3 Important Elements of a Customer Case Study

At Marketo, I work with our partners to list them on our LaunchPoint Partner Ecosystem and connect them with our sales teams. But before our partners can get introduced to our sales teams, we require them to provide at least two case studies.


While case studies are a great asset for your prospects and customers, the more sales reps that know about your solution and understand how it fits in with their own, the more “feet on the street” you have. How can they become an extended sales team for you if they don’t know how to position your solution well, what to listen for when speaking to prospects and customers, and what problems your solution resolves?

A case study can provide all of this information and more. Consider what would resonate with you more as you’re evaluating a solution–a datasheet of facts or an actual story about a customer that used the integrated solution, detailing the initial pain they experienced and how this solution—your solution—fixed it?

Case studies are a key asset that your organization, partners, prospects, and customers can all benefit from. Below are three critical components of a compelling case study:

1. Tell a Story About Your Solution

In your arsenal of sales and marketing collateral, you might already have a datasheet, battle card, whitepaper, and sales deck. But these assets don’t serve the same purpose that a case study does. Case studies tell a story about your company and solution in the context of a real-world situation. Think about case studies as a job interview for your company. Many of us have had at least one job where the hiring manager asks you to explain an issue you faced at a previous company, how you managed it, and the outcome. Essentially, they’re trying to get a feel for the value you can provide by having you tell them a story that applies your specific skills to a problem. That’s exactly what a case study does.

To accomplish this, put your case study in the context of the bigger picture. How did your solution help a company address their pain points and what results can other companies expect to see? For an integrated solution case study, highlight the value of the combined solution. For example, if your solution is integrated into Marketo, explain how these different solutions synced together to solve a problem.

2. Be Clear and Concise

One of the fastest ways to engage your prospects is through a case study that is well-written, easily digestible, and gets straight to the point. Ensure that your case study has defined value propositions that your prospects can easily pull out and that sales reps can use as speaking points.

Set the stage by providing a quick overview of the company you worked with to help your audience understand their business model. Next, explain the challenges they were facing and what they were looking for in a solution. Then, demonstrate how your company specifically addressed their needs and how it impacted their prospects and customers, marketing organization, and company. If your company has more than one solution, highlight the different solutions and their unique applications in solving the problem.

3. Back Up Your Claims

The more data and external validation you can include, the better. Take a look at how your solution helped the company achieve higher ROI. Did they achieve a greater close rate, better click-through rate for emails, or better SEO? By how much more compared to before?

If you can, get a quote from the customer about their results before and after your solution was implemented for external validation. This helps a reader grasp the benefits and usage model quickly with social proof and helps a sales rep know what to listen for as he engages with other potential customers.

As you’re developing your case study, think about the audience: your prospects, your customers, your sales reps, and your partner’s sales reps. Make it easy for them to understand your solution and differentiate it from others in the market. The better and faster your prospects and customers see value, the more they’ll buy from you. And the more sales reps see the value, the more they’ll sell for you.

Do you have a formula you use to create awesome case studies? I’d love to hear about it. Please share it in the comments below.