Case Study: How to Upgrade Your Sales Process With Stories

VIP + Marketing Manager
Consulting February 09, 2016 Featured Image

Expert Blindness is a real thing. Whether you are beginning in an industry or are a decades-old veteran, the vocab and knowledge that you use every single day may be a total mystery to the general public. My lawyer is 100% guilty of using jargon I don’t understand. Most of the time, expertise isn’t a problem because it’s actually what you are paying for – lawyers still get you from A to C, and often it’s not a big deal if you didn’t understand B in detail.

But when it comes to sales, 99% of the time you must speak in a way your audience understands. That’s why world class companies are investing in storytelling training for their salespeople and other staff. When you learn to tell good stories, you communicate in a way that the listener not only understands but can connect with on a deeper level.

Today’s post is a case study about a training workshop we put together for a top pharmaceutical company, and how we hacked their sales process to include stories.

Dustin and Kate talk to participants at the workshop.

This Giant Company Had a Problem…

Over the past few years, sales have been strong for one of the top worldwide pharmaceutical companies. This company has been a consistent international industry sales leader, i.e., their team is really, really good at sales.

And while climbing to the top is tough, maintaining that position is even more difficult. That’s why this company invests in sales training for their staff. Specifically, they had one major challenge: their reps often go out to meet with clients and were leaning heavily on product material to guide those meetings. Oncology medicine is complex, and, as a result, the meetings were often dry and very clinical in nature; they wanted to change that and inject more engagement into the sales process.

Enter Museum Hack.

About a year ago, a smaller group from the company took a team building tour with us at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The organizers from that tour remembered that our guides were really good at engaging audiences. Specifically, they noticed our guides were pros at “selling” the museum and its objects to an audience that may not have shown up “bought in.” They recalled specific stories from the tours that stuck with their team over the year and reached out to us to see if we could help inject more life into their team’s sales process.

Together, we planned a special event that included a new tour of the American Museum of Natural History, and a full Story Workshop the following day.

How to Upgrade Your Sales Process With Stories

Kate speaks to the group about the elements of a hack.

Two Museum Hack team members, Dustin and Kate, led a 2.5-hour storytelling workshop for the sales team. The day before, Dustin had taken this group on a science-themed tour at the American Museum of Natural History. Here was the basic structure of the workshop:

  • The workshop started with a chat about yesterday’s tour and what “stuck out” in the style and content.
  • We then launched into a discussion about how we developed our Storytelling Bible. The Storytelling Bible contains the 5 Elements of a Hack that guide much of what we do. Kate and Dustin broke down each element individually and focused on how we use it to craft good stories.
  • Our trainers then brought the discussion back to the tour. They talked about specific pieces that had been featured on the tour and which parts of the story correspond to which element of the hack. As a result, the team was able to pick out examples of our system in action at AMNH.
  • Once our guides finished the general storytelling bible discussion, they talked about how to apply those methods specifically to the company’s process for sales reps. The team discussed what it’s like to go into a pitch with clients, focused on how clients typically react to the salespeople, and how the reps usually connect with clients.
  • The team was then broken down into pairs and went through the five elements of a hack worksheet, creating their own fake pitches. They were encouraged to be imaginative, crazy, and to think outside the box as much as possible. Kate and Dustin stressed that these pitches shouldn’t be something they’d actually do in a client meeting; the crazier the pitch, the better. The teams could use drugs they were familiar with and typically sold to clients or they could invent their own. Afterward, the group listened to each pitch and discussed them one-by-one, identifying the five elements in the pieces and providing feedback.
  • At the end of the workshop, our guides led a bonus role-playing game where each sales rep brainstormed the hardest, most difficult-to-interact-with client they could imagine, and got to pretend to be that client while other team members found new and imaginative ways to engage them.

Team members break down into smaller groups to come up with crazy pitch ideas.

The result? By the end of the day, all of the sales reps had fresh, new ideas about how to engage difficult clients and how to talk about their drugs in a more human way. Their pitches would go beyond just reading details and facts off a sheet. Now, the reps had new ways to put into context the advances that each drug had made without rattling off dry statistics. They could give a better sense of the benefits of each drug and the improvements the drug would make to the life of the patient. Ultimately, the workshop helped the company’s reps craft a more personalized sales process.

In their words, β€œIt was f*&$ing AWESOME!”

Work With Us to Upgrade Your Sales Process With Stories

This pharmaceutical giant is world class at sales, but not at telling stories. In just 2.5 hours we taught the sales team the key principles that drive the stories we tell on our tours — stories that are reshaping the company’s sales process to be truly engaging. We can do the same for your organization. Give us a call at 1-800-210-9676 or email [email protected] — no pressure, we’d love to chat about your organization and what would work for you.

written with πŸ’– by Carly Syms

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