This past week, I sat in on a webinar entitled, “How to Engage and Sell Today’s Corporate Research Buyer,” hosted by GreenBook. It was the presentation of data collected by GreenBook, Collaborata and David Harris. In it, a lot of really good information was presented, but one of the recurring themes – directly stated by the buyers themselves – was the value of ‘case studies’ and their role in the buying decision.
Some content – eBooks and checklists, for example – are used to generate interest and awareness… to get prospects into the “top of the funnel.”
Other content – for the middle of the funnel – is used to educate and inform (and showcase your Subject Matter Expertise). Think webinars, blog posts and infographics.
But at the bottom of the funnel – at decision time – your prospective buyer wants proof. Proof that you can do what you say you can do… and that’s where case studies come in to play.
If you haven’t produced case studies before, follow this proven, 4-part format:
Client: With permission, include the name of the client; without it, describe the company (e.g. “an international producer of children’s wear located the Southwest US”).
Problem/Challenge: Describe your client’s issue… the problem they were having that your firm was hired to solve.
Recommendations/What you did: Outline and describe your work with them. That is, what you recommended to help them solve their problem. Don’t sell… make it factual – focus on process and methodology.
Results: Describe the outcome of your work with them. Avoid the platitudes (“the client loved it!”) and focus on the measurable, tangible results. For example:
- Dollars saved
- Time saved
- Increase in revenue/market share
- Improvement is response rates
- Reduction in time to market
- Etc., Etc.
Remember, your sales prospect wants proof… so give it to them.
Tips & Tricks
Here are a few tips & tricks to consider as you develop your case studies…
- Double-check the data, not only for accuracy, but to ensure you’re not sharing anything overly sensitive.
- Use minimalist design when handing out case studies or making them downloadable from your website. They are meant to be (and look) a little academic or technical – not “fancy” marketing pieces.
- Even the ‘anonymous’ case studies have value. The reality is that you’ll talk about the ‘real’ details in 1-on-1 conversations with your prospects.
- More is better. Having 2 case studies on your website is fine. Having 20 is really impressive!
- Create two versions of a case study… one that’s ‘generic’ and one that’s specific to the industry/market segment where the work was done. The generic one can be used as a general sales tool. The specific one can be shared with sales prospects from those same industries or segments.
- Case studies don’t have to be just stand-alone documents. For example, blog posts can be written as case studies… case studies can be embedded in eBooks… or even edited down into “case-lets” and used in other marketing materials.
Case studies are some of the easiest marketing content pieces to develop – and yet, they are among the most impactful. So, sit down right now… think back over the past couple of years… and start outlining a few case studies from your most successful and interesting projects.
If you’d like some help creating your first case studies, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you’d like more information about purchasing GreenBook’s full study on corporate research buyers, Click Here.