Customer reference stories are a great way to show prospects what it’s like to do business with you. Landing your first customer story might be as simple as asking someone that gushed about your products if they’d like to participate. If he says yes, great. But persuading some customers might take a lot more effort, especially those that need approval from their legal team.
Do Your Homework
Before you approach your customer, do your homework: Has the company participated in case studies before? That will help smooth the path for your request. While many customers don’t post case studies they have participated in on their websites, a quick search on the customer’s name will help you find those posted on a vendor’s site. Your customer may also have posted case studies his company has written on their website, which gives you another clue as to how much they value them.
Figure Out What Motivates Your Contact
Then, have your sales rep or implementation project manager help you figure out what motivates your potential case study contact, says Casey Hibbard, author of Stories that Sell. Maybe she wants to be seen as a leader in her field or recognized internally for setting up best practices within the company. Your company’s advantage might be that she has made IT, operations or vendors’ jobs easier, and the contact benefits by showing she made a difference within the company.
Other motivators might be that the company likes to be recognized within its industry as one that sets the standard when it comes to saving the organization time and money. Or, your contact may want to increase awareness of their facility in their local area to help increase brand awareness or improve their edge in hiring. Technical teams often like to be involved in product road maps or even be beta testers while business executives love access to your company leadership or peers in the industry or to receive best practices advice, Hibbard says.
Seek Allies to Help With Legal
Some customers worry about getting the legal team’s approval for a case study. Suggest to your contact that he talk with his public relations or communication team about their desire to participate in a case. This team typically understands the value of the case study but also understands how to present your request so that it passes legal muster. Having a clearly defined case study process and discussion about what your company wants to highlight in the case study will also help gain legal approval.
Involve Sales Early
Hibbard writes that some of her clients discuss a potential case study during sales calls, and doing so has helped close deals. If sales tells prospects that if the company exceeds expectations they will come back for a success story in three months, it lets prospects know your company is dedicated to making an implementation successful.
Simple Formula for Success
When customers know what to expect, understand what type of information you want to highlight in a case study, and are properly motivated, your chances of landing a case study customer and gaining legal approval increase increase.
Did you have trouble landing your first or other case study customer? Or, did you have trouble getting legal approval for a case? Tell us how you solved those problems in the comments below.