March 1

Research: How to Write Persuasive B2B Sales Messages Using Metaphors

In business development pitches, the right messaging combined with an effectively designed PowerPoint deck can make all the difference in closing a deal. But with so much competition and noise in the market, it can be challenging to differentiate yourself from the competition and connect with your best prospects.

However, a recent Corporate Vision report titled "Mastering Metaphors" explores the science behind metaphorical language and its effectiveness in communication. 

If you don't remember your sixth-grade English, metaphors are a powerful form of figurative language that compares two things to help illustrate a point or convey an idea. They do this by activating the brain's right hemisphere, which is responsible for creativity, imagination, and emotion. Thus metaphors are more memorable and impactful than ordinary business language. And in a content-overloaded society, metaphors help simplify complex ideas, differentiate your offer from your competitors, and help you connect with customers on an emotional level.

Using Metaphors to Differentiate Your Brand or Product 

One of the key benefits of using metaphors in business development materials and pitch decks is that they can help differentiate your offering from your competitors. By using metaphors that are unique, creative, and relevant to your sales prospects, you create a distinctive identity that sets you apart — increasing the odds your prospects' remember you for more than 10 minutes after you complete your presentation.

Several successful B2B companies have leveraged metaphors in their messaging to connect with their customers and differentiate themselves from competitors. For instance, SAP, a global enterprise software company, uses the metaphor of a "digital core" to convey the importance of a strong foundation for digital transformation. Similarly, Salesforce, a leading customer relationship management (CRM) software company, uses the metaphor of a "customer success platform" to emphasize its focus on helping customers achieve their goals.

Using Metaphors to Enhance the Storytelling Experience

There is a growing body of research that shows the effectiveness of storytelling in B2B presentations. In another study conducted by Corporate Visions, it was found that storytelling in B2B presentations can increase the persuasiveness of the message by up to 67%. The study also showed that using a story format can increase the likelihood of the audience remembering the critical points of the presentation by up to 26%. Given the average person only remembers 10% of any presentation they sit through, leveraging anything — including metaphors — to improve the odds that your pitch deck creates precision vs random memory is an essential component of any effective sales presentation. 

Metaphors enhance the storytelling experience in several ways

  • Creating vivid mental images in the minds of your sales prospects makes the story more engaging and memorable. 
  • Simplifying complex ideas makes your ideas more accessible to your prospects by helping you draw parallels between the story and the presented topic, resulting in better audience understanding. 
  • Creating emotional resonance with your audience makes your story more impactful and memorable. 

BEWARE of The Metaphor Trap 

Results from this neuroscience study showed that using varied, frequent, and fresh metaphors attracts attention, increases motivation, and improves long-term memory. But finding fresh metaphors is time-consuming, which explains why a majority of study participants were able to cite the most common and overused metaphors they see in B2B business presentations and pitch decks. 

Most Common Metaphors in B2B Presentations
Most OVERUSED cliches in B2B Sales Presentations

But creativity pays off in the end. Participants who saw the most original metaphors scored 12 percent higher on the memory quiz than the More Clichés group. Data also showed significant advantages for the More Originals group, which was 57 percent more excited than the More Clichés group. And probably most importantly, when participants saw more cliché metaphors, they focused on the presenter. But when they saw more original metaphors, they were focused on the slides

Avoid the metaphor trap

Download our list of the 50 most common clichés and the 50 most common metaphors used in B2B pitch decks today to ensure your messages don't fall victim to the Metaphor Trap

There is no doubt that metaphors are a powerful tool in your business development messaging. The "Mastering Metaphors" report provides a valuable resource to improve your messaging and stand out in a crowded market. It recommends creating unique, effective metaphors and using them consistently across all business development channels to create a distinctive identity and connect with prospective clients on a deeper level — a vital element of the Painless Prospecting and Sell Greatly business development approach.

Have you read: How to Craft The PERFECT PITCH?   

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This post was originally published on Painless Prospecting, the weekly sales and marketing blog created by the fine folks at Converse Digital. If you want to learn how to create, engage in, and convert conversations into new clients and customers, give them a call

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