How To Get The Best From a Freelance B2B Case Study Writer
Video 02: About Case Studies
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An edited transcript of the conversation is provided below.
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Video 02: Edited Transcript
We’re going to talk first about case studies.
How does a company know that it needs a case study anyway?
I’ve prepared three specific replies to this question.
The first one is when prospects or sales executives start asking for customer references.
This is a big thing for people who are going to spend hundreds of thousands, or millions of dollars. They’re looking for social proof. They want to know that other people have faced similar problems and your company has helped them.
And case studies can help communicate that idea.
The second thing is, “tell don’t sell.”
It’s a bit of a cliche but that type of marketing is more important than ever because the internet has made it easier for prospects to do their own background research on vendor solutions, without any need to contact the(ir) sales staff.
I do this myself. I can research any technology company and they will not even know that i’m doing it. There’s so much available online.
And case studies can also be found online.
Number three is when you’re tendering for business.
If you’re tendering for a big WAN communications project you often you have to go through a formal RFP and RFI process.
This can be used to weed out the weak contenders.
That’s because one of the things on the checklist for the RFP, or the RFI, is not having case studies, or not having white papers.
If you don’t have them it suggests that:
a) you’re not a major player.
b) You don’t have customers you can refer to or,
c) you’re not prepared to talk about them.
And these failings can count against you in the review process.
Mark, I think we should talk a little bit more about social proof because it’s not just something that’s done in a business setting. We, as consumers, are always looking to see if another customer has been satisfied with a product, whether we’re looking at a book on Amazon, or planning to buy a car.
We’re going to check if other people have reviewed the product and if they found it positive or negative, and that’s going to influence us. So, I think that even on individual day-to-day examples we’ll see how people are influenced by stories of others making successful purchases.
That’s a good point, Pamela. There’s b2b marketing research showing that case studies can be particularly useful as a prospect gets closer to the buying end of the sales cycle, where they’re about to make a decision.
And while having case studies may not make the sale, they can help someone to close it.
Sometimes that’s a champion of your particular solution within the prospect’s business. And sometimes it’s your own sales person.
So, I think it’s a very important part of the sales cycle.
Right, right. You need case studies when your competition has them, and you don’t.
Sometimes we hear people use the terms “case studies” and “customer success stories” (or just success stories) interchangeably.
What do you think, Pamela, is there a difference between these terms?
I think they’re used interchangeably. I think some companies do make the distinction between a success story and a case study. Typically, meaning that a success story is a shorter document than a case study.
A case study’s usually two to three pages long.
I’ve also seen some things called case studies that are one paragraph long.
So, it’s important when you’re talking with your case study writer, that you’re very clear on the type of document and the in-depth quality that you’re looking for – because that will affect everything from their quote to you, to the length of time that they’re going to need, as well as the information that you’re going to get back.
Yes Pamela, it’s easy to think that the writer understands the terms the same way you do but that’s not always the case. You should check with any proposed writers what is their definition of a case study, or (of) a success story.
And if they’re competent they should be asking you anyway.
They should be nailing down what is that you want.
Do you want a one page web summary?
Do you want a two-page success story?
A four-page, in-depth technical case study?
These requirements influence the price, obviously. But (they) also affect what you’re trying to use the document for, and who you’re aiming it at.
You need to be on first base with the writer before you go forward.
How do you determine the kind of case study that you need?
Can you give us a little bit more information about that?
Sure. Well, for example, it might be (that) if you are trying to close the sale, you might need a relatively short case study targeted at busy senior executives.
They may not have time to read a lot of in-depth stats.
They want to know who is the customer, where are they in the marketplace, and what were people from that customer saying about your product or solution.
Whereas, if you’re aiming at some of the technical influencers inside a company, then your case study will probably need more statistical detail to back up your assertions.
Because tech people do look for numbers.
You may have heard of the phrase,”marketing fluff”? It’s just a fact of life that technical folks are biased towards data and they will often ‘tune out’ success stories that don’t have some type of numerical or quantitative view of what the customer was doing.
Right. Good. OK. Right, where’s that taken us to? I guess we’re into the ‘writer experience’ topic now.
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