Your alarm goes off and you grab your phone, silencing the noise to scroll social media for a few minutes before getting ready for the day.

You stream music and eat breakfast—flipping through recipes and meal plans (paper or digital, be real) and planning your grocery list. You hop in the car and head to work or the gym or wherever you start your day.

From the moment we wake up to the moment we close our eyes, we are bombarded with endless information. So much so, much of it has become white noise.

When was the last time you actually noticed the video ads between reels, voice ads on streaming platforms or printed ads on the billboards you drive past daily? And when you have noticed them, do they make you feel seen and understood? Or do they feel like a generic sales pitch? 

When it comes to being a beacon of clarity in the sea of noise, you have to provide information that will actually be valuable to your audience. And to catch their attention, you’ll need to do so with a strong narrative, according to our guest Cody Gillund, VP of Marketing at Open Lending. She shares the power of storytelling in shaping meaningful touchpoints to drive sales and ultimately give back to the community.

We discuss:

  • Using the Deal Accelerator program to move forward difficult deals
  • Getting back to the roots of knowing one another as people, while also driving sales and marketing forward as a team
  • The power of narrative and storytelling in differentiation

Listen to “#75: Using Storytelling to Stand Out, Give Back, and Build Connections” on Spreaker.


Using the Deal Accelerator program to move forward difficult deals

Having taken part in the Challenger program, Cody and her team have been able to implement certain models across their own unique systems to push forward deals. One major benefit the team has gained is greater alignment between sales and marketing, allowing for deals to be moved forward with greater ease.

According to Cody, after completing the Deal Accelerator program, Open Lending was able to break the status quo thinking of a slowing prospect. This innovative way of utilizing synergy and teaching helped the team close the prospect within 60 days of the training.

“It’s important to understand the prospect’s position and understand change can be tough,” Cody says. “A lot of them have lived and breathed their industry for their entire career. We make sure we’re staying true to that culture while also applying the Challenger model.”

By understanding buyers on a deep enough level you can flip the switch from pitching to teaching can help bridge the gap between buyers and sellers, ultimately helping accelerate difficult deals.

When you work to accelerate these difficult deals, you have to help buyers navigate difficult situations. After all, change is almost always tough, right?

Cody offers some advice for helping navigate (and guide) change both internally and for your buyers:

  • Put yourself in their shoes
  • Stay true to the existing culture
  • Celebrate real-life successes
  • Clarify the ‘why’

Getting back to the roots of knowing one another as people, while also driving sales and marketing forward as a team

There is so much noise in the world today for humans—ads and information constantly aimed at you, it can be difficult to decide what to prioritize. Most often this information becomes white noise.

Breaking through the static is vital in today’s sales landscape. The best way to do it? Get to know one another as humans, then treat each other as such. 

Instead of constantly pitching your product, create a narrative that takes a more educational approach. By doing this, you can communicate in a much more digestible and relatable way, according to Cody. 

“Show them the why behind why we’re all here,” Cody says. “We’re all here to serve the community. We can help you do that in a way that works really well for you.”

But, the narrative and relationship between buyers and sellers isn’t the only thing that matters—in today’s sales environment, you need more than dinners and golf to get to know your buyers. Your sales team also has to place constructive pressure on the relationship by educating buyers by utilizing customer insights.

The power of narrative and storytelling in differentiation

Throughout the Accelerator training, Cody and her team also realized the importance of a strong narrative. By incorporating storytelling throughout its pitch deck and the process of building and implementing the system behind it, Open Lending was able to maintain a powerful trajectory.

“The accelerator training is what got us on board—fully aligned and onboard. Having that choreography empowered our reps to be better storytellers,” she said.

But storytelling isn’t a straight-shot ticket to a closed deal. You also have to have a healthy balance of data. 

“You have to be really tight with your data to teach effectively and challenge the status quo,” Cody says. “But you also need the skill of doing it in a way that’s savvy, reads the room and is consistent so your story as a brand really comes through to the marketplace across all touch points.”

For most, the strongest narratives are woven with emotional connection. At Open Lending, that powerful emotional component is the opportunity for individuals to be able to afford a vehicle that otherwise likely wouldn’t be able to.

Want to learn more about breaking through the noise with a strong, tailored narrative and focus? Listen to the full episode of Winning the Challenger Sale where Cody reveals more about the power of the Deal Accelerator program, tools to push marketing and sales teams forward (even in the face of hesitancy) and closing difficult sales in today’s economy.

To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to the Winning The Challenger Sale podcast on our website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or just search for it in your favorite podcast player.

Andee Harris

Andee Harris is CEO of Challenger. Andee brings more than two decades of experience growing and scaling service and technology businesses. She has previously led multiple companies, both as CEO and Senior Vice President, through periods of rapid revenue growth, critical fundraising, and successful acquisition. These companies include Highground (acquired by Vista Equity Partners), TMBC (acquired by ADP), Syndio and Emerging Solutions (acquired by Emtec).