A great customer story is a powerful thing.

They humanize our products and services. They provide social proof to others thinking of buying. They’re highly engaging – and shareable. They help us make good decisions.

It’s clear they matter more today than ever before.

But who’s responsible for finding successes to share? Who captures the stories our customers tell? Who owns them once you have them? That answer’s less clear, because stories are collected and used in so many different ways.

For marketing, stories, testimonials, and positive reviews are great ways to raise awareness and generate leads. They also fuel tons of other content, from infographics to social media posts to email campaigns.

For sales, the right story at the right time can help counter objections, inspire confidence in your solution, upsell to the next level, and turn a “not yet” or “maybe” into a “yes”. They’re tools that also help train new reps and generate revenue.

For product management, customer feedback is at the centre of product development and evolution. Listening to the stories – successes and failures alike – helps build a better product even more people will love.

For customer success, which may be the closest with customers post-purchase, customer stories can even become a metric against which the team’s success is measured, as higher satisfaction rates reflect a job well done.

The reason there’s no clear-cut answer when it comes to ownership and accountability? It’s a truly cross-functional task, with varied objectives.

That’s why, more and more, cross-functional enablement teams are stepping in to connect the people responsible for each step – and hold them accountable.

Who does what?

Customer stories aren’t created in silos – they’re the result of teams working together to achieve a common goal.

For a sales-focused story, for example, an enablement team might be coordinating and connecting:

  • Sales for the objective and direction
  • Customer success for customer outreach
  • Marketing for content creatio

Here are five steps to collecting a sales story, and the teams you and your enablement team should involve along the way.

Define the purpose

Accountable: Sales

If you’re trying to show how easy implementation is, the story is going to look very different than if you’re trying to educate new team members, or secure funding or budget. Set your goal upfront.

This is also a good time to define the format for your story as well. Written case studies are pretty standard, but not every story needs to be a whitepaper. Videos, infographics, and podcasts are great alternatives. Get creative.

Find customers to talk to

Accountable: Customer success

Go straight to the people who deal with your customers day-in and day-out, like social media managers, customer service reps, and account executives. They’ll have their finger on the pulse of your customers’ journeys, and are your best bet for pinpointing stories relevant to your objectives.

Though the ideal customer will vary, generally you’ll want to look for ones who:

  • Score 9 or 10 on your Net Promoter Score
  • Mention you on social media (or engage with your accounts)  
  • Are consistently delighted with your company and share that verbally with your support teams

Reach out to those customers

Accountable: Customer success

Contact each customer individually by phone or email to ask if they’ll share their story. Make sure to go over what they can expect and how long it’ll take. There may be some logistical paperwork – release forms, questionnaires, etc. – and some scheduling involved, too.

Do the interview

Accountable: Sales or marketing

Prepare some open-ended questions ahead of time that relate to the story’s purpose and allow for elaboration, description, and specificity. Avoid “yes/no” questions like the plague, because you’ll get one-word answers.

As much as you can, try to do interviews in-person or over a video call. The nuances that emerge during conversation help create an engaging story and paint a relatable picture, whereas emailed responses tend to sound inauthentic or scripted.

Package the story

Accountable: Marketing

It’s time to take that interview and turn it into a cohesive story. There’s a lot that goes into this part, but to brutally summarize, it’s all about pulling the customer-centric narrative that supports your objective – the unique journey they went on through their challenges, buying process, and results – in the format you need.

Once you have your customer stories, why not make them easy to find and share with your team? Kiite puts the stories you’ve created at your team’s fingertips, no searching required.

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