Your most innovative applications and far-reaching solutions with the biggest ROI can be used aggressively to help your company reach its sales objectives.
B2G and B2B Case studies can have a measurable impact on your company’s sales pipeline. Are you leveraging them for maximum ROI? They have the potential to touch prospects in various stages. At The Borenstein Group, we come across many companies that have great past performances that never see the light of day in the form of a well-written case study, thus, failing to share with the decision makers the ‘how’ behind their success.Just like fine art, if no one sees it- your best and most valuable stories may go unappreciated, sitting at your capture manager’s share drive, unless brought to life.
Here are some ways you can make use of these powerful tools, including some new ideas for even the most seasoned marketing pros.
1. Begin with the bottom line in mind. The best case studies are the ones with the most compelling ROI. The most sophisticated technologies and innovative solutions only matter if they can impact someone’s bottom line. For commercial clients, that often means costs saved and profits increased. For government clients, the ROI may be based on strategic outcomes, better positioning for funding, compliance achievements or other objectives. Think strategically about the products or services you want to aggressively promote and ensure that the outcome is clear and compelling.
2. In general, be specific. Good case studies enable prospects to place themselves in the position of the client whose success you’ve profiled. To do this, they must be able to relate. The problem being solved should be both specific enough to tell a story, yet broad enough to appeal to a greater audience. A government buyer is going to be far more interested in how you helped a peer agency succeed than they are in how you helped a hospital. One way to accomplish this is to target your case studies to industries or market segments. But the rule of thumb is to make it easy for the prospect to put themselves in the shoes of the client. It’s basic sales. Give the buyer a reason to qualify themselves out of your solution and they’ll take it.
3. Make marketing the champion. Case studies work best when they have a marketing focus. They lose their luster when prepared by proposal departments and technical professionals. They are ultimately sales tools and must be framed in that manner. Technical professionals may provide good content, but sometimes the “so what?” question is missed. Marketing people do the best job of asking the right questions.
For example, we interviewed the customer of a client on how their flagship product helped the business. We asked the same question a few different ways before getting to the “aha!” The product was instrumental in helping the small business increase five-fold in 1½ years. This story usually won’t tell itself. It requires tact and skill in extracting it from executives and technical staff.
4. Determine the impact on the sales process. So you have dynamic studies of how you’ve dramatically improved the lives of the people who buy from you. How will you use these studies to ensure these amazing examples reach the people who haven’t bought for you, but should?
Here’s the take-a-step-back-and-look-at-the-big-picture question. What should case studies do for your company? If the prospect is unfamiliar or less familiar with your firm, should case studies be early on in their experience? Then consider adding them prominently to your homepage. Make them part of lead generation activities. Include them in materials at conferences and post-conference follow-up communications.
Case studies should certainly be part of your sales materials. But consider the presentation. Many companies use them as one-page slicks. Others use a broader brochure approach that can make a greater impact to a wider audience. This is a single piece that conveys the impression that you are immersed in a particular industry, federal agency or line of business.
5. Expand your base. These stories can also be re-purposed into press pitches by targeting specific industries or pubs that accept by-lined articles. Your greatest story with the most solid ROI and tales of innovation can be converted into abstracts for speaking proposals. Both of these are fantastic examples of reaching outside of your prospect and customer databases.
6. Let your customers speak for you. One of the smartest ways we’ve seen to extend your case studies is to utilize them as video testimonials. Get a few of your best customers and let them speak about what you did for them—on camera. Granted, this will take some out of their comfort zones, but you can make it worth their while. More and more companies are using this tool very effectively. Customers can speak more powerfully than even our best sales reps. Think about how much value you could get out of these—on your web sites, at trade shows and conferences, during sales meetings, at road shows and so many other marketing opportunities.
Not every project or sale can be converted into a show-stopping case study. But your most innovative applications and far-reaching solutions with the biggest ROI can be used aggressively to help your company reach its sales objectives. Best of luck as you tell your client success stories to the world.
If you need help extracting more value from your case studies, or need to build a new arsenal of effective past performances, Borenstein Group can help. Reach out via the web, or by phone at 703-385-8178.