Good job on the B2B success story! - Julia Borgini

Oh, it was really no bother.

It was on my way, so I figured I’d get yours as well.

Really? We’re the #1 company in our category? Aw shucks.

Accepting praise or acknowledging our awesomeness is hard to do. Rare is the person who’s able to do it easily and move on. Most of use will utter one of the phrases I mentioned previously (okay, maybe not the “Aw shucks” part) whenever praise is directed our way. I’m no different. I’ll often make a self-deprecating joke whenever someone compliments me on a job well done. These days I’m getting better at it, often replying with a simple “Thank you”, but it’s not my first instinct.

B2B companies are no different than the individuals working for them. Enterprises often have a hard time talking about their successes, even with an in-house marketing department!

Avoiding your successes is a problem. Not talking about them prevents you from showcasing the helpful nature of your product. It keeps you at arms length from your prospect. And it ultimately stops you from converting prospects into leads.

Eep, did you realize that? I’ll bet you didn’t.

Not talking about yourself and your success is preventing you from growing your B2B business. And that’s not good. So, how can you break this habit?

Simple, by using B2B success stories (previously known as the case study.)

In fact, breaking through this obstacle is one of the reasons copywriters creating them. (Well okay, I don’t know if that’s true, but I’d like to think so—of course I may be biased, so take that as you like. :) )

Reminder: What is a success story?

A success story is where you explain how you helped a customer achieve results, usually by solving an issue that they were facing.

Why do B2B companies use them?

They are great for strengthening the relationship between you and your prospects. That’s why companies often give give them away on their websites, and hand them out at live events. We all love a good story with a happy ending after all, right?

Did you see what I did there?

I just gave you two ways you can use success stories for lead management. Yep, that’s right. Success stories are great for lead management. They should be part of your content arsenal for your LdM program.

You see, success stories are a simple way of:

  • Showing that you understand your prospect’s world, obstacles, and issues
  • Demonstrating your expertise at solving those obstacles and issues
  • Illustrating how helpful you are to your existing customers

Help, don’t sell

In my opinion, success stories are THE perfect example of the “Help, don’t sell” mantra you’re seeing a lot in content marketing and lead management. Prospects don’t want to be sold to all the time. They want to see how you work in the real world, how you might help them if they became your customer. Success stories do that and more.

Companies like Sage use success stories to generate over half a million online engagement actions from users (clicks, views, shares, likes) and moved their content from outside the top 100 pages to the first page on Google SERs within 3 months.

Avanade uses their success stories to show how they’re able to transform their customers’ working environments through innovation.

B2B buyers still read success stories

In fact, according to an Eccolo Media study, enterprise-sized companies prefer success stories to many other content types—they’re in the Top 3 of most consumed type of content. Over 50% (56% to be precise) of enterprise companies read success stories before making a purchasing decision.

When are success stories used in the buying pipeline?

They tend to be used most in the middle of the buying pipeline, that is, after the buyer knows you and your products, but still isn’t ready to pull the trigger on the purchase. Makes sense, given how many people are involved in a B2B purchase. Eccolo found that they’re read 32% of the time mid-cycle, so that’s when they’re most often passed along from the initial reader to the next person in the pipeline.

B2B decision makers are mobile users

With out increasing dependence on mobile devices like tablets and smartphones, you can bet that B2B decision makers are using one. While they may prefer the traditional narrative format of the success story, they love reading them on their mobile devices. Over one-quarter of respondents to Eccolo’s 2014 Technology Content Survey said they read them exclusively on a tablet, while 37% said it’s their second-favorite device to read them on.

Still shy?

Hopefully you’ve seen the light and understand how success stories can grow your B2B Technology business. They’re an integral part to any marketing program, and a great way to nurture your leads.