Winning business with case studies

Jan 11, 2018Sheri Johnson

Inbound Marketing

In virtually any B2B buyer’s journey, sometime during the consideration stage you’ll be asked to share a case study or two. Most buyers want to know how you’ve solved challenges like theirs for others. Creating compelling case studies that fit into your overall content strategy and engage your prospects requires an understanding of your buyer’s pain points and how you can apply your experiences with other clients to eliminate their pain.

Over the years, we’ve uncovered several consistent challenges our clients face when considering their marketing and sales process. Examples include: identifying or reaching the right prospects, telling their story in a relevant way and measuring the ROI of a marketing campaign or initiative, just to name a few. Because we regularly hear these same issues, we craft our case studies to address these common client problems.

Case studies are essential tools to aid you in your sales process. The most significant key to writing an effective case study is getting your client’s approval on the case study you want to write. While some clients have strict requirements about what they will share, if anything, many will sign off on a case study if the information you share is within their comfort zone.

Assuming you gain client buy in, here are some tips to help you start building a case study library designed to move buyers from the consideration stage, to the convert stage.

  • Define the goal of your case study. What problem that your prospect faces do you want to take on? What solution do you want to highlight? Are there key attributes to your approach you want to make sure stand out? Do you want to show how your strategy works across different industries? These are all questions you should consider when outlining your case study.  

  • Determine your audience. While you’ve probably used personas to characterize your various target audiences, now is the time to really drill down on who you can target with your case study. Are there prospects in your funnel with a high lead score that would benefit from this specific content? How many? Focus on case study opportunities that offer the greatest relevance to specific leads in your funnel.

  • Build your story. Making your content compelling to those specific leads requires you to offer specific information in your case study that paints a picture of how you can help them. A simple but effective framework is to outline the problem, lay out your solution, and emphasize the ROI. Whenever possible, name the client you helped and add data to backup your story. If you think of it as a story, your case study will include three important elements: conflict, resolution, and a happy ending.

Once you’ve defined your story, you’ll need to choose how you present your case study. Again, it’s important to consider what will resonate with your prospects, and what provides the most flexibility to your marketing and sales team. We recommend offering it in a variety of areas and formats. For example, you might craft an abbreviated version for your website, like this. In addition, you might build a version your sales team can drop into a presentation deck and write a long and detailed version to use as a LinkedIn article. The key is leveraging your content and disseminating across a variety of channels so your target audience sees it whether they are online or meeting with you in person, and it moves them one step closer to purchasing your products or services.

Have more questions about writing the perfect case study or inbound marketing questions? Contact us today.