Effective case studies are one of the most important content pieces in a salesperson’s toolkit. Providing examples of current customers using your product or service helps demonstrate the value of your offering. It helps the buyer see—in a tangible way—how your product could drive business results in their own organization.
In a Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs study, 82% of B2B marketers indicated that they produce case studies, trailing just social media in terms of popularity as a content marketing tactic. In the same study, 65% said case studies are effective for their organization.
Clearly, when done right, case studies can provide your sales team with the ammunition they need to move the sales forward and close the deal.
If you’re looking to produce more effective case studies for your team, here are 3 tips to keep in mind.
1. Address your buyers’ questions.
It might be tempting to use your case studies to talk about your products and services only, but that’s not valuable for the buyers. Think about your case studies from the perspective of your prospects. Think about the buyer’s context and use your case studies to answer their questions.
Your buyers are probably wondering about ROI. They’re probably wondering about the criteria your current customers have used when evaluating you against the competition. They’re probably wondering about the post-sale experience as well. Address these questions in your case studies.
But don’t stop there. Don’t assume you know everything the buyers need to know. Look into getting a complete picture of the customer journey by talking to your current customers and collaborating with your colleagues from sales and customer success.
The old adage “show, don’t tell” applies here. Case studies that put the focus on your customers are much more effective than those that simply regurgitate the features of your offerings.
2. Tell a story.
Effective case studies are not just about facts and figures. They’re not just about answering the 5 Ws and the how.
The most impactful case studies are those that leverage an old-school but super effective tool: storytelling.
Why does storytelling work?
Because stories are more memorable. Because stories are more familiar to people. Because stories are an effective way of making an emotional connection with the buyer.
There are as many ways of telling a story. The classic hero’s journey is one effective approach. Pixar’s approach to storytelling, as Daniel Pink discussed at this year’s INBOUND conference, is another structure to possibly follow. At the very least, you need a protagonist (your customer, not you), a struggle and a happy ending.
3. Go “modular.”
In a 2015 study on B2B buying, research and advisory firm SiriusDecisions found that companies need case studies that cover a wide range of examples.
The company recommends preparing “multiple examples across industries” that are aligned to “both the buying cycle and internal sales process.”
Added the company, “Delivering these stories to the sales force in this modular way eliminates the sales guesswork involved in choosing the right stories to tell. That way, your reps spend more time focusing on delivering the sales presentation and less time finding and creating content for it.”
When it comes to accelerating sales, effective case studies are one of the best tools available to your sales team. Follow the tips above to make sure that you’re maximizing the value you get out of your case studies. It’s also critical to iterate and evolve your approach to storytelling in your case studies. That’s why it’s critical to gather data to determine the effectiveness of your case studies. Working on constantly improving the quality of your case studies is a necessary step to keeping them relevant and useful for your buyers.