it's unlikely that that's going to be the technical person. It's more likely to be someone managerial or in a decision making role of some sort. Step two is that you've got to understand what the problem is. Or in other words, what challenges are they trying to overcome? This is really the key part of the story that's going to get them interested. When they hear you talk about a problem and they know that they've got that problem, suddenly all their attention is going to be on you, because they now want to hear how you're going to solve that for them. Next up, step three. There's only one hero in any good story, and as that role is already going to be filled by our customer, we need to position ourselves, you know, our company, as their guide. So, I like to think of something like Star Wars with Obi Wan and Yoda. Their job and our job is to guide the hero and help them overcome the challenges that we identified previously. Then comes step four. This is the idea of giving them a clear plan. Heroes in stories are helpless characters, you know, we talked about films earlier, and prospects are much the same as that. We need to clearly outline a few simple steps that they can follow in order to take action and engage with us. So, I know we went through that whole process with you, Alistair, in a lot more detail than that. It sounds like a lot of work, and it's a very different approach, I know, to what you guys were doing before. What were your initial thoughts about this approach when we originally introduced it to you? I know it was something that was quite new to you.Alister:
I was open to it because... Reality is, storytelling has always been part of our approach to business. If you think about when you're talking to customers, not customers, anybody, you're talking to business associates and so on, you often tell stories to stress a point or to give an example of what you're talking about. You often do that. But what you don't do is you don't have a framework. Storytelling itself is something we've always, I say always, a lot of us do throughout our working career. Automatically, but we don't do it with structure. And realistically, I'll be straight, it doesn't take a lot of work. Once you've got the structure, it's actually fairly straightforward. And as you talk about the steps, it becomes, it's obvious that it doesn't take long for that to become habitual. You just say, okay, how am I going to approach this? Who's the hero? Who's the villain? What's the success look like? That sort of stuff.Simon:
Yeah, I think you're being relatively modest there when you say it doesn't involve much work. But yeah, it really was great to see the whole team involved in the process. You know, we had the development folk involved, we had sales people in the room, and we really did dig into the various parts of your story over the course of a couple of workshops. A thing that, to me, was amazing to watch though, was over that time, How everyone's whole concept of communication and how to communicate your product really evolved in people's mind. It moved from these small technical conversations and focusing on very, very specific individual challenges to a much more holistic view that everybody agreed on. So, how have things changed for you at the moment, Alistair? Um, you know, have you seen changes in your overall alignment? Or what's the transformation behind the scenes been within Fassman? So when we go to partnersAlister:
now, we can go to partners with a Brought a story when we go to those partners. We can talk to him about data transformation, which we which before we would just talk about a specific product. So that's one area we can use it. And yet the other area, interestingly, I think is internally. So I think I mentioned to you before that we use this method to I use this method internally now for the team. So when I'm talking to them about, why we're investing in certain areas or why we're going to market or why we're doing different things to what they would be expecting or they're used to seeing, then I actually use a little brand story approach in a micro way, you know, even just for a two minute discussion on one of our town halls. I'll use the same thing. I'll say, this is the current situation. This is where we want to be. This is the thing that's causing grief. That's really cool to hear. Yeah, it works really well. So it's not just pure marketing. It's, it's also in relationships and internal messaging. You know, we do a lot of webinars, various points, and I see the results in terms of the number of people we're getting to the webinars. Even when we do the simple invitations and the followups and so on. I'm seeing that I'm also seeing a bigger response from our partners to those.Simon:
Fantastic. Now it's always good to hear that the hard work was really paying off and paying off across the board and not just on the original website that we were working on. Given how successful this has been for you, where do you think Fassman would be today if you carried on doing your marketing the way that you were before?Alister:
If we'd kept doing what we were doing before, you know, I think we would have been fine in terms of our sort of sales model and our operations, but I don't think we would have been as comfortable with the message we're giving to people. I think we would have been piecemeal still. I would have been still fighting the battles against individual people's perception on things. And I mean,Simon:
that would have been frustrating. So overall, looking back at all the things that you've managed to achieve over the last months, what would you say is the biggest benefit that you've been getting by having a clear story that everyone's now using? A little bitAlister:
more comfort, a little bit more confidence. I'd say a fair bit more confidence actually, not just a little bit. A fair bit more confidence that we actually add value to our customers, and we as an organisation deliver value. I think that's probably the biggest thing. Um, it's allowed us to have a better clarity. Around the solutions, the products, the value that we provide to customers and to use that internally and externally to present our message more clearly and moreSimon:
confidently. I like the word confidence. Yeah, I definitely like that. It's amazing how that makes you feel when suddenly you find the confidence that what you're selling is really what people want. So Alistair, before we wrap up, if there's other business leaders out there that are suffering from the same sorts of challenges as Fassbund was, what would be your message to them? Why haven't you done it already?Alister:
It seems like an obvious thing. Honestly, it does. My message to them was, if you haven't done this, I think you're missing a golden opportunity. If you haven't done this type of thing, you're missing out on one of the, one of the single central things you can do, which provides clarity around how you run your business. And I think if we look back at ourselves as business leaders, and we're not doing this, then I think it's fair to say you're failing your people, you know, you're failing your customers, you're failing your staff, you're failing your team. Because that clarity of, of mission, that clarity of story is one of the central tenets that we have as a business leader. I'd say it's kind of, you must do it. Now having done it, I don't understand how we could operate without it, to be honest. I think it's that central to what we do. I think that'sSimon:
true. I've got to say, I think that's a pretty powerful way to end. Thank you very much for your time today, Alistair. It's been great to have you on the podcast and to hear your story. No problem. Pleasure. That was amazing to hear the success that Fassman had had by rethinking their approach to communications and using storytelling throughout their business. Thanks for joining me, Alistair. It really was great to have you on the show today. And if your prospects don't understand what you offer, or if you aren't sure how to build a brand story yourself, then you can hire an authentic engagement coach. Just go to domodia. com to hire a coach that will show you how to increase the effectiveness of your marketing and find an easier way to grow your business. So, listeners, at the end of each episode, I'd like to give you a set of concrete actions. These are practical steps from today's episode that you can take to immediately improve the effectiveness of your sales and marketing. In our conversation today, we talked about the brand script and how to build an engaging narrative that invites your prospects into a story. It shows them how they're going to achieve success and avoid failure by following your advice. So, today I'd like you to think about your story and complete a brand script for your business. To help you out, you can go to demodia. com slash brand script. There you'll find a worksheet that you can download and fill in. In there you'll find sections for each part of the storytelling framework that I mentioned. I want you to go through and complete each section of this worksheet. So to remind you and guide you through the sections, firstly you're going to identify your hero and what they need. Second, we need to establish the problem. This needs to be something that you can solve and something that you want to be known for. The third step is to introduce yourself. Don't forget, you're the guide, not the hero. So be empathetic and show your prospects that you understand how they feel. Fourth is give them a plan. Everyone's nervous about stepping out and making that first move. So if you hold out your hand and explain what's going to happen, they're much more likely to respond. Next is a call to action. Make it strong, make it clear. You can provide a backup plan for people that aren't ready to chat yet, but I wouldn't go more than one or two, because otherwise you're just going to confuse. The sixth step is the transformation. They've followed your advice, so now show them how amazing their life's going to look. Finally, it's the pinch of salt. Without the possibility of failure, there's nothing to fear. And without fear, there's no need to act. That's all there is to it. So jump in there, download the brand script worksheet and fill that out. If you haven't quite got there yet, don't worry, we're going to go into a lot more detail in the coming episodes. So just hit that subscribe button. Once you've filled out the sheet with all your answers, now you want to use them and use them everywhere. With a clear story, your marketing becomes simple and you'll find your prospects will engage. That's all for today's episode. Thank you so much for listening to the authentic marketing podcast, where we help you to create a sales and marketing plan that will get you new customers and grow your business. So follow us and rate us wherever you listen to your podcast. And don't forget to join us on LinkedIn. We love to hear what you want to know and how we're helping your business succeed. See you next time.