Updated April 18, 2020: A compelling B2B SaaS case study is a powerful tool for demonstrating your value to prospects and converting them into customers. What could be more persuasive than one of your star customers telling the world how much you’ve helped them, and letting others see how you could help them, too? Learn how to nail this versatile piece of marketing collateral with these B2B case study best practices for SaaS.
In a world where consumers have so many options, it’s no wonder 9 out of 10 people read reviews of products or services before they buy. It’s no different when it comes to B2B SaaS companies. Enter the B2B SaaS case study.
Follow these B2B case study best practices
Craft a killer customer success story by following these B2B case study best practices:
Writing a SaaS case study that hits those 6 B2B case study best practices can set you up for success. Here’s how:
1. Pick the right customer—and get them to say yes
The first of our B2B case study best practices is about ensuring you choose the right customer to participate in your case study. Your B2B SaaS case study should showcase a customer who loves your service and will speak candidly about working with you. Keep your target audience in mind. Choose a customer with a relatable story to tell.
Once you’ve picked the right customer, then you need to get them to agree to participate. Approach your customer at the right time, shortly after they’ve seen results from your service. Let them know how this case study will benefit them. Outline the process upfront, including your content requirements and timeline. Keep the interview under an hour and let your customer know they’ll have final approval on the written piece.
Find out more on how to pick the right customers for your case studies.
2. Prepare a case study brief
The second of our B2B case study best practices is on the importance of having a case study brief. A good brief will help your writer execute on your vision quickly and painlessly—and it will make for a smoother content creation process and a better final product.
Your case study brief should clarify the key messages you need the case study to communicate. It should provide guidance on use cases, any particular angles you want the case study to focus on and why you’ve chosen to highlight this particular customer. You’ll also want to provide information on the target audience for this case study.
3. Conduct an informative and painless interview
Your best shot at capturing a compelling story is through a well-planned and well-executed case study interview (the third of our case study best practices). Respect your customer’s time by ensuring the interview is no more than an hour, and do the interview at a time that is convenient for your customer. And as a courtesy, be sure to send the customer your interview questions in advance.
Ask questions that break the ice to start off, then dig into the challenges your customer faced before they started working with you. Next, ask them questions that allow them to shine a light on the solution and results. Be sure to take notes, and watch out for common B2B SaaS case study interview mistakes like asking questions that aren’t open ended.
4. Get your customer’s approval to publish the case study
For the fourth of our B2B case study best practices, we talk about how to help your customer approve the B2B SaaS case study so you can get it published. Obviously, it’s essential that your customer is comfortable with your case study before you share it with the world. After all, it’s their story. If your case study is well written and accurate, the review and approval should be straightforward.
Ensure your customer is aware of all of the steps and deadlines from the beginning. When you send them the case study for review, remind them of the case study’s purpose and its benefit to them. Encourage them to take a close look at their quotes to make sure they are comfortable with how you may have edited them. Then thank them for their time.
If your customer is reluctant to publish the case study, there is likely a solution that can work for both of you. Learn more about how to get customer approval in this situation.
5. Captivate readers with compelling design
Now that you’ve mastered the copy, let’s focus on the fifth of our B2B case study best practices—the visuals of your B2B SaaS case study. Good design increases readability by breaking up chunks of text, boosts credibility, highlights key points and makes complex content easier to understand.
Include a few testimonials as pull quotes in your design. Add headshots, too. For the (many) visual learners out there, data illustrations like charts and graphs are more effective than paragraphs full of numbers. You can also use infographics to visually break down complex processes into simple steps or help guide readers through the highlights of your case study.
6. Promote your case study
For the last of our B2B case study best practices, we focus on getting eyeballs on your case study. A case study only works if your prospects and current customers read it, so don’t just park it on your website. Link to your case study from your website’s homepage, but don’t stop there! Write a blog post about it and link to it. If your email list is organized by industry, send your case study to your contacts who may find it useful. Share it on social media and tag your featured customer in the post.
Give the case study to your sales team to use as a sales tool in presentations, on the phone and in nurture emails. Too often, sales follow-ups are vague “just checking in” messages. Finally, include your case study in the proposals you send out, as long as they tackle similar challenges to those your prospect is facing.
Learn more best practices to promote case studies.
Go beyond B2B case study best practices
Now that you know the 6 B2B case study best practices for SaaS, the next order of business is to dive into the details of each step. The first best practice we’re going to take a deep dive on is how to choose a customer. Let us walk you through how to pick the right customer for your next case study.
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