Don't waste your case studies - 12+ uses for customer success stories
Updated: Aug 23
When success is more than proof - it’s the essence and very fabric of your buyer!
Case studies are multi-purpose; they are invaluable tools as part of your business MarComs kit - beyond sales or marketing - they give you the insight to your customers' purchasing decisions, motivations, ambitions and the future of your business.
Too often a case study reads like a pat on the back for your product/services, but this is not enough in today's buying world. If you state you're customer-centric, then it's time to get the bottom of what makes your customer tick, why they chose you, and why they're still with you.
Forget the age old: Problem, Solution, Result - this rarely allows prospects to connect with your product, sure - it is better than nothing, but today it's about the narrative: what does your solution do for me!
A really good case study will last, beyond the lifetime of your customer - and a can be multi-purpose. Having thorough insights on your customer will allow you to use it throughout your business and sales cycle:
1. Sales: your team can use it as a reference point, demonstrate the success stories and add context to the sales process
2. Customer service: help educate your support team on how successful clients have used your solution to provide insightful guidance
3. Tech team: help inform your developers on why the solution is useful and how it helps them, the key features and functionality
4. Presentations: Add real-life accounts of profitable business, telling an anecdote representative of the audience you are talking to
5. Blogs: Intertwine industry know-how with points of views and experiences, quoting your customers
6. Social media: Profile your customers' achievements of their entire ecosystem and not just your product, celebrate with them
7. Videos: Get clients to be a story in your video library to add more dimensions to your marketing
8. PR: Spin the success story, get buy-in from your client and distribute it from the media - just a mere mention of your solution will help you gain brand awareness, plus it acts as a proof point - the reason you exist!
9. Content: Include data, anecdotes, quotes in your ebooks, and whitepapers
10. Reports: Develop insightful studies on user application with supportive guides on analysing results while identifying industry trends
11. Marketing: Include in your newsletters, email marketing, banner advertising
12. Brand ambassadors: turn these customers into reference points who speak on behalf of your business to add more credibility and authenticity to your brand
So time to get to the bottom of it - how do you create amazing customer success stories?
It's important to develop strong relationships with the customers, ensure that you keep in contact and make them feel part of your team - providing additional value to help them succeed.
It's also important, that when you take the case study, you delve as deep as you can.
Aspects required for a good case study:
Focus on the customer's problems: where were they before they started using your solution (as part of the sales process try to log this on your CRM before they even start using it as a reference point later on). What were their objectives? Why did they turn to a solution like yours? What were they hoping to achieve? In what timeframe?
The role your product and service plays within wider operations: remember, you're one part of their daily operations - so how does your solution fit in and how does it complement all their other activities? How has it helped improve and contribute to overall business efficiency or results? Also ask the challenges - not everything is rosy, be open and ask for the negatives.
The specific benefits /results/ opportunities your product/service has delivered to overall business aims: try to assess any data of the clients systems before you speak to them, or ask them to share the data - analyse this with them so you understand what are their KPIs. Find out how they achieved this, what techniques - treat them as the experts.
Evidence: consolidate the data and reports and try to get an idea of ROI, work with them to log data regularly so that you maybe able to use this. Help them prove to their seniors how good they are at their job
Experience: What's been their own personal story? How did the relationship between you and them all come about? What brought them to you in the first place? How was the experience of the sales, onboarding and ongoing service? What could be improved?
The star of the case study is your contact; how has it changed their business life? How has it improved their own personal opportunities, their career or their skills? How do they feel now?
How to take a good case study:
Before you speak to your customer, you need to be well prepared - do your research and have questions in front of you;
Understand the product they have used, how they have used it and the results you have seen them gain
Understand the customer, the challenges, what they hoped to achieve and business objectives
Understand the decision-making process, how your services came to mind and purchase
The journey to utilising the service: what's the onboarding process, who was their customer support manager/sales manager - speak to them first
The changes and impact it had on their business
The current state of play: how are things? Did they meet expectations/objectives?
The future: what will they do next?
How to present your case study:
1. Know the audience: who is it intended for, make sure your case study is of a similar position/ background/ type of business. Use the right language
2. Know what will make them interested in the story: what space are you sharing the case study, at what point in the sales cycle - what will be the key points you need to iterate?
3. Keep it short, sweet
4. Allow your customer to speak where possible: get them to present their own findings in webinars, workshops, presentations, conferences - the more they are the ones talking the stronger your success story
It takes practice to interview a customer to get enough information to build a fantastic resource of content that you can use and repurpose for all your marketing needs.
Sometimes, you may need to revisit the customer and collect more information - which is why a great relationship is important.
With customers that are a strong brand in the market, use their success wisely - it really can create some amazing brand awareness for you through a well-crafted PR Media campaign.
Good luck - and if you need some help building a portfolio of case studies for your products and different buyers, get in contact firstname.lastname@example.org