The Brainy Side of Marketing and Sales


Conversations That Win 2016 kicked off with a little story about a big slugger.

The year was 1918, and Babe Ruth led Major League Baseball in homeruns, hitting 11 of them in 95 games. A big man by any measure, Ruth in his prime stood 6’2” and weighed at least 215 pounds. That year, he used an enormous 54-ounce bat, reasoning that a big man should swing a big bat. With this choice, Ruth might’ve had good intentions…but he had the wrong instincts.

Fast-forward nine years later to 1927, and Ruth was still leading the majors in homers. The difference? He had switched to a much smaller 40-ounce bat and hit a whopping 60 of them—a 5-6x improvement from his 1918 output.

So what happened?

Someone injected a little science into the art of hitting and determined that bat size wasn’t the biggest predictor of power—bat speed was. In other words, Ruth achieved a performance breakthrough by taking advantage of a counterintuitive insight, and marketers and sales professionals can do the same. That was the key message of the Decision Science Deep Dive that kicked off Conversations That Win 2016.

Tormala - decision science
Corporate Visions’ research partner – Dr. Zakary Tormala – elaborates on findings of recent messaging study

Breakthroughs in your customer conversations—that’s what Corporate Visions’ Tim Riesterer and Erik Peterson discussed with Dr. Zakary Tormala during the decision science deep dive, which kicked off #CTW16. Below are five messaging techniques they explored—all tested and proven through research—that you can apply to gain statistically significant advantages in your marketing message and sales approaches.

  • Introduce unconsidered needs in your message (vs. responding only to your prospects’ stated needs). Here’s the research.
  • Create contrast in your message between your prospect’s current state and your future alternative (vs. leading with your most differentiated capabilities). Here’s the research.
  • Lead off your sales conversation with a compelling insight to get buyers to admit where they’re struggling (vs. asking discovery questions). Here’s the research.
  • Create contrast in your message between your prospect’s current state and your future alternative (vs. leading with your most differentiated capabilities). Here’s the research.
  • Pair risk and resolution in your value message to make the biggest impact on behaviors and emotions (vs. only building your message around risk). Here’s the research.
  • Use whiteboards to deliver the most memorable and credible visual storytelling (vs. relying on traditional PowerPoint presentations). Here’s the research.

The major takeaway: By adding the rigor of science and research to your marketing and sales approach, you’ll ensure that your best intentions are matched to the right instincts. You’ll also ensure that you’ll be less like the Babe Ruth of 1918 who conformed to the day’s conventions, and more like the Babe Ruth of 1927 who defied them—and experienced a performance breakthrough because of it.




Tim Riesterer

Tim Riesterer

Chief Strategy Officer

Tim Riesterer has dedicated his career to improving the conversations marketers and salespeople have with prospects and customers. His books, “Customer Message Management”, “Conversations that Win the Complex Sale”, “Three Value Conversations”, and "The Expansion Sale", focus on improving market-ready messages and tools that marketers and salespeople can use to win more deals. As chief strategy and research officer for Corporate Visions, he sets the direction and develops products for this leading marketing and sales messaging, content and training company.