Toby Brown

Show, don’t tell: The power of ‘discovery selling’

Posted on 12th September 2016 by Toby Brown

The paradox of today’s digital-first world is that people are craving physical experiences more than ever – look no further than the unprecedented success of Pokémon Go for proof.

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With so much of our daily communication now mediated via our mobiles, the value of physical, worthwhile interactions will only continue to grow in currency.

This is a big opportunity for B2B organisations struggling to get attention from overloaded customers. When done right, creative events can be an immensely powerful tool in your marketing and sales toolkit. The operative word is creativity though – the bar has raised for B2B events and you’ll need to provide a truly valuable and memorable experience if you’re to bring in the crowds.

While there are a host of different TED-esque talk formats bouncing around, we believe customer-led experiences are a really exciting area to explore today: how can you give people an experience that allows them to form their own conclusions whilst telling your story in a worthwhile enjoyable way?

We call this approach discovery-led selling: why ask your audience to sit in a room and snore through a product demo, when they can truly experience technology and find out for themselves how it applies to their business? This approach is particularly relevant to tech firms, who often struggle to excite prospects with the traditional product demo.

We trialled this approach in partnership with Google for Work’s retail team, and the results were fantastic. Instead of just showing prospects the tools, we instead focused on real-world challenges that their retail staff would experience on a day to day basis. We then set senior executives that task of overcoming these challenges against the clock using Google’s tools in a faux retail store environment. Check out the full case study here.  

Bringing an element of the Crystal Maze to the world of B2B completely changed the dynamic and truly brought the business impact of new technology to life for business leaders. The perspective-shift for participants was perhaps the most exciting thing – where previously they had struggled to understand the benefits, many came out of the experience effectively selling the tools and approaches to each other. The results of the event speak for themselves.

It is this shift in mindset that’s one of the major benefits of letting people find out things for themselves as well as delivering an experience few will forget in a hurry. Of course this approach isn’t applicable to every business, but even those with more niche products and use cases can probably benefit from giving their prospects a different, memorable and, crucially, valuable experience.

Why not give it a go – what’s the worst that can happen?

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