Case studies are one of the most persuasive items you can include in your sales toolbox. In the B2B marketplace, a compelling case study can do more to sway potential customers than a page full of testimonials. That’s because people enjoy reading stories and often visualize themselves in the role of your happy customer. However, many B2B marketers put off developing case studies. I suspect many don’t have the time to schedule and conduct interviews with their customers. Below are 5 tips on how to get amazing customer interviews:
1. Use scheduling software – Scheduling interviews by email can be complicated, as you may exchange up to 10 messages before you find a time that works for both of you. If you conduct lots of interviews or client calls, you may want to try scheduling software. I use TimeTrade, which allows me to set blocks of time when I’m available. I then email interviewees a link to my calendar, and they select a time that works for them. The software automatically updates both of our calendars.
2. Ask for permission to record the interview – Recording a phone interview will save you lots of typing time and ensure that you don’t miss any key points. You can attach a recording device to your phone – just be sure this is legal in your area. Another option is to use an online transcription service to record the call and provide you with a transcript. Remember to always tell interviewees that you will be recording the call.
3. Guide interviewees through the story – During your interview, you should draw out your customer’s story. Here are some key things to look for:
- The problem they were having before they tried your product or service. How was this problem affecting their organization in terms of time, productivity, sales or another area?
- The other solutions they tried before they purchased your product or service – and why those solutions didn’t work.
- How they heard about you and why they decided to go with your product or service. Did another customer refer them to you? Did they have an amazing experience with one of your sales reps?
- How they implemented your product or service.
- The results they achieved after using your product or service. You should try to get some numbers here, like “Using your e-commerce software increased our online sales by 27%.”
4. Ask open-ended questions – Avoid questions that elicit “yes” or “no” answers, as they won’t give you enough information to write a compelling case study. Don’t ask, “Would you recommend our product to others?” Instead, ask, “Why would you recommend our product to others?” or “Who else do you think would benefit from using our product?” The answers to these questions will be much more interesting.
5. Prod for more information – Sometimes, an interviewee may not feel like talking. You may ask open-ended questions but find your interviewee doesn’t have much to say. If this happens, you can restate the question. You can also prod for more information by asking questions like:
- “How so?”
- “How exactly did that benefit you?”
- “Can you please tell me more?”
After you interview customers, you’ll need to get their approval to use their comments in your case study. If your company doesn’t have a policy for this, you can send customers a draft of the case study, along with a brief waiver to sign. If you need the copy approved quickly, put the waiver in the body of an email and ask customers to e-sign it. People tend to sign off on things faster if they don’t need to print out a document and mail or fax it back to you.
Do You Need Assistance Developing Compelling Case Studies?
If you read the above article and thought, “Sounds great, but I still don’t have the time to do all this,” we should talk. My case study development packages can help you get the powerful endorsements you need to turn more prospects into customers. Your package can include detailed customer interviews, full transcripts of the interviews, a 2 – 3 page success story, and a summary that you can use as a teaser. You can click here to view some of my success stories. If you’d like to learn more about how I can help you develop case studies or other marketing collateral that can win you business and enhance your reputation, contact me at 647-342-4921 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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