Via Giacomo Saudino, 36

10015 Ivrea, Italy

Email

info@copyengineer.com

(+39) 334 855 0474.   |   info@copyengineer.com

Privacy Policy

5 Ways Sales Teams Leverage Case Studies

by | Aug 18, 2015 | Collateral, Case Studies, Technology Marketing, Content Marketing | 0 comments

If there’s one form of marketing collateral salespeople can’t get enough of, it’s case studies.

Sales trainer, Jill Konrath, author of Selling to Big Companies, puts case studies at the very top of her account entry collateral list. And when marketers hire me to write case studies for them, they often say it’s their sales folks who’ve been bugging them to get the story written down.

For salespeople, case studies, or customer success stories, are more than just leave-behinds. They’re essential tools for understanding, supporting and building relationships with customers. So it’s important that marketers understand how their sales counterparts use case studies, and to provide the kinds of case studies they need.

Let’s look at five ways salespeople use case studies, and how marketers can help them do so more effectively…

1. Training Sales Staff

Before new sales reps can sell your products and services to others, they themselves need to be sold. They need to understand the real value your solutions offer customers. In other words, they must truly believe in what they’re selling.

Case studies are ideal for instilling belief. By showing how real customers solved real problems using your solutions, case studies provide potent ammunition your salespeople can use in conversations and presentations. And they supply that ammunition in a form customers can readily relate to and remember.

Marketers can support this training effort by providing a broad portfolio of customer stories covering your company’s full range of products, services, features and market segments. Examine your case story inventory and find the holes in your coverage. Ask your sales team to suggest and approach customers who might help you fill those holes.

By continuously working to fill the gaps in your case study array, you help your sales staff train new reps to address every possible customer need.

2. Opening Doors

Today’s B2B sales prospects are bombarded daily by so many sales calls and emails, they’re practically numb to it all. It takes something truly outstanding to get their attention.

To make matters worse, most don’t even answer their phones. They let calls run directly to voicemail to avoid constant disturbance. This makes it especially hard these days for sales reps to get a foot in the door.

Case studies can help here, as well.

Customer success statistics make powerful conversation starters for salespeople trying to open new accounts. Succinct and highly relevant to the selected prospect, small data points taken from your case studies make ideal drop-ins for phone calls, voicemail messages, emails and letters. They pique prospects’ curiosity. Make them wonder how they might achieve similar results for their own organization.

Here’s an example voicemail, based on a model suggested by Jill Konrath:

Hi Jim, Craig Smith from Dynatest calling. I’d like to talk with you about how to reduce your wiring installation verification time. One of our customers recently slashed testing time by eighty-six percent with one of our new systems.

What’s more, the sales rep can increase the curiosity factor by dropping in additional proof points in follow-up voicemails, like this:

Hi Jim, Craig Smith from Dynatest again. The last time I called, I mentioned a customer was able to cut wiring verification time by eighty-six percent with our new system. They also saw significant savings in man-loading. In fact, they were able to reduce their verification team from seven to three, redeploy personnel, and gain additional productivity elsewhere.

The objective of the salesperson here is to supply enough relevant data that the prospect will become curious enough to consider a change to his status quo. As seen in the examples, the name of the successful customer doesn’t even have to be mentioned.

To make this strategy work, of course, the data provided must be relevant to the prospect. Sales reps will be more successful if they can quote data from customers similar to the companies they’re trying to enter. So once again, it’s important that you, the marketer, supply sales with a wide variety of case studies. But it’s equally important that your customer stories supply significant results data that sales reps can quote in their communications.

3. Educating Prospects

Once they’ve secured an appointment, salespeople need to be ready with more examples and more detailed information of customer experiences that will be relevant to the prospect.

Prospects need solid, credible information to evaluate solutions as they apply their due diligence on all candidates. They need answers to questions like:

  • How will it work in our environment?
  • Is it compatible with our existing solutions?
  • What’s involved in terms of implementation and training?
  • How much downtime will we experience during setup?

Your sales folks need to help buyers find answers to these questions by providing relevant data in their PowerPoint presentations, leave-behinds and sales proposals.

Customer case studies are ideal for providing this type of data. Plus, they reinforce your credibility by showing the prospect you have happy customers who have successfully solved problems similar to theirs, and who have achieved outstanding results.

And don’t forget, you’re competing against other vendors who are also supplying your prospect with information. Salespeople without customer stories are at a serious disadvantage in the middle to later stages of the sales process – especially if you’re selling something complex or somewhat intangible, like services – because customers need to be able to visualize exactly what it is they’re buying.

Salespeople need to listen and determine what answers their prospects need and respond with appropriate customer stories. Marketers, in turn, need to provide a range of case studies that answer as many of these customer questions as possible.

4. Providing Proof

When a customer has narrowed her short list to two or three finalists, she needs still more finely detailed, credible data to make her final decision. She needs solid proof that your solution will provide the benefits your salesperson says it will.

That means you’ll need a supply of detailed case studies that provide the right proof points.

As before, listen to your sales folks. They know your customers best, and they know the proof points those customers want. Once again, you’ll probably need a wide range of case studies for this purpose, because the proof your customers want may vary by market segment.

Also, remember that results data are often measures of improvement over baseline circumstances. So be sure to ask your sales team to try to get new customers to benchmark their existing conditions before implementation of your solution. That way, you’ll have a known basis for comparison with the results your solution delivers.

5. Up-selling and Cross-selling

Sales reps can also leverage case studies with existing accounts. A regular flow of new customer stories helps them upsell additional products, services, and add-on features to buyers who already know, like and trust you. Case studies help those happy customers justify the expense of adding to products they’re already pleased with.

Case studies are also very useful for selling elsewhere within the same firm. A case study featuring a particular department, division or location within the prospect’s own company carries added credibility since your solution has already been proven within the organization.

Naturally, for your sales team to take advantage of this second strategy, you’ll need to document the successes of some of your larger customers. Be sure to ask your sales managers for help in identifying and recruiting case study candidates from among your bigger clients.

Take-away Points

Sales teams love case studies and use them in a variety of ways including:

  1. Training new staff
  2. Opening doors to new accounts
  3. Educating prospects on the value of your solutions
  4. Providing proof during final customer validations
  5. Up-selling and cross-selling to existing clients.

The best way you, the marketer, can support your sales colleagues in these efforts is to provide them with a broad, comprehensive portfolio of case studies covering your complete range of products, services, features, and all your target markets, and to be sure those case studies include detailed results data.

Next Steps…

Need help filling out your sales support library with effective case studies? Call CopyEngineer at (+39) 011 569 4951. Or drop me an email at info@copyengineer.com.

Contact CopyEngineer

Email:

info@copyengineer.com

P.IVA:

11803010013
Get this FREE white paper:
When you subscribe to my
FREE monthly e-zine,
Technical Response.
The Professional Writers Alliance
Free Report
Not ready to talk about a new copywriting project just yet? Contact me anyway to get your FREE copy of my latest special report:

10 Common Mistakes That Kill White Paper ROI
How to Avoid Them and Generate More Leads


And don’t forget to sign up for my FREE e-zine, Technical Response. Not only will you receive tips for better content marketing and lead generation. You’ll also receive a copy of my white paper, How to Plan a White Paper: A Proven 7-Step Process for Minimizing Headaches and Maximizing ROI, absolutely FREE. Subscribe now!