The Power of Visual B2B Storytelling: Q&A Recap

 In BrightTALK Academy, Uncategorized, Webinars

While marketers are focused on distribution, optimized timing, and other promotional tactics, often times the quality of a presentation is ignored.

While it can be harder to prove the direct impact on pipeline from time invested in crafting the best story, it is clear that a subpar presentation can diminish how your message resonates with your audience.

As Maya Angelou said, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This holds true in the B2B space.

Professionals want to be taken on a journey even if the end goal is to persuade them to purchasing a product or service. People fly Virgin because of Richard Branson’s story, Steve Jobs sold the vision of a revolutionary mobile device, and Brian Halligan disrupted up the CRM and marketing automation space.

People buy into the vision and those who they believe understand them and will help them get ahead.

This past week Prezi’s regional European manager, Spencer Waldron, and our own senior marketing manager, Andrea Goodkind, shared how marketers can bring that je ne sais quoi of today’s influential rhetors to craft extraordinary presentations that resonate with decision makers.

We had a very lively Q&A and wanted to recap some of the key nuggets from the presentation. (Missed the presentation? Watch it on-demand here).

Q: How can a services company (consulting, training, development, etc.) include storytelling when there’s no actual product, as our services vary from client to client? Maybe a visual buyer’s journey would fit best?

A: The same storytelling principles apply. In the services arena, people buy the vision of the person they interact with. Share how you got into the business and take them through the journey of the clients you work with. They want to know that they’ll be working with someone who will value and love their offerings just as much as they do. You can tell stories that answer “What led you to do this,” “Who are you,” and “Why do you love this?” Everyone loves a hero meets struggle story. Just make sure that the story is relevant to the audience.

Q: What is the best way to encourage attendees who are not comfortable to ask a question?

A: Keep in mind that your audience is watching your content because they aren’t sure how to do it themselves. Make it clear throughout the presentation that you want to have a conversation and that it’s OK to ask a question.

There are four key ways to motivate your audience to ask questions.

1) The moderator and speaker should ask the audience to submit questions because they want to have a two-way dialogue.
2) Get your audience familiar with the tool. At the beginning of the presentation ask them to type where they’re viewing from in the questions box/feature.
3) Reward the person who asks the first question. Whether it’s just a verbal “Thank you. I’m so glad you asked Sally” or offering three people who ask a question a signed book or other giveaway. Your audience won’t ask questions if they feel it’s a one-way conversation that they are just observing.
4) Plant seed questions to buy time for the audience to digest the content and form their own questions. Encourage and help them to see how easy it is to ask a question.

Q: How do you plan the content for a webinar presentation?

A: Spencer uses the “from-to think-do” matrix by Andrew Abela. This matrix challenges the speaker to consider what the audience thinks before the presentation and then how the content should influence the thinking after. Similar concept to what the presentation will influence the audience to do after that was different before. With those elements mapped out, you can layout and design the presentation however you’d like. Make sure to reference back to your chart to ensure the story and messaging will create the desired outcome.

 

Q: How do you make a testimonial sound genuine and compelling?

A: The biggest thing is to avoid trying to micromanage the customer. It can be close to impossible for marketers to step back and not try to manage a customer to make sure the “right” story comes across. However, that’s when the story comes across as canned and inauthentic. Instead, consider what you’d like them to say – whether you’re easy to work with, your products save them time, or increased their ROI. Leverage customers who truly understand your value propositions there and then ask them to describe their experience.

Q: Business professionals have very tight schedules. How do I make sure they watch my video/webinar?

A: It’s true that professionals are busy and have a lot of resources available to self-educate. The best thing you can do to maximize exposure is to create a central hub where your prospects can go to self-educate and consume your content — on their time. Through BrightTALK Channels we find that buyers self-educate with webinars and videos throughout the entire buyer’s journey.

On average, professionals will watch content for longer when it’s related to helping them advance their careers or solve business problems. On the BrightTALK platform we’ve found that the average viewing time of a webinar is around 37 minutes (1 minute longer than last year).

In fact, your webinar will only have 31% of its total viewings 10 days after the live event and only 65.5% of views 100 days after the live event. Think with Google found that 48% of professionals watch B2B videos for 30+ minutes. What does that mean for you? Viewers will take the time to watch good, actionable content as long as it’s easily accessible for them to consume on their clock.

Q: If you have a lot of information to present and are pressed for time, do you compromise the story or data?

A: It truly depends on what you’re trying to do and what you’re trying to get across to your audience. Advanced speakers can quickly evaluate their overall message to see what’s missing from the value proposition. Data should only be included in a presentation when it proves a point and drives a message.

Two data points can completely change the message but stories connect to people quickly. You should always prioritize data if the picture isn’t complete. If there’s enough data for the prospect to make the decision, then share the impactful story to go that extra mile to connect with your audience.

Q: What are the benefits of leveraging storytelling vs. just a straightforward presentation?

A: Stories make your content memorable. This is why humans have been telling stories since the beginning. We use this technique to teach children about the world around them because your message resonates better through a story. As a marketer, examine the key takeaways you want to offer your audience and see how you can wrap that into a story. If you do that in a way that is powerful and memorable, your message will stick — keeping you top-of-mind for when they need to make a purchase.

Do you leverage the power of stories in your presentations? Deliver influential webinars by incorporating anecdotes, stories, customer testimonials and contextual information. Many sales pitch decks have a slide about the history of the company – that’s because it creates a personal relationship to the brand with the prospect.

Watch the on-demand session for other great actionable presentation tips to amplify the efforts of your next presentation.