Sharing Winning B2B Customer Stories: How to Showcase an Effective Case Study Case studies can be gamechangers for any B2B marketing strategy. Here's why you should use them and how to conduct a proper one.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
While it's been established that B2B businesses often benefit from content marketing, one type of content leads the way to more credibility (and conversion): case studies. In general terms, a case study is a winning customer story that you can use to win more customers.
Since case studies demonstrate your expertise to your target audience and demonstrate expertise in a relatable and straightforward way, it's no surprise they perform so well. They supply your audience with relevant information on how your business has previously (and successfully) achieved results in the past, helping you attract more customers simultaneously.
From entrepreneurs to businesses with larger marketing departments, writing case studies can be a long process since the research needs to be on-point. However, with the right approach and skillset, any marketing savvy business professional can learn how to write a case study that inspires trust — and conversions.
Read on if you're looking to learn the following takeaways to help you share a compelling story on why more customers should do business with you:
- Learn what precisely a B2B case study is and why you should put effort into writing them.
- See relevant case study examples.
- Understand best practices on how to structure your case study with a template.
- Gain expertise on interviewing best practices to gather suitable source material.
- Discover the questions you shouldn't forget to ask.
With these expert tips, you'll have a foolproof structure to prepare the successful foundation for your B2B case studies.
What is a B2B case study?
Simply put, it's a detailed description of how a business could solve a challenge for its customers. It involves the unique solutions your business can provide and how the customers benefit from them.
Ideally, they describe, compare, evaluate and understand different problems a customer can face and show, step by step, how your business solves that issue successfully.
The main difference between them and other types of content? Case studies use actual data and rely on real success stories that boost your business' trust levels.
That is not the only reason you should write them, though.
3 reasons to write case studies
What B2B business wouldn't love to create content that increases lead generation and credibility? Luckily, case studies can do that and much more:
- They show your (niche) expertise. Case studies target a specific problem and show how your business delivers solutions — all backed by data and, ideally, complete with testimonials.
- They position your business as an authority. Because case studies are real stories, they demonstrate how your business delivered its promise. The more relevant the customers, the more authority they showcase.
- They describe why and how your business delivers. Detailed and thorough, a B2B case study goes beyond a business claim: It tells how and why a problem can be solved by your business (and your business only).
Overall, the perfect case study answers the leads' questions, delivering social proof and providing a valuable connection between marketing and sales. On top of that, they're easy to repurpose and even easier to redistribute.
Recommended B2B case study template
A simple template is all you need to get your case studies started. From my experience, the following six-point structure works best:
- A title that includes a main data point & brand. For example, "Increased traffic by 200% for a SaaS technology startup." This helps your customer understand what you can deliver and if it relates to them.
- A quick overview of the case study. I do that by describing the product, target audiences, company and task that the case study is about.
Expert tip: You don't necessarily need to name the company (but make sure to ask for authorization if you do). You can simply describe it (e.g. "Increased traffic by 200% for a SaaS technology startup").
- Challenge description. Overview of the task/problems faced. This is why your customer should come to you.
- Process description. Overview of what was delivered. This is how you solved the problem.
- Results overview. Isn't this what your target audience is dying to see? Showcase the data around your delivery — and don't forget to include a timeframe.
Expert tip: These descriptions can be concise or in-depth. Ideally, a case study should tell how your business solves problems but without spilling your industry's secrets: both a window to showcase know-how and sell. In a nutshell, it's a story of your success.
- Testimonial. No case study is complete without a testimonial. Use a quote from a decision-maker — anonymous or not.
And the expert tip around gathering relevant data and relevant testimonials? A well-done interview.
How to interview successfully for a quality case study
To get the correct information, you have to ask the right questions — this is, after all, the foundation of your case study. Try to:
- Use open-ended questions.
- Get their view on the problem before your business arrived and what motivated them to select you.
- Ask about the details of the process.
- Request data and metrics to use as social proof.
The quality of your questions is critical for the quality of your content. Your customers are busy — be direct and don't waste their time.
Interviews should last from 30 to 60 minutes. It's also good to start the conversation with warm-up questions. Understand that many people will be uncomfortable being interviewed, and it's the interviewer's job to make that person feel comfortable and understand the purpose behind the interview. Once explained, the interview can proceed more naturally.
6 important questions to include in your B2B case study
- What is your position at your company?
- What services or products does your company provide?
- Why did you approach our company?
- What were the three needs that you wanted to solve?
- Why did you choose our company over another?
- What surprised you about the end results?
You can also find more interview questions online, but these are the fundamental ones.
A great case study inspires credibility and generates more leads. It's a gamechanger in any B2B content marketing strategy and bring together marketing and sales expertise, delivering great insights internally and externally.
Ready to give them a try?