Case studies are one of the most powerful B2B marketing and sales tools. Here’s how to create case studies that resonate with prospects and motivate them to say, “Yes!” to your product.
Today’s B2B buyers are tired of being sold to all of the time.
They’re bombarded with advertising and can’t go a day without getting sales calls. One SpiceWorks’ IT pro said that he doesn’t answer his phone after downloading white papers, as he would rather miss all of his calls than speak with a sales rep.
If your customers are going out of their way to avoid you, how do you get through to them?
One way to cut through the clutter is to tell your story in your customers’ voice, not your sales voice.
Instead of taking sales calls, B2B buyers are conducting their own research online. The key things they look for are peer reviews, testimonials and case studies. In fact, DemandGen found that 73% of B2B buyers have used case studies to make a purchasing decision in the last 12 months.
This means that publishing customer success stories should be one of your top marketing objectives. The more compelling case studies you have, the more you can engage skeptical prospects and shorten your sales cycles.
Adding more case studies and testimonials to your website can even boost your conversions. WikiJobs increased its conversions by 34% simply by displaying testimonials prominently on a web page.
Here are five ways you can develop compelling case studies that engage B2B prospects and help you drive sales:
1. Tell the story from your customers’ perspective, not your perspective.
One of the biggest mistakes that I see with case studies is when sales reps write them from their perspective and leave the customer out of the story. It can be tempting to do this, especially if you can’t find enough customers to feature in case studies. However, these “customer stories” are usually loaded with sales speak and don’t contain useful information that would appeal to a prospect. B2B buyers want to hear your customers’ stories in their words – not yours.
2. Include quotes from your customer.
When you’re developing case studies, it can be hard to get quotes from your busy customers. So, you may be tempted to leave out the quotes, just so you can make a deadline.
Please, take this oath:
“I solemnly swear never to publish a case study without quotes from my customer. If I break this promise, my marketing won’t be credible and a unicorn will die.”
When you take the time to chat with your customer, you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised by the great things they say. If you have a hard time scheduling interviews, try using scheduling software that allows your customers to pick the best time that works for them. Also be sure that your scheduling software emails and/or texts them a reminder before the call.
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15 of the Exact Questions I Use to Write Case Studies That Help Turn Leads Into Customers.
3. Don’t include too much information.
While you may find every detail about how you helped someone fascinating, your prospects may not. If you publish your case studies online, you can use eye tracking software and analytics tools to see what people are reading and where they are nodding off.
Your case studies should focus on a few key points – the points that will resonate the most with your target audience. Leave the rest of the details out. A good recommendation is to keep the case study under four pages.
4. Format the case study for easy reading.
You put a lot of effort into collecting customer success stories. Don’t make the mistake of formatting these stories so they’re impossible to read.
For example, long paragraphs and tiny fonts will turn off a lot of readers. Use sub-headers, bullets, images and bold text to make your case study easier to scan. Also be aware of how your case study reads on mobile devices. Is it easy for readers to quickly locate your key messages?
5. Repurpose your case study for different channels.
It takes time to get approvals from your customers and your senior-level staff for case studies. When you get approvals from your customers, be sure to ask for permission to reuse their quotes across your other marketing materials.
This will make it easier to repurpose your case studies in different formats. For example, you can turn your case study into SlideShare presentations, blog posts and webinar content. You can also place the customer quotes throughout your website, emails and sales materials.
B2B buyers rely on case studies to make informed buying decisions. It’s important to keep your case studies up to date, so you’ll always have the right story for the right buyer. For example, you should create studies whenever you launch a new product, break into a new market or go after a different vertical.
Learn how my case study writing services can help you build your arsenal of customer success stories, so you can influence more prospects, shorten your sales cycles and boost revenue.
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