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April Dunford – How To Craft a Story That Sells

May 28, 2019

We understand stories are a great way to connect with customers but few startups really take advantage of a good narrative to help them market and sell their products. Are you losing deals to competitors with clearly inferior products? Do your sales meetings leave customers excited or confused? Is your marketing closer to a feature list or a set of compelling reasons to buy? In this talk, April will give you a framework you can use to build a story that focuses on WHY you built what you built in a way that is differentiating, compelling, and most importantly, gets you business.


Slides

Video Transcript

So great to be here.

Hands up, if you think selling is hard.

Yeah, yeah, lots of you, right?

I think selling is hard.

In startups, a lot of us come from the product-side of the house. And so sales don’t necessarily come naturally to us. That’s too bad, because we need people to buy our stuff, otherwise, we don’t get to stay in business. So, sales are important.

That said, I don’t want to talk about that today. What I actually want to talk about is the opposite of that, I want to take the customer’s perspective on it.

I’m gonna say something that’s maybe a little bit controversial… I think buying is hard.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking, you’re thinking, “no April, buying is not hard. I wish that was my job and that’s all I had to do all day! Just buy stuff like shopping, that would be amazing.” And that’s because we think certain things are easy to buy. For example, I like buying shoes or buying a t-shirt, that’s okay. I like buying a drink at a bar, that’s easy. But other things are way harder. And they’re harder because if we make a bad choice, bad things happen. Does anybody like buying insurance? No, that’s kind of stressful.

I’m going to give you an example that has nothing to do with tech, but just humour me for a second. I promise this all goes somewhere.

I want to tell you this story, it’s called: April buys a toilet. I live in Toronto and I recently bought an old house, and inside my old house is a very old bathroom. After I bought the house, I had to hire a guy to come and fix up my bathroom. So he comes and he’s fixing the bathroom up and he says, “Hey, you’re gonna have to go to the store and buy a toilet”. And I said, “Okay, but how hard can that be?”. I’ve never bought a toilet before but okay, I’m gonna go buy a toilet.

I walk in to the toilet store and the sales rep comes over and says, “can I help you?”

“Yeah, you can,” I said, “I’m here to buy a toilet.” And he says, “what kind of toilet do you want?”

In my head, I’m thinking, “I don’t know… one that flushes?!” And he says, “look, we have all kinds of toilets. They’re all over at the back”, pointing towards the back of the store, “head back there and take a look. The prices and their features etc. are on them, go back there and have a look at the toilets. When you figure out what toilet you want to buy, come and talk to me.”

I go back to the section of the store where they have all the toilets. And here’s what I see. There are thousands of toilets, they all look the same, and yet, they are not the same. Some of them cost $200, some of them cost $2,000. I don’t know what the difference is! There are all of these features on their little individual stickers and they don’t make any sense. They’ve got features that say, this is a PF/2 Whispervac Toilet, and I’m like, what is that? I have no idea! This one has a flapper, and this one doesn’t. What’s a flapper?! I don’t know what a flapper is. I spent an hour in there. I’m looking at all this toilet stuff. And I’m thinking, I’m not educated enough to buy a toilet. This sucks.

I’m going to have to go home and research toilets on the internet.

I left the store and headed back home, once I’m home I get on the internet and oh my gosh… there’s toilet technology. You have no idea. There are all these features. There’s water efficiency, seat height and dual flush technology. These frickin flappers. I don’t know any idea what those are. Throughout my search, I learned the most disgusting thing about toilets. There’s a thing called a MaP score, which stands for Maximum Performance. That’s how much solid waste a toilet can handle in a flush. According to the internet, 350g to 600g is good, but some toilets can handle up to 1000g! That’’s around the equivalent of a small dog. That’s a lot.

By this point, I’m feeling pretty disgusted. I know disgusting things about toilets and I don’t want to know anything about toilets. I don’t want to know anything about toilets. Now my head is full of toilet information. I get all frustrated. I go back to the store again, I get a different sales rep and the sales rep says “can I help you?” I said “yeah, I’m trying to buy a toilet.” And he says, what kind of toilet do you want?” I’m like, “buddy, I don’t know anything about toilets. You’re the toilet expert.” And without hesitating he says “do you want the Whispervac PF/2?”.

We looked at a bunch of things. I freaked out. And I left the store.

After I left the store, I got this genius idea. My genius idea was this: maybe I don’t have to buy a toilet. Maybe I can keep the old toilet because the old toilet was fine. It was flushing just fine. It’s been working fine. Yeah, it’s a little old whatever. But I can just delete this whole thing and I’m a busy person, I don’t have time to go back and forth and learn all this stuff about toilet technology. That’s it, this is my decision, I’m just not going to do this thing at all.

How did that sales process work?  I spent three weeks, I went to the store twice and I spent what felt like an infinity on the internet. How many new toilets did I buy? None. Now, I’m not saying that your SaaS software is exactly like buying a toilet. Actually, yeah, I am. I’m saying it’s exactly like that. In fact, I’m saying it’s worse than that.

Think about it, a lot of the stuff that you sell are things that people have never even used before.

I’m a toilet user, I’m a lifelong toilet user, and I know what a toilet is. A lot of you are selling a thing that your buyer doesn’t even know what it is. Here’s the other thing, this is the secret of B2B software. Often, the people that you are selling to have never purchased a product like yours before. Just like me in the toilet, never bought a toilet before. So that makes it extra hard.

Let’s think about how does a typical B2B software purchase process go?

For example, let’s look at accounting software. The VP of finance wakes up in the morning and says, “God, we’re in the middle of an audit. And you know what sucks? My accounting software sucks. I hate it. we’ve outgrown it, it doesn’t do the things I needed to do. My gosh, we need to go buy new accounting software.”

Does the VP Finance buy new accounting software? No. She’s busy. She goes into the office looks around and says, “Janet, go figure this out. Look at the accounting software out there. Get us one that is better than this one, and come back, make a recommendation and I’m gonna get you the budget and we’ll buy it.” And Janet’s like, no, no, damn, I don’t want to be the person in charge of that. And Janet’s thinking, I don’t know anything about accounting software. I use accounting software, the one we have right now maybe I used a different one at my last job. I’ve never bought accounting software before. I don’t know who the vendors are. I don’t know what the state of the art of accounting software is.

So, Janet goes on the internet and she searches, and what does she find? 900 million things. There are quadrants, there are Jeetu crowds and their software advice. Gartner Group are telling her things, and there are 9 million vendors and they all look the same. They all look the same. She goes on to their websites, and they claim that they’re the world’s number one accounting software. Great, that doesn’t help her at all. Maybe she could sign up for free trials. So she’d do that, she’d sign up for many free trials. And yet she still doesn’t know because everything she’s looking at, each of these products in isolation, none of them tells her which one she should actually buy. Let’s say she clicks the button for a demo. And then what happens? Janet gets in there and the sales rep says, Welcome. Come here into my wind tunnel of features. I’m gonna give you the product walkthrough.

Here’s a feature. Here’s a feature. Here’s another feature. Here’s another feature. And Janet is sitting there with her hair blowing back going. Uh-huh. Yeah. This looks good. I don’t know, does everybody have the same features? I don’t know, why are any of these features important? I have no idea. And she’s extra stressed out. Why? Because if she makes a poor choice, bad things happen. Really bad things happen. Like everybody in the accounting department is maybe going to be mad if I pick something bad. Actually, if I pick something really bad, maybe we fail the audit, that’s bad for the whole business. Or maybe I’m not gonna get the promotion, I’m up for. Heck, maybe I get fired. What’s the easiest decision for Janet to make here? The easiest decision is to go back to her boss and say, “You know what, we’re busy right now. Now is not a good time to buy accounting software. It’s not a good time, we should just stick with the software we have right now. And I looked at the other things. Yeah. And you know, they’re all kind of the same. I don’t know. But let’s just stick with the thing we’ve got.”

Research tells us that 40-60% of the time, in B2B software purchases, the software purchase process ends in no decision 40-60% of the time, this is the most vicious competition you have. And that’s not because they love the old stuff. It’s not because they said, “we’re totally in love with the thing we’re using right now” Sometimes that’s true, but the majority of the time, they’re picking the old stuff, because they cannot confidently make a decision. And so it’s easier to just make no decision at all.

Now, let me take you back to toilet land just for a second. So that’s actually not the end of my toilet story. What actually happened is I got this genius idea I’m gonna stick with the old toilet so I go back and I tell my contractor I said, “look, I’m too busy to buy a toilet it’s too complicated. Let’s just keep the old one” and he says, “what are you talking about? It’s gone. I took it out of here we recycled it, it’s gotten to the big bathroom in this guy you can’t use that one anymore. It’s gone.” I’m like, damn it. So I had to go back to the toilet store again. This is toilet store number three. And the sales rep who comes over is this guy called Lou (pronounced LOO). Come on. Funny, come on. That’s a tough audience.

Anyway, so Lou comes over and I said “Look, Lou, buddy, I’ve been trying to buy a toilet for weeks here. I can’t leave here without a toilet. This is a toilet emergency. I have to buy a toilet today. And I hate this. It’s been terrible.” He says, “I know, buying a toilet is really hard.” I’m like, “it’s just really hard, Lou, it’s shit.” And he said, “we don’t use that word here, ma’am. It’s solid waste.”

“Okay”, I said, “it’s been solid waste.”  Anyway, so he says, “Look, don’t worry, I got you. I’m going to teach you how to buy a toilet.”  I said, “Okay, teach me how to buy a toilet.” Lou begins, “there are three things that you need to know; Quality, Aesthetics and space” he pauses “You see all these ones over here, they’re cheaper, and these ones over here are more expensive. You know all those features you’ve been looking at, the PF/2 Whispervac and the flapper thing? They’re just features that mean they’re either really high quality and that your toilet will last a lot of flushes before it breaks. Or they’re low quality features and it won’t last that many flushes before it breaks.” and I’m like,  “Who buys a low-quality toilet?” He says, “well actually, some toilets don’t get flushed that often, for example, if they’re in a secondary bathroom or for a vacation home. So, if it’s a secondary toilet then you’d be wasting your money if you were to buy one of the higher-quality toilets.. You’d be better to buy one of these.” He says, pointing at the cheaper toilets. Fascinated, I say, “well, this is my primary toilet. So I don’t want one of those lower-quality, cheaper ones, I want one of these high-quality ones.”  “Okay, fine,” he says “ so, don’t look at those anymore.”

“The second thing is aesthetics.” Lou says, “some people have fashion requirements for their bathroom. Maybe they want a gold or a pink toilet, or they want a toilet that looks a certain way. And those toilets can be quite high quality, but you’re going to pay more for the aesthetics. So, if you have a fashion requirement…” I interrupt him, “I’ve haven’t got any fashion requirements for this toilet.” He says, “okay, don’t look at those then.”

The last factor is space. Lou says, “with some of these toilets, you can put the tank in the wall, which will save you a lot of space. So if you’ve not got a lot of space in the bathroom, then these toilets are a great spacing option. But the trade-off is that because the tank is in the wall and if something breaks, you’ll have to break the wall to get in there and fix it. So, unless you’re limited on space, you probably don’t want to pick this one.” I reply, “I’ve got plenty of space, so let’s not go for that one.”

Now we’re down to three toilets, fantastic. “There are three toilets” I say, “which one should I buy?” And he says, “Look, I’ve got to come clean with you. I actually work for Toto (toilet manufacturer). So I’m going to tell you to buy the Toto toilet.” And I’m like, “should I buy the Toto toilet?” And he’s says, “I work for the company. I wouldn’t work for the company if I thought it was a terrible toilet. And look, you can go home and look at it on the internet, but, we get really high-quality ratings and blah, blah, blah. Nobody’s ever felt bad about buying a Toto toilet. And if you just want to buy a toilet, and never think about it again. You should buy the Toto toilet.” So I say “I’m sold, I’m so sold.” 10 minutes.

This took me 10 minutes. 10 minutes. Now, was that guy acting like a sales rep? Did he give me the feature walkthrough? Did he try to teach me what a PF/2  Whispervac is?  We didn’t even talk about flappers once! What that guy was doing was acting as a guide. He helped me make sense of all this stuff and put it into context so I could make my own choices. We don’t do this in software. In fact, most of us are taught or believe that we should never talk about competition. That’s bad. Because we don’t want to be seen as trashing the competition. Yet, interestingly, if you look at the research on this, from a big study conducted with B2B enterprise software buyers. The research participants were asked, what do you want in a sales interaction? Here are the top two responses:

  1. I want perspectives on the market

  2. I want you to help me navigate alternatives. They want you to do exactly what Lou did for me.

Do we do that? No, we just talking about ourselves and our offering. We make the customer figure out the alternatives to our solution. And that’s a lot of work for them. It’s so much work that 40-60% of the time they’re overwhelmed, they can’t even figure out how to do it.

Build a successful sales narrative that helps customers find the solution they actually want.

How do we actually build a better sales narrative that helps customers do the thing that they actually want to do? Which is, to help your prospect to figure out how to pick you over the alternatives.

Now, I talked a lot about the product walkthrough. In my experience, when I started working in startups, there are three different ways that we structure sales pitches:

  1. Product walkthrough – This is when you just show your customer all of your features. In some ways that’s great, it shows your customer your product. But it’s also bad because it doesn’t help your prospects understand and decide when they should pick an alternative instead.

  2. Problem-Solution Pitch – A lot of the time, what will happen is the rep will ask their customer a whole bunch of questions about the problem they’re trying to resolve, what are you looking for today and whatever. And they’ll be very specific with their questions, so they can then say, “here’s how our product solves those problems.” The problem is, there are lots of products that can solve those problems. It doesn’t answer the question, “Why should I (your prospect) pick you over the alternatives?”. We’re still facing the same problem as the product walkthrough pitch.

  3. Vision Pitch – I’ve seen this a lot in venture-backed companies, it’s almost the same pitch they’re doing to the VC. They focus on the vision, this is where we want to go in the future and this is where we’re headed. The big problem with trying to use that pitch in a sales situation is your customer is already really predisposed to do the low risk thing, which is to delay the purchase. And you say, “Hey, we’ve got this great thing and five years will be this great thing.” And customers think, “that’s fantastic, but come back to me in five years when you’ve got it.” The other thing is that a lot of these pitches attempt to position themselves as the new solution, and make comparisons to the way other providers are doing it as the “old way”. But that doesn’t work if the customer has got a shortlist. And everyone else on there is offering the new stuff, but available now. So again, why pick you over the alternatives? So the things we’re doing don’t actually do this very well.

The structure for a really good sales narrative that’s worked for hundreds of companies.

What would a really good sales narrative look like? A really good one would start with your insight into the market. Just like Lou, he’s a toilet expert and so we started with his insight into the toilet market. Similarly, we’re experts in the areas that we’re in, so we would start with that.  We would start by discussing the pros and cons of different approaches, not necessarily companies, but different approaches. And then we’d help the customer understand what does a perfect solution for them look like? And then we’re trying to sell stuff, then what I’m doing is I’m showing or demonstrating how we do that.

Here’s the structure I’m proposing to you now. I first saw sales reps do pitches like this during my very brief and glorious stint at IBM. When you build a sales pitch at IBM, they give you a binder on how you build a sales pitch at IBM. In the beginning, I thought this is absolutely overkill. But then I built a dozen pitches with it, and I was like, oh, there’s actually some genius in this. When I left IBM, I joined a startup, and I sat down with the VP Sales and we Startup-ify the structure from IBM a little bit. There’s some stuff you didn’t need because IBM deals are really, really big. And so we rejigged the sales narrative, and because of this we doubled revenue in a year.

Then we got acquired, weirdly by IBM. But still, that seemed to work really well. And then I’ve been using that structure ever since. So for me, that’s seven venture-backed startups as the Head of Marketing. And then as a consultant working mainly with growth-stage companies on their positioning. But the first thing you want to do with your positioning is to build a narrative that communicates your positioning. So I use this structure and I’ve now done this with about 200 companies, so I feel like it works. And now, I’m going to teach it to you in like 10 minutes, it’s going to be amazing.

Build a narrative that helps your customers understand the solution they need and sell your product.

Here’s how it works. I’m going to give you an example, and I’m going to show you how it works. Take Help Scout as an example, maybe you know these folks. I love this company, they’re so great. So, what’s Help Scout? They’re in the customer service software space. They work primarily with e-commerce brands. Their big competitors are either really small companies that tend to start off with a shared inbox, so their customers have questions that go to the shared inbox, and the team handle it. Then, once the company starts to grow a little bigger, they graduate to helpdesk software, like Zendesk, they’re the big player in that space.

Now, if you look at what makes Help Scout different, it’s that they’ve grown up with these e-commerce brands. E-commerce brands actually think about customer service in a slightly different way than a regular company. They see customer service as a growth driver, or as a way to build loyalty with their product because they don’t have a lot of interactions with customers except when the customer comes into customer service. Unlike, your telephone company for example, or the people you bought your cell phone from, they don’t see service as a growth driver there. They see it as a cost centre, and they’re trying to get you out of customer service as fast as possibly, so they invest as little amount of money and time with you as possible.

Okay, so that’s the situation now, let’s say I’m Help Scout, and I’ve got a “give me a demo button” on the website. I clicked that, what does my product walkthrough pitch look like? This is what it looks like, Oh, hey, welcome to the product walkthrough. Here’s how you get started. Here’s the shared inbox. Here’s how we work across channels. Here’s how you do assignments and prioritizations. Here’s Oh, look at all these workflows and integrations and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Does that answer the question: Should I use you or Zendesk? I don’t know. I don’t know, how would I make a choice at the end of that?

Here’s another way to do it. What if you did this? We’re gonna start with the insight, hey, e-commerce brands. We work with a lot of e-commerce brands, just like you. And one of the things we noticed is in e-commerce, customer service is actually a growth driver. It’s not a cost centre, it’s a growth driver, because it builds loyalty, it builds repeat business. In fact, I might even have some great stats about it. That’s my insight into the market. Now you have choices on how you could do customer service. This is what we see in the market, a lot of companies start with a shared inbox. What’s great about that is, it’s easy, and the service reps love it. And when you’re really small that works just great. The problem is, when you grow a little bit and you want some advanced service features such as workflow automation and prioritisation, then this doesn’t really do that so well. When this happens, a lot of e-commerce brands willl upgrade to help desk software that has all the bells and whistles, with all of  the fancy features you could want.

Unfortunately, center price software is a little more complicated, and your reps don’t love it all that much. And the other thing is, if you look at that software, like the features they have and the way they treat a customer, they’re doing things like trying to drive the customer to the lowest cost channel, they’re doing things because they assume you’re trying to drive the cost out of this. And they do it at the expense of customer experience. So the customer experience on these things is not that good.

In a perfect world, we would have a solution that’s easy to use and adopt, that gives you all the advanced features you have, so you can grow into them up. But lastly, something that teaches and treats customer service, as something that really matters from a customer experience perspective. We want that, right? Now I can move into the demo, let me show you how we do that. You want it to be easy to use and adopt, look at how easy it is to get up and running. Here’s my demo, look at my shared inbox. See how easy that is just like what you’re doing right now.

The second thing we do is features, we give you features and functionality so you can grow up with us. So here’s how we do workflow, integrations and prioritisations.

Finally, the last thing is customer experience, we’re super focused on customer experience. We do not treat your customer like a ticket number, we let them choose their own channel, they can choose any channel they want, because we want to give them a really great experience.

That’s a completely different sales experience than this feature feature feature feature, you (the prospect) figure it out. At the end of this, I can pick something.

How do we actually do this? A good sales pitch starts with good positioning. If you think about it, that kind of pitch is really about painting a picture of the whole market and then positioning your product within it. So in a pitch like this, if we have positioning, positioning maps to the sales pitch.

Now, positioning in my opinion consists of five things:

  1. Competitive alternative

  2. Capabilities: what can we do that the alternatives can’t

  3. Value: why do these capabilities matter?

  4. Best-Fit Customers: these are the customers we’re targeting.

  5. Market Category: we intend to win it.

Then, we have the sales story:

  1. Insight

  2. Alternatives

  3. Perfect Solution

  4. Value We Deliver

  5. How We Do It

We can map the positioning to the sales story. So the alternatives in positioning equals alternatives in the sales story. Capabilities in positioning maps to How We Do It in the sales story. The value we have in our positioning is the value we deliver in our sales story, and also maps to this perfect solution. If we’ve got a qualified prospect, then Best Fit Customers in our positioning are the Perfect Solution for your qualified prospect. Finally, Market Category is what we know about the market that allows us to start with this Insight section of the sales story.

Here’s one more example just to drive this home. They’re called Leveljump. They’re in the sales enablement space providing Sales Enablement software. If you have a lot of new reps joining then Leveljump helps you get the reps up to speed really quickly, and really easily.

Who do they compete with? It’s a bloodbath market, there are so many competitors, it’s not even funny. But the competitors all land in two or three different buckets, they’re either a Content Management System (CMS), basically, where you put the sales materials in there, and you can see who’s getting access to it. Or it’s an LMS (learning management system), that allows you to build a course and track who took the course etc. These are the main competitors that they have in the market, their big differentiator is that they’re super integrated with Salesforce. So what’s the value of that for their positioning? The value in that is they are the only sales enablement product that can show you whether or not your sales enablement (or training) is working with sales metrics. So did that training improve the time to the first deal? Did that training improve the time to make quota?

Again, let’s do the two different styles of pitches. If I did the product walkthrough pitch, I’d be like, Hey, hi, I’m gonna show you Leveljump today. But here’s how you get started. Here’s how you set up the training. Here’s how the reps access the training blah, blah, blah feature feature feature blah, blah, blah. And at the very end be like oh, yeah, like this is how you actually track the training and can tell whether or not the training is working. Does this tell me why I should pick it? How would a customer choose me, if that’s the way I’m talking about it? It didn’t even get to the good stuff until the very, very, very end. Leveljumps big differentiator is being able to track it, and in this pitch I didn’t mention that until right at the end. I probably lost the customer by the time we got there.

Here’s how we do it the other way. The other way, you’d say: Okay, we’re gonna give you the demo here. But before we start the demo, let’s have a little conversation. I’m talking to the head of sales enablement, at a big company. You know sales enablement is important, and we know sales enablement is important. Why is it important? Because every day that your reps aren’t making their quota it costs you money. How much money? We actually have a nice bunch of stats on that.

But that’s the whole point. That’s why we’re doing sales enablement in the first place. Now, let’s look at all the different approaches like most companies start with just putting stuff on a shared drive which is fine if you only got a couple of (sales) reps. But then most folks would graduate to a solution that looks more like a CMS. And a CMS is good, it allows you to see who has accessed what materials, and makes sure everybody’s got the right version of things that the reps are supposed to have. It doesn’t allow you to set up courses and things. And then the big thing is, it doesn’t allow you to measure whether the training is working, all you can see is who’s accessing what. Or you buy an LMS, and that’s great, you can set up a course and tell who’s taken the course or not. But what you can’t see is whether or not taking the course make the rep make quota faster.

So in a perfect world, if what we’re really trying to do is improve the sales metrics. In a perfect world, you’d have sales enablement software that would allow you to measure the impact with sales metrics. Now that you can measure the impact of that, you could actually improve it. And over time, you can improve it because you now know what’s working and what isn’t working right. Now, let me show you the demo. Oh, these are the two valuable points. So here measure the impact of sales enablement, on sales metrics. Let me show you how we do that. Here I am in the demo showing you how we do that, oh, we’re all integrated with Salesforce. This is how we do it. Here’s the little features.

Second thing is to improve onboarding to sell more and faster. Let me show you how we do it. Here’s how we show what’s working. This is how we take what’s working, go back and improve on it. Do you think that sells more than just feature feature feature feature? Of course, it does. In the case of Leveljump, it resulted in a whole bunch of growth, and they then they got acquired by Salesforce and now everybody’s rich.

I’m gonna give you some homework. The first one is, and this is what I think you can do with this right now. The first one is, do you really understand the reasons why people pick your stuff over the alternatives? Can you write it down? And then how would you actually express that in a sales situation? Do you know how to do that? Second thing is, what does a customer need to understand? In order to understand your value? This is this market insight bit? Like the way that toilet guy said, look, there are just three things it’s like, you know, it’s; quality, aesthetics and space. Do you have that for your market? Do you know how to actually do that? And could we teach a customer how to make good choices that way? And then the last thing is positioning. If positioning is the fundamental input to the sales narrative, it’s a almost like garbage in, garbage out situation. If your positioning is not so hot, then it’s hard to make a really good sales narrative on top of weak positioning. So, when was the last time you checked in on your positioning? That would be the question I would ask. And that’s it.

I’m going to leave you with a few key takeaways:

  1. Buying is hard. We should recognise that. If your buyers can’t decide then they will do nothing and make no decision, and they’ll kick the can down the road for a year or two years. You need to fight that in every single sales situation you’re in. Your sales narrative needs to not just be an explosion of features, it needs to answer the question, “Why buy your stuff versus every other alternative I have?” Positioning is a fundamental input to that. So if the positioning is squishy, the sales narrative is going to be squishy. This isn’t going to work.

  2. If you’re looking to hire a good sales rep, like I know a guy is really good. He’s kind of under-employed at the toilet store right now, but I think he’s got potential.

That’s it. Thank you.

Key Takeaways

  1. Buying is hard

  2. If buyers can’t decide, they’ll do nothing

  3. You sales narrative should answer why buy us over the alternatives

  4. Positioning is a fundamental input

    Learn more about April’s approach to positioning in her book, Obviously Awesome and keep up to date with her latest thoughts and insights on Twitter @aprildunford

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