Even natural salespeople don't easily convert skeptics into believers. Especially today, when your customers have more information than ever before, they are more suspicious of salespeople (and sales tactics in general) than ever. What if your salespeople got some help from your customers? There’s a reason case studies (aka customer success stories) are one of the top three marketing strategies for B2B businesses: Case studies are the medium through which your satisfied customers tell other potential customers why they should buy from you . It conveys credibility. It's unpretentious -- straight to the point: your product or service is proven, and readers should seriously consider buying it. When done right, it can be compelling and highly targeted. Why are case studies so effective? You can't just tell people to trust you. You have to give them a reason to trust you . It's just human nature at work. However, in the B2B space, and for higher value products in general, you not only need to earn the trust of your customers, you must also demonstrate your ability to deliver. No one will buy your $2,000-a-month software out of hope and prayer. Case studies convey to readers your track record of successful problem solving. It reveals the positive impact you are making...and it does so through a story .
The human brain retains and remembers better time-delivered information in a story format . Think about how this applies to your product. You and your sales team can tell potential customers about these features and benefits before the cows go home. They go in one ear and come out the other. But tell a story about how these features and benefits are changing your customers' lives, and you'll grab their attention and create a connection . See how OptinMonster tells the story of online education company Crush Empire's massive sales growth. How case studies can benefit your business - no matter what industry you're in Some say that social proof is born when e-commerce becomes part of our daily lives. I disagree. Think back to industry mailing list childhood. Before you do your research online before buying. What makes you want to beg your parents for something? TV advertisement? Maybe. More likely, though, you want something because your friends have it and love it. That toy, that scooter, that pair of Converse All-Star sneakers—you begged your parents to buy that thing for you because your friend said it was cool. That's social proof in action. In the mature world of B2B marketing, case studies are powerful social proof . Not only does it tell the story of how customers benefit from your product, but it gives you the opportunity to share product details in the story . Master case study authors weave features and benefits into narratives— and it works .
A whopping 78% of B2B buyers use case studies when researching purchases, and a recent LinkedIn Technology Marketing Group study found that case studies hold the No. 1 spot as the most effective content format for B2B marketers. What is another benefit of case studies? Readers expect calls to action . Someone who is motivated enough to solve a problem wants to read case studies of how others have solved the same problem - this person will also be more motivated to seek more information. They hope to have information on how to take the next steps by the end of the case study . In the realm of content types, case studies are one of the most direct sales paths. See how Fractl handles this in their case study on... their own! I like this example because it further enhances trust by revealing to readers that companies follow their own advice to great effect. When do case studies work best? It should be obvious by now that case studies are powerful bottom-funnel assets. Most readers of a case study are familiar enough with their problem and motivated enough to solve it that they are very close to initiating a solution. Your case study might just be the last bit of encouragement they need to hit the buy button on your product. But, believe it or not, case studies can be useful in understanding early stages as well .
By their very nature, case studies are very effective for keywords and audience-specific copy to help your target audience find you organically (such as in search engines, or even through social media - so make sure you include your case study) Publish as a web page or blog post other than PDF and include an eye-catching headline!). This allows them to effectively grab the attention of customers at the very top of the sales funnel. Case studies can also help someone in the solution awareness stage understand why your solution is the best. Briefly mention some other solutions in the case study that the customer explored or tried to end up using your product to solve their problem. Here's a solid example from Apptio -- the end result of saving HP Enterprise $330 million is also impressive. Reinforced case study formula The standard case study formula is 5 simple parts: Client/Client/Relationship Background challenge solution result call to action This is a standard formula for a reason: it works. However, you can make it better for your business with a few tweaks. 1. Make it an interesting story Don't just chatter about the details of how things are going. Make up a story around it. This is a great example of Showcase Workshop.