Using Case Studies Effectively in the Sales Process

Last week we talked about how to write a case study based on a current or former customer of your company. We also touched briefly on why case studies can be an important tool to help your sales representatives be successful. In this post, we’ll talk about how you can use the case study you’ve written (and others you will hopefully write in the future) to draw in customers in a variety of ways.

Case studies serve as concrete examples of how your product or service helps your customers. They are the ultimate in “benefits over features,” because they are entirely focused on a customer’s need or problem and how you have solved it.

An Important Tool

Case studies are an important part of the sales process for several reasons. They build trust in your brand, because they provide proof that other companies have used your product or service, and been happy with the results. They also provide an important opportunity to help your prospects imagine themselves using your product or service. The closer of a match you can get between the customer in your case study and your prospect, the better your odds are of getting that prospect to become a customer too. That’s why it’s important to identify as many subsets of your customer base as possible, and try to eventually have a case study available for each one. Intelligently targeting your case studies will dramatically increase their effectiveness.

Information

Case studies can be used in several ways, and at several points during the sales cycle. For customers who are in the information gathering stage, case studies displayed on your website provide an important glimpse into how your product or service works and what they can expect to gain from it. Examples can be one of the most effective ways to convey information about your product or service in a way that is easily digestible for the prospect.

Lead Collection

Another way to use case studies on your website is to collect leads. Requiring that a prospect fill out a form with basic contact information before being able to download a case study can help you generate targeted leads from your website. It is important to consider your customer demograph, and whether they would be willing to give this type of information in exchange for access to a case study. One of the benefits to this strategy is that you will be able to gauge from which case study a prospect downloaded where his or her interest lies, and how your sales representatives might be best able to engage him or her.

Closing in on the Deal

Finally, case studies can be used effectively at a much later stage of the sales cycle as well. It is worth printing them out for your sales representatives to carry with them, along with whatever other sales collateral they have. A prospective customer who is interested in buying, but having trouble conceptualizing exactly how your product or service will fill his or her needs might be helped by reading a case study about company with similar needs, and how you filled those needs. Even if your sales representatives don’t have a case study to exactly match every situation, a more generic case study is still valuable, because it builds trust and confidence in your brand.

Try it out! Give your new case study to your sales team with instructions on how they might be able to incorporate it into the sales cycle. But also encourage them to think about other ways they could use it. Have them report back at a later meeting and let you know how they used it, and then incorporate the most successful case study strategies into consistent use as a team.

For more help with concrete strategies that improve sales performance, contact Netpique today!