B2B storytelling marketing
Content Marketing & SEO

Selling magic beans: why storytelling matters in B2B marketing

B2B storytelling is a must-have to build your brand, bring your product to life, inspire trust in your customers and convert marketing into sales. Here’s why it works.

If a mysterious figure offered you a bag of magic beans in exchange for your cow*, would you take them? Of course not. You’d want to know what you were buying. What makes them magical. What you were guaranteed to get out of it.

For all Jack knew, those magic beans could have turned his hair green or sent up a firework. They could have had literally no commercial value at all, and he just swapped them for his family’s sole source of income. Imagine if a decision-maker in a business had that approach.

‘Yes, I’ve blown our budget on this tech, but it’s magic. I don’t know what it does, but it must be good, right?’

In the end, Jack lucked out and it all ended happily ever after (except for the giant, his wife and all the people they squished). But that is a fairy story. In B2B sales, people are not willing to put their faith in a handful of mysterious beans. They want to know what they’re buying. What makes it so brilliant. What they are guaranteed to get out of it.

They also want to know who is selling it to them. Can they be trusted? Is it the right option? They want to see that you’ve understood their pain points and are bringing them a solution that’s going to fix their specific issue.

B2B marketing shouldn’t be leaving decision-makers in the dark. It should be illustrating exactly why customers need this product or service, and why they should buy it from you. It should work in tandem with sales to push prospects into the funnel before they’ve even picked up the phone, not leave all the heavy lifting to the sales team.

The best way to do it is with storytelling.

What am I buying and what am I going to get out of it?

We’ll start with the obvious. What is it and what does it do? Simply listing USPs and specifications is great – if you are talking to people who speak the language and understand exactly what they should be looking for. This pool is usually limited to a) your colleagues and b) your competitors.

Your customers are not searching for specifications or technological jargon. They are looking for a solution to a problem. Storytelling shows them that solution. It tells them the story of how their life/work is going to be better with your product or service, in plain terms that they can relate to.

What makes this product so brilliant?

Aka ‘the magic’. Why is your product better than the rest? Storytelling elevates your brand above the competition. It forms a deeper, more meaningful connection and it boosts conversion rates by 30% as a result. It helps prospects to believe in the magic and helps to convince them that there is, indeed, a pot of gold waiting for them at the top of the beanstalk.

This point is particularly vital for tech businesses, especially those that are selling a relatively new concept. If you don’t have any point of comparison, your story needs to work harder to show the benefits: after all, they’ve got to this point without it, why do they need it now?

Who am I buying it from?

Don’t be the shady bean seller in the market: 81% of consumers say they need to be able to trust the brand in order to buy from them. Storytelling is all about gaining their trust so that when you hit your prospect with a CTA or talk about your product in more literal terms, they are much more inclined to listen.

Besides, thanks to digital – social media, content, customer reviews, Glassdoor ratings, etc – customers have instant insight into the brands they buy from. Who they are, their company culture, their values, their reliability. Whether you like it or not, you are already spinning a story online: but with the right storytelling in your marketing, you can take control of that narrative to resonate with your audience and share the message you want to tell.

How we turn stories into sales

A recent article in the Drum discussed how the pandemic had changed B2B marketing. B2B brands, it said, had needed to pivot during lockdown to appeal to the people behind the corporate façade.

But at Nutcracker, nothing changed. Since we started, we’ve always seen what we do less as ‘business to business’ marketing and more as ‘business to people’. It’s why we’ve always worked storytelling into our campaigns, going beyond dry facts and B2B jargon to deliver stories that connect with the people behind the job title. As a result, we’ve helped to build our client’s brands to become recognised industry leaders.

Our Ultimate Guide to B2B Storytelling explains how we do it: from understanding your audience to working with sales teams to convert stories into sales. Download your copy today.

*we understand that you probably don’t have a cow. It’s a metaphorical cow.

Charlotte Delaney | Head of Content
Charlotte Delaney

Head of Content