22 October 2019

A Case Study Format That Works: How to Keep Prospects Hooked

B2B SaaS case studies are excellent opportunities to provide social and statistical proof of just how useful and valuable your company’s products are, which is likely why 73% of B2B marketers use them. That said, this marketing tool is no help to you or your prospects if there’s no story arc to capture their attention. Learn how to use a tried and true case study format to keep your prospects’ eyes on the copy—and your eyes on the prize (which is a sale, of course).

A B2B SaaS case study format to aim for

A case study is only successful if you put the spotlight on your happy customer. No one wants to read all about how great you and your products are. But they DO want to read about how a company similar to theirs was able to overcome a challenge. Make your customer the hero of your story by using storytelling to capture your prospects’ attention and persuade them to take action. Your narrative should follow this case study format:

1: Start with a compelling executive summary

A high value B2B SaaS case study begins with a powerful executive summary that lets your reader know what they’re getting into, and how they might relate to and benefit from what they’ll learn. It should introduce your customer and their challenges, as well as highlight how your company helped deliver the right solution. Be sure to include a preview of the results your customer saw from your products.

2: Outline your customer’s challenges 

In every case study format, you need to describe the challenges. Be sure to illustrate the obstacles your customer faced that prompted them to seek out a SaaS solution. Perhaps their business processes were a drain on time, resources, 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—focus on how they wanted to improve their business, and avoid overly negative language.

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. Be mindful not to toot your own horn—you’re simply recapping the facts.

4: Shine a light on the moment of discovery

Your case study format should include a section on how your customer decided on your specific SaaS solution. Provide insight into which of their business requirements it met, as well as any other reasons the partnership was a good fit—perhaps your companies shared similar organizational values. This is another area where testimonials make for powerful storytelling and allow you to set your case study up to dive into how you and your product solved your customer’s challenges.

5. Spend some time on the solution

This is your opportunity 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. You simply need to outline the products your customer purchased and the benefits they provided.

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. 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 part of your case study format is an opportunity to let your customer service shine.


7. Celebrate the results

Here’s 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. If you don’t have statistics to work with, there are other ways you can detail solid results in your case study.

8. Close the loop with a call to action

Your case study format 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 that speaks directly to them at the end of your B2B SaaS case study. Learn how to make your call to action stand out.

9. Don’t get too caught up with finding the perfect case study format

A lot of experts will tell you that your case study needs to follow a structured formula. Don’t stress over this. A creative story doesn’t lock itself into anything too prescriptive. 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 flow and format, and they play with perspective.

What’s next?

Now that you know how to format a case study, it’s time to focus on nailing the headline—it’s how you’ll grab your reader’s attention, after all. Discover the 3 elements you need to include in a great B2B SaaS case study headline.

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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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