31 December 2019

3 SaaS Case Study Examples: A Critique of the Hits and Misses

Keeping up with trends in your industry by reviewing your competitors’ content is one of the best ways to ensure your B2B SaaS case studies stay sharp. Watching for what other companies are doing well—and not so well—and holding onto these case study examples means you’ll have a wealth of source material to draw inspiration from or improve upon in your own writing.

We’ve done some of the legwork for you with this critique of three case study examples from businesses on SaaS Mag’s 2019 list of the fastest growing SaaS companies. Let’s see how they stack up.

Contender #1: GitLab

GitLab is a DevOps platform that helps development, security, and operations teams reduce costs and increase time to market. The company’s 738 employees are located in 50 different countries. GitLab ranked 10th on the SaaS Mag list of 1,000 high-growth companies. We reviewed Gitlab’s Goldman Sachs case study.

What worked well

Nothing measures success in a SaaS case study like statistics, and case study examples like this one provide numbers that clearly illustrate the results Goldman Sachs achieved working with GitLab:

The case study format also flows well. Each section, including the customer introduction, challenge, solution, and results, provides clear information that helps the reader visualize how GitLab could help their company, too.

Finally, we all know that throwing a large block of text upon a webpage is going to get you exactly zero readers. GitLab avoids this pitfall by using subheaders to break up the text so it’s easier to scan. The subheaders are descriptive and benefit-driven—another bonus.

What could be improved

The case study’s title could use some work: 

First, adding GitLab’s company name would increase brand recognition. Second, while the title does feature a statistic, it would be more powerful and easier to digest if it was a percentage increase—for example, “Goldman Sachs increases build velocity by 2,000% with GitLab.”

The pull quotes in case study examples like this are also heavy on length: 

Condensing and tweaking them would make them more impactful. As long as you don’t change the essence of a quote, it is fine to edit quotes—we’re writing case studies, not news reports (and you’ll always ask your customer to review the piece before it goes live).

Finally, this SaaS case study would have a stronger finish if it included a conclusion that addressed how the customer plans on using GitLab moving forward—for example, whether they will add new products to their suite. The case study also needs a call-to-action that prompts readers to book a call with GitLab or view a product demo online.

Contender #2: Sendoso

Sendoso is a sending platform that provides businesses with sourcing, physical warehouse storage, inventory tracking, and ROI attribution solutions to enable them to personalize at scale. The company has 147 employees and ranked 22nd on SaaS Mag’s list. We reviewed Sendoso’s Pendo case study.

What worked well

SaaS case study examples like this one make good use of graphics. It’s not just filler—rather, it adds visual interest to the piece and communicates the benefits of using Sendoso:

The case study also provides a clear, succinct summary of the challenges that Pendo faced before working with Sendoso while being careful to position the customer in a positive light:

Finally, the case study includes a strong call to action (CTA) at the end that hints at social proof with the phrase “Join the thousands of people using Sendoso.” The CTA highlights a benefit by encouraging readers to “personally connect with their customers.” 

Moving the CTA higher up in the case study would make it even stronger, so it doesn’t appear to be part of the website’s footer.

What could be improved

The case study title appears incomplete: 

It needs to be more than just a statistic, and should include the customer’s name, the company’s name and some context—for example, “Pendo closes 5x more sales with Sendoso.”

The pull quote is buried in what looks like the website’s footer, and it’s too long: 

Condensing the quote to one sentence and moving it up under the stats section would make it more compelling.

This SaaS case study also needs a section that focuses on the solution itself. It should outline which of Sendoso’s products Pendo uses, and how the products addressed each of the challenges the customer was facing.

Contender #3: Front

Front is an email management software that helps more than 5,000 customers improve workflows and collaborate more efficiently. The company has 144 employees and ranked 61st on the SaaS Mag list. We reviewed Front’s Boostability case study.

What worked well

Case study examples like this one open with a strong title that includes a statistic and the customer’s name:

Front could make it even better by adding its own company name.

Front’s Boostability case study also features an excellent pull quote—it’s short and sweet with an effective message. The case study uses quotes throughout to help tell a human, relatable story:

The executive summary on the side of this case study is eye-catching and provides key information, such as tools that integrate with Front (important functionality of the Front software).

What could be improved

This SaaS case study would be more compelling if it outlined clear statistics near the top in numerical format—for example, “2.5x faster response rate.”

The call to action is currently in the executive summary at the top of the case study (see image above). The call to action would be better positioned at the bottom of the case study so that when a reader finishes the story and visualizes themselves in the customer’s shoes, they’re then nudged to take action.

This case study could also use a short boilerplate paragraph on the customer. Case studies need to benefit both parties involved, and including a boilerplate with a link shows gratitude to your customer for their help with the case study. Here’s a great example from a recent Okta case study on its customer JetBlue:

Ready, set, write!

There are no perfect case studies. Different formats work for different types of companies. Now that you’re armed with a few case study examples, consider using elements from the examples above that make the most sense for your business. Or, follow these tips on how to identify and tap into your own favorite case study example.

Next step?

Now that you’ve taken a peek at a few case study examples from GitLab, Sendoso and Front, it’s time to think about all of the various ways you can get your case studies in front of your prospects. Read this post on 8 ways to squeeze the most value from your case studies.

This is the tenth post in an 11-part series on how to write a great B2B SaaS case study.

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Emily Amos
Emily Amos

As the founder of Uplift Content, Emily leads teams in creating done-for-you case studies, ebooks and white papers for high-growth SaaS companies. Check out her bio.

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