In B2B SaaS, the relationship you cultivate with your customer is the single most important key to long-term success. (Yes, it is actually more important than your product.) In an era where products and services can quickly be replicated by the competition, your brand’s reputation and relationship with your customers is the only thing that will sustain your business, especially through tough times.
That said, your audience can be elusive, making it challenging to create a true connection. The good news? There is one secret marketing tool that can help you cultivate strong relationships with any audience: brand storytelling.
Building Connection Through Content
One of the biggest challenges in B2B SaaS is the fact that most business is conducted online (and B2B buyers actually prefer it that way). So, in an industry where you’re not hopping on the phone or grabbing casual lunches, how do you plant the seeds of a relationship? How do you nurture it? And how do you make a better impression than your competition? By communicating through your content.
Whether your audience is searching for a service, downloading an ebook, or casually clicking on a social ad, most people’s first introduction to you will be through content. If you want to stand out from every other brand, pique someone’s interest, and help them get to know you, telling interesting and compelling stories through your content is the most effective way to do it.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 67% of B2B marketers have been asked to do more with the same resources. The work you put into the content you create needs to make the most impact possible.
Note: There are many definitions of “story.” Ask 100 people and you’ll get 100 different answers. To us, successful brand storytelling is communicating your perspective and brand in a way that resonates with your audience.
5 Tips to Tell Unique Stories in B2B SaaS
The good news (for you) is that most SaaS brands don’t do storytelling well. They churn out boring, generic content that is easy to scroll past. But if you take a strategic approach to storytelling, dig deep for unique ideas, and turn them into the right stories, you can grab their attention, create a lasting relationship, and turn them into a lifelong customer. If you’re not sure what stories can do all that, here are five tips to get started.
1) Share what has and hasn’t worked for you.
If you want to stand out, sharing content that is entirely unique is one of the best ways to do it. And your brand’s experience and expertise is entirely unique. Sharing the lessons you’ve learned (especially lessons you’ve learned the hard way) is particularly interesting and endearing to your audience. (For example, we’ve talked about the biggest content strategy mistakes and the biggest lessons we’ve learned in our first decade in business.) Why does this strategy work so well?
- It shows them you’re human and that you’re empathetic to the challenges they may be facing (because you’ve faced them as well).
- It shows you’re active in your field. Trying new things, adopting new habits, and experimenting are all signs of a brand that is interested in innovation.
- It shows them you’re generous with your knowledge because you’re genuinely invested in helping improve people’s lives, be it your audience or industry peers.
Most importantly, telling stories about your big wins and big failures provides transparency and demonstrates your vulnerability, which makes people much more likely to trust you. And as we know, trust is the foundation of all healthy relationships.
Tip: As painful as it may be, think about your biggest fails and losses. What lessons did you learn? How did you change your approach? Conversely, think about the best advice you’ve received or tip you’ve applied. Sharing these stories can be incredibly helpful for your audience.
2) Show your work.
Content like case studies, client testimonials, etc. is very worthy and helpful, especially as your audience moves down the path to purchase. But telling more stories about the way you work can be especially fresh and interesting. Are you experimenting with a new type of software? Are you testing a new interface? Do you have a specific way your company communicates? (For example, we’ve shared the content strategy that increased our sales 160% and written about why we shut down for a week to adopt AgencyAgile practices.)
Getting to know not just the results of your work (e.g., case studies or portfolio work) but the way you got there is unique to your brand and interesting to your audience.
Tip: Share your work in progress, give people peeks into your creative process and brainstorm sessions, or even solicit feedback about the decisions you’re making. This engages your audience and helps them feel like they’re a part of your brand.
3) Talk about what matters to you and your organization.
As we well know, even in B2B SaaS, companies cannot function facelessly. Your audience cares about who you are and how you show up in the world. Brands that don’t joyfully embrace this transparency will find it near impossible to connect with their audience. Fortunately for you, these core elements are a huge part of your brand–and a fantastic source of story ideas.
Think of ways to create content around your values, whether that’s causes you care about, organizations you’re involved with, or topics you have a personal attachment to. (If you need inspiration, here are 10 brands that do this well.)
The most unique storytelling is always the most human.
Tip: If you haven’t clearly documented your Brand Heart (including purpose, vision, mission, values), start with our free workbook to walk you through the process.
4) Share stories about your employees.
The people who work for you are your most valuable asset. They are your face, voice, hands, and heart, and they deserve to be celebrated and introduced to the world. Not only are they an asset your competition does not have but they are a fantastic way to introduce more fun and personality into your content mix. B2B SaaS marketing doesn’t always make for the most lighthearted and fun content, but telling stories about your employees lets you showcase your brand in a human-to-human way—beyond your product offerings.
As an additional bonus, telling employee stories is a fantastic way to attract potential candidates to your brand. (If the marketplace is competitive, the hiring marketplace is even more competitive.)
Tip: Whether it’s an employee spotlight, a company playlist, or a behind-the-scenes event, there are plenty of ways to tell interesting stories about your employees. If you need inspiration, see our ideas to share your culture on social media, and find out more about how to cultivate an employer brand that people want to work for.
5) Dig into your data.
Data storytelling is marketing gold for many reasons. It’s credible and, if you use your own internal data, it is unique to you. This makes it a fantastic tool to grab people’s attention and demonstrate your expertise.
Look for catchy data points that might make someone click on a headline. Visualize data trends to create shareable infographics for social media. Share the most surprising insights from a research report.
Whether it’s a formal white paper, a deep dive into your company data, or a unique data point that gives you pause, there are so many ways to turn data into scroll-stopping stories.
Credibility is key to convincing customers you’re the right brand to work with.
Remember, too, that journalists are always sorely in need of credible sources, so publicly sharing (and pitching) data-based stories can help you massively increase your reach to new audiences.
How to Win in B2B SaaS Marketing
No matter what stories you tell, remember that the most compelling stories will always provide value to your audience in some way, whether it increases their knowledge, helps them solve a problem, or gives them a fresh perspective. If you’re looking for more ways to engage your audience…
- Do a content audit to find the story gaps in your content.
- Master the basics of storytelling with our guide to tell a scroll-stopping brand story.
- Find out how to create sales enablement content that furthers your brand story once people move down the path to purchase.
Above all, remember that you’re telling real stories to real people. Vet every idea from your audience’s perspective to make sure it provides real value, use your brand voice to speak to them like humans, and continuously experiment with everything from your topics to your formats. The more creative you are, the more you’ll find the right storytelling formula to help you reach the right people.