Is creating compelling case studies on your to-do list? When you need to make a lasting impression, don’t rely solely on words to tell a persuasive B2B customer success story. Data tells a tale as well—and can make an intriguing story even more compelling.
Data storytelling ties narrative to measurable results
A comprehensive B2B customer evidence program helps to prove the business case for a relationship, often featuring customer success stories in highly digestible formats like videos or slides, and then case studies to provide deeper context and show specifically how your solution works for another organization.
Whether action-flavored or emotion-packed, modern marketers know it just makes sense to humanize your data for your customer evidence program by making it more understandable by coupling it with a narrative. Here, we’ll discuss how nearly any customer evidence story benefits from enhancement with data.
BONUS: Read the “Innovations in Case Studies” eBook to build more effective case studies, use your case study program to help your sellers, and crucially, integrate a human-centered approach for all your customer storytelling.
What is data storytelling?
Data storytelling is the process of reinventing data as an understandable narrative. More than a process—it’s the art of presenting data so that it communicates and/or persuades.
Why use data storytelling?
- Data anchors your evidence in the real world of tangible value and measurable change.
- Effective data visualizations provide context and make the story more digestible and engaging.
- Data helps tailor your story to specific pain points and results, enabling a stronger tie with potential customers.
- Data-driven stories demonstrate to the audience that your business has a clear understanding of, and commitment to, solving their challenges.
The power of data-driven storytelling for case studies
Understanding your complete buying committee is critical to B2B sales; “The typical buying group for a complex B2B solution involves six to 10 decision makers‚ each armed with four or five pieces of information they’ve gathered independently and must deconflict with the group.” (Gartner)
Combining customer evidence and data storytelling can create an influential narrative that reaches customers on both emotional and rational levels. Storytelling brings your solution to life and makes it memorable. Data strengthens the credibility of your company’s claims and can help convince potential customers of the positive results of your service or product.
Personalize by prioritizing highly relevant data
It’s critical to present only data that is relevant to your audience. As you evaluate augmenting your customer evidence with data storytelling, here are some key questions to ask yourself:
- Who is the target audience?
- What is their focus or goal?
- Is the data strong enough to make, rather than weaken, an important story point?
- What does the audience need to have answered for the story to work?
- What does the audience want to know?
- What format will resonate with the audience?
From there, you can identify the best channels, formats, messages, and timing.
Best practices for telling a better data story
What constitutes a good data story? Certainly, a good data story is a good story—incorporating the components of any meaningful tale, including conflict and resolution.
You need to select the right data points, make meaningful correlations, and knit them seamlessly into the story you’re telling. Do that successfully and your customer story becomes more compelling and persuasive.
The Five Cs of a Great Data Story
Whenever you incorporate data storytelling into your customer evidence, we recommend following the Five Cs—Captivating, Consumable, Cohesive, Comprehensive, and Constructive—to build a trustworthy and powerful data statement.
- Captivating. Holds the audience’s attention.
- Consumable. Provides what the audience needs efficiently and in a way that they can understand.
- Cohesive. Allows the audience to follow the flow of the information, tracking from point to point.
- Comprehensive. Well-vetted and accurate data from reliable sources. Approved for this use.
- Constructive. Supports and adds value to the overall story.
By combining dynamic data with an engaging narrative, you create a powerful synergy that brings your solution to life, inspiring your readers along the way.
TIP: We find that storyboarding helps with data storytelling. This highly visual exercise helps pull the most important information out of long, complex reports and ensures your data aligns with your narrative and key messages.
With a structured approach, data and storyline work together to communicate through a dynamic combination of narrative and visuals.
Responsible use of customer data in storytelling
Data is powerful—and like other potent tools, it can serve positive or negative purposes. It’s only too easy for bad actors to twist the facts so they tell a convincingly deceptive tale. That’s why using data truthfully and responsibly is essential.
With that goal in mind, you will want always to ensure your data is fair, ethical, and accurate. That means securing permission for its inclusion in the story from the owners of the data and making sure that information about its source is clear.
Protecting your customers’ data
You also need to understand and apply the relevant legal requirements—get authorization and approval from your legal team and, where appropriate, include mandatory privacy and security statements.
And, as always, you’ll want to follow any additional access requirements, such as avoiding personally identifiable information (PII) in your story. PII is data that can be used to identify someone such as their name, phone number, and/or government-issued identification number.
Will you incorporate a more strategic approach to integrating data into your customer evidence? By presenting and communicating fact-based insights, data storytelling can effectively convey ideas, spark discussions, and drive perception.
We encourage you to take your customer evidence beyond mere numbers or charts and use data storytelling to make complex concepts more accessible and, most importantly, help build stronger connections with potential customers.
Take your customer evidence to the next level
If you have powerful customer impact to showcase, it’s essential that each story conveys excitement, relatability, and relevance from the first sentence. With Bridge Partners’ Product Marketing & Content solutions, you can produce powerful and strategic customer engagement with modern storytelling techniques and data-informed messaging. Our proven delivery model ensures a compelling, human-centered customer narrative from deeply experienced, curious writers and agile project managers ready to make your customer stories—and more!—convey excitement, relatability, and relevance from the first sentence. Contact us today.
This article was authored by Barbara Spear, Senior Practice Manager, Content.
Barbara is zealous about content and strategic excellence. She is particularly adept at translating technical speech and jargon into compelling, reader-friendly language. Barbara loves to jump into projects, get a quick understanding of the challenges, and collaborate to solve them creatively and effectively. She has worked for Bridge Partners for twelve years and, in her free time, loves travel, reading, and baking.