A few weeks ago, a Fortune 100 enterprise engaged me to talk to 20 of its senior leaders about crafting a strategic narrative—the high-level story that powers sales, marketing, product development, everything.
During the talk, I asserted that every great company story starts by naming what’s at stake for customers. Later, during a Q&A, one of the company’s executives asked for clarification:
I’m always hearing that we’re supposed to talk about customers’ pain. Is that what you mean by stakes?
The Enterprise’s Most Unhelpful Metaphor: Doctor-Patient
Behind the executive’s question is a metaphor that informs how many executives and entrepreneurs see their relationship to customers. The company (represented on the front lines by its sales and marketing folks) is a doctor, diagnosing prospects’ pain and offering products and services to relieve it.