11 Essential Ingredients in a B2B Case Study

Case studies are one of the most powerful B2B marketing tools, as they give potential customers proof that your products or services deliver results. 

They’re not optional. 

At some point, your prospects will ask you for them.

In fact, 54% of B2B buyers engage with case studies during their buying process and 98% feel that it’s important to see them on vendor websites. 

The more compelling case studies you have, the more you can engage skeptical prospects and shorten your sales cycles. A well-written case study can capture a buyer’s interest and motivate them to reach out to you sooner. 

Here are 11 essential ingredients to include in your next case study (if you want it to engage leads and convert them into customers):

1. A compelling title

A strong title will motivate leads to read your case study, so it’s worth spending a lot of time crafting one. In general, a case study title should include the following:

  • The name of your customer. A recognizable name will catch readers’ attention.
  • A huge benefit that your customer achieved. Ideally, this benefit should be something that your ideal readers also want to achieve. 
  • A success metric. Include a numeral, dollar amount, or percentage that indicates your customer’s success. 

2. A summary

No matter how much effort you put into your case study, some leads are only going to look at its first page. Give them a quick overview of what’s to come in the rest of the story. That way, even if they chose not to read more, they will learn how you helped your customer.

The summary should include one sentence or a few short bullet points about each of the following: 

  • Your customer’s challenge
  • Your solution
  • The results your customer achieved 

3. About your customer

Include a few sentences about who your customer is and what they do. I recommend pulling this content from your customer’s About Us page. That way, you will speak about your customer in the language they use (and are likely to approve when they see the final case study). 

However, you may want a case study that positions a specific person as the hero. In this instance, you can talk about what your hero does in their role and why they love what they do. 

4. The challenges

Address the pains that your customer experienced before they started working with you. Here are some questions to answer in this section: 

  • What challenges did your customer face?
  • How did these problems negatively impact your customer’s business? 
  • Did your customer take any steps to solve these challenges on their own? If so, why didn’t their efforts work? 
  • Did your customer try partnering with one of your competitors? If so, why did they seek a new solution? 

5. The discovery

Discuss how your customer found you and why they chose you over other options. What specific aspects of your product or service motivated them to partner with you? 

This section should include a quote from your customer that speaks to your differentiators. After all, no one can talk you up better than your happy customers.

Depending on how much info you want to include, you can create a separate Discovery section or combine it with the Solution section discussed below.

6. The solution

Describe what it was like for your customer to implement your product or service. Here are some questions that you can use as prompts when crafting this section: 

  • Which of your products or services did the customer purchase?
  • How are people throughout their company using your solution?
  • How long did it take them to get up and running?
  • Did they require employee or user training?
  • How did they like working with your support and implementation teams? 
  • Did they have any problems while getting up and running? If so, how quickly did your team resolve them?

7. The results

The results section is the most important part of your case study, as it gives readers tangible proof of the value that you offer. 

Ask your customer if they have success metrics that you can share, such as:

  • Percentage increases in revenue or productivity
  • Dollar amounts of increased sales or pipeline
  • Numbers related to time savings 

Success metrics lend credibility to your case studies and are great for catching readers’ attention. However, not every customer will give you this information. For example, if you sell an IT security product, your customer likely can’t share how many intrusion events they had before and after they purchased it, as making this information public could put their company at risk. 

If your customer doesn’t have success metrics, be sure to include quotes that speak to the results they feel they’ve achieved. 

8. Future plans

Does your customer have any plans to expand how they use your product or service? For example, will they roll it out to different teams or locations? Are they going to purchase more solutions from you so that they can achieve greater results?

9. Best practices

A list of best practices isn’t required in a case study. However, your customer’s tips and recommendations will add value when you repurpose your success stories into top-of-funnel content, such as blog posts.  

When you interview your customer, listen for any comments that you can turn into best practices for others who are considering your products or services. Your customer may say, “One reason we chose you was because of your unlimited free training.” So, the best practice is, “Look for a vendor who provides free training to ensure that every user is comfortable with your new solution.”  

Here are some ways you can use your customer’s best practices in other content: 

  • 3 ways to drive more value from your investment in X
  • 5 things to look for in an X solution
  • 3 questions you need to ask before you implement X
  • 5 steps to take when you implement X

10. Customer quotes

If you publish a case study that doesn’t include customer quotes, readers may think that you made up the story. Be sure to include plenty of quotes from your customer, along with their full name, role, and company name.

If you can’t get this information, you may want to approach a different customer for a case study.

11. A call to action

Many of the people who read your case studies are making final decisions about which vendor to select. In fact, 40 percent of B2B marketers said that case studies are the #1 type of content for converting late-stage leads.

Don’t miss an opportunity to engage these leads. Include a call to action at the end of every case study that makes it easy for them to take the next step. For example, you can link directly to your free trial page or a page where they can learn more about your solution.  

Next Steps

Including the above-mentioned items in your case study will provide you with a full story that covers everything – from the challenges a customer faced before they started working with you to the results that you helped them achieve. Once you have this information, you can repurpose your B2B case study  into a variety of formats to reach a wider audience and drive more value from your investment.

Get Your FREE Case Study Planning Checklist: A step-by-step roadmap that will keep your case study project on track.

Share on Social Media

Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on email
Email

Recent Posts