Another Strong Case for the Power of Storytelling

Bob Wiesner | March 7, 2017

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Too many organizations are caught in a dangerous loop.  They are continually chasing quarterly results.  In some cases, even more short-term than that.  This is especially frustrating for those in business development.  Pressure to close is always strong, especially as you near the end of the quarter.

And if you’re an agency that finds new revenue primarily through inbound RFPs and pitch opportunities, the lack of predictability and control makes meeting these short-term targets even tougher.

This article in HBR has four excellent suggestions for breaking the narrow-focused, short-term approach.  The first really resonates: “Tell a story that is bigger than quarterly earnings.”

One of the reasons that agencies and other firms chase every available new business RFP and pitch is because they have no other beliefs around growing business.  If you want new revenue, they believe, you gotta pitch.  And pitch just about whatever comes along, because you don’t know what’s coming next or what you’re more likely to win.

It’s hard to break the circuit.  That’s where storytelling is key.  Consider:

Can every employee in your agency tell the story of the agency?

Can they tell the story of how you solve client problems?

Of your signature successes?

Of how you grow?

When these stories are fully socialized within the organization, it’s a whole lot easier to get out of the perpetual turmoil of chasing numbers and pitching everything that comes along.  These stories clearly communicate your core values.  They give you and your teams significant confidence that

  • you know where revenue will come from
  • you know how to capture that revenue
  • that revenue will lead to healthy growth

If your people can’t tell these stories, maybe it’s because no one has written them yet.  But they probably exist, and they’re undoubtedly true.  The effort required to uncover and disseminate such stories will pay off in the not-very-long term.

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