9 Components of a Case Study You Absolutely Need to Include

SaaS case studies help you educate prospects on the value of your products and the results your customers have achieved. To make your case study creation a breeze, it’s crucial to follow a format. Learn 9 components of a case study that will help you create successful content to drive sales.

SaaS case studies help you educate prospects on the value of your products and the results your customers have achieved. To make your case study creation process easier, it’s crucial to follow a format. In this post, learn the 9 components of a case study you need to include in order to provide the social proof your prospects are looking for.

This is the first post in a 9-part series on how to write a B2B case study.

Must-have components of a case study

1. A compelling executive summary

One of the most important components of a case study is a powerful executive summary. It lets your reader know what they’re getting into, and how they might relate to and benefit from what they’ll learn. Firstly, it needs to introduce your customer and their challenges. Secondly, it should highlight how your B2B SaaS company helped deliver the right solution. And be sure to include a preview of the results your customer saw from your products.

Example:

Twilio Segment's executive summary for its Domino's case study
Source: Segment

2. Outline your customer’s challenges

Illustrating the obstacles your customer faced that prompted them to seek out a B2B SaaS solution is one of the most crucial components of a case study. For example, maybe their business processes were a drain on time, resources or budgets—or all of the above. This section is an ideal spot to use a customer quote and let them share their story in their words. Remember to paint your customer in a positive light. And focus on how they wanted to improve their business, and avoid overly negative language.

Example:

Example of the "Challenge" section for another component of a case study.
Source: Zenefits

3. Lead your reader along your customer’s journey

Help your reader picture themselves in your customer’s shoes. Lay out the steps your customer took to try to solve their problem, including an overview of the other products they investigated before they decided on yours. But be mindful not to toot your own horn—you’re simply recapping the facts.

4. The moment of discovery

The core elements of a case study wouldn’t be complete without a section on how your customer decided on your specific B2B SaaS solution. First, provide insight into which of their business requirements it met. Then include any other reasons the partnership was a good fit—perhaps your companies shared similar organizational values. This is an area where case study testimonials make for powerful storytelling. They allow you to set your case study up to dive into how you and your product solved your customer’s challenges.

Example:

Example of a testimonial for another component of a case study.
Source: Expensify

5. Spend some time on the solution

In the “solution” component of your case study, you get to pitch your products without the fear of sounding like a used car salesman. Remember, you didn’t rush in and save the day—this is about your customer’s goals and how your solution helped them reach their objectives. As a result, you simply need to outline the products your customer purchased and the benefits they provided.

Example:

Example of the "Solution" section for another component of a case study.
Source: Expensify

6. Walk your reader through the implementation

Change can be daunting, especially when it comes to the unknown, so it’s crucial that you give your reader a clear sense of how the implementation process went for your customer. For example, if problems arose, don’t be afraid to be transparent about them, but tie the storyline back to how you and your customer overcame the challenges. This is one of the most important components of a case study, and is an opportunity to let your customer service shine.

7. Celebrate your customer’s results

77% of SaaS companies include metrics in at least 50% of their case studies. Metrics are where you can show off the data—hard numbers like revenue gains and time saved that illustrate the return on investment your customer gained from your solution. Showcase how well your products solved the customer’s problems. Find out what to do if you don’t have case study metrics to work with.

Example:

Example of the "Results" section for another component of a case study.
Source: ServiceNow 

8. Close the loop with a call to action

Using the right components of a case study so far has helped keep your reader’s attention until the end of the piece, creating an important opportunity for you to guide them to the next step you want them to take. You can accomplish this by including a clear call to action (CTA) that speaks directly to them at the end of your B2B SaaS case study. See these case study CTA examples to learn how to make your calls to action stand out.

Example:

Source: Databricks

9. Don’t get too caught up in using the perfect format

A lot of experts will tell you that your content needs to include all of the components of a case study and follow a structured formula. But don’t stress over this.

A creative story doesn’t lock itself into anything too prescriptive. And you don’t have to chunk your content into specific modules like some ’90s business plan. The most interesting and compelling stories take a creative approach to case study layout, and they play with perspective.

9 components of a case study: did you include them all?

Now that you know the 9 parts of a case study, take a look back through your own case studies. Have you included each of the components?

And last, but certainly not least, have you squeezed every last ounce of value from your case studies? Here are 8 ways to fully leverage your case studies for maximum results.

Get help writing your case studies

Partnering with a SaaS content marketing agency like Uplift Content allows you to produce a consistent flow of high-quality marketing and sales collateral that generates and nurtures leads—and closes sales faster. Check out our case study writing services.


Ultimate Guide to Writing a White Paper for B2B SaaS

Publishing white papers is an excellent way to generate leads while showcasing your B2B SaaS company as a thought leader in your industry. But where do you begin when creating this type of long-form content? In this ultimate guide to writing a white paper, we’ll cover 8 key steps.

Publishing white papers is an excellent way to generate leads while showcasing your B2B SaaS company as a thought leader in your industry. But where do you begin when creating this type of long-form content? In this ultimate guide to writing a white paper, we’ll cover 8 key steps.

Your Guide to Writing a White Paper

Writing a white paper is a time consuming process that often requires intensive research. However, you don’t have to start from scratch to figure out the best way to get the job done. Let’s get into the details with this white paper guide for B2B SaaS marketers.

  1. Understand what constitutes a B2B SaaS white paper
  2. Know when your company needs a white paper vs. an ebook
  3. Become a whiz at generating compelling white paper topics
  4. Master the B2B SaaS white paper outline formula
  5. Dig into the 10 steps to writing a white paper
  6. Learn 3 ways to cite sources in a white paper
  7. Explore 5 B2B SaaS white paper design best practices
  8. Find out 8 ways to promote your white paper to drive downloads

1. Understand what constitutes a B2B SaaS white paper

No guide to writing a white paper would be complete without first delving into what the heck a white paper is—a persuasive, authoritative, in-depth report on a specific topic. B2B SaaS white papers present a challenge around a particular subject, then offer solutions. This type of content is often used to target decision makers interested in a certain industry trend or technology.

Over 70% of B2B buyers reference white papers when considering whether to make a purchase, and more than 50% of advertisers consider this type of content valuable for lead generation. Creating white papers helps position your SaaS company as a reputable source.

Learn more about what a B2B SaaS white paper is—and isn’t.

2. Know when your company needs a white paper vs. an ebook

eBooks and white papers are both powerful B2B SaaS marketing tools. In this white paper guide, we’ll break down their differences.

Here are a few characteristics of white papers:

  • Long-form, educational, and full of research and data
  • Written in an authoritative, academic tone for an audience familiar with the topic
  • Used to demonstrate a company’s value, or present new research or thought leadership

In contrast, here are a few characteristics of ebooks:

  • Educational in nature, but written in a more casual, introductory tone than white papers
  • Feature more white space and design elements than white papers
  • Interactive and actionable, with concrete steps to solve a specific problem

Explore the difference between white papers and ebooks in detail.

3. Become a whiz at generating compelling white paper topics

First, you must understand your market and their challenges to land on a white paper topic that your audience will find interesting. Find out what makes them tick by frequenting the social networks they use most to see what they’re posting. From there, find out what your competitors are writing about to get inspiration for white paper topics.

Tap into your website analytics tool to see which blog posts on your site get the most hits. These posts are excellent candidates for white paper topics. Another way to generate ideas is to interview industry experts if you have the opportunity. 

Read 5 steps to generating killer white paper topics.

4. Master the B2B SaaS white paper outline formula

Developing an outline is one of the most important aspects in any guide to writing a white paper, and breaks the content creation process into manageable steps. Once you have a white paper topic, brainstorm a few title ideas for your outline. Then, jot down some key insights you want to convey in your white paper and group the ideas into sections.

Next, review each section to fill in gaps and organize the content. List your source material in your outline, and share the outline with subject matter experts for feedback before writing your white paper draft.

Learn more about how to create a white paper outline.

5. Dig into the 10 steps to writing a white paper

You’re ready to start writing! You’ve got a good grip on what your audience wants to read about, and you have a solid topic and a robust outline. Now it’s time to ensure you present a fresh perspective from other similar B2B SaaS white papers.

Set aside time for writing, and additional research as needed. Once you have a first draft, thoroughly edit your white paper and get someone on your team to review the content. While they’re doing this, you can prepare your white paper landing page

Explore the 10 steps to writing a B2B SaaS white paper.

6. Learn 3 ways to cite sources in a white paper

No guide to writing a white paper would be complete without explaining how to properly cite sources in a white paper. In the marketing world, the most common method to cite sources is to hyperlink paraphrased arguments and research from other websites back to the original content. 

You may also want to quote an expert directly. In this case, copy and paste the source’s words into your white paper. Put quotation marks around the copied text and credit the source, linking to the original content.

Find out a third way to cite sources in a white paper.

7. Explore 5 B2B SaaS white paper design best practices

A white paper guide should focus on design in addition to writing. Good design starts with a compelling white paper cover page. Your white paper should also be easy to navigate and feature high quality photos.

To help readers digest the content in your white paper, use callout boxes to bring attention to the most important points. Complementing or replacing written statistics with graphs and charts is also an effective design technique. Finally, don’t forget to include a designed call to action to encourage readers to get on your email list, schedule a product demo or talk to a sales rep.

Learn how to design a visually striking white paper.

8. Find out 8 ways to promote your white paper to drive downloads

Before you can generate leads from a white paper, you need your audience to know you’ve published one. This is why it’s essential to promote your white paper in your email marketing, on social media and through partnerships.

As part of your content strategy, you should also write blog posts that funnel readers to your white paper. And don’t forget to create a strong landing page that provides a preview of the value readers will get when they download your white paper.

Promote your B2B SaaS white paper like a pro.

What’s next?

Now that you’ve got this guide to writing a white paper in your toolkit, it’s time to get clear on what constitutes a SaaS white paper.

This is the first post in a 9-part series called the Ultimate Guide to Writing a White Paper for B2B SaaS.

A hands-on guide to writing a white paper

Free up your time by getting expert help with creating B2B SaaS white papers. Explore Uplift Content’s white paper writing service.

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