Here at Red Springs Chambers we carry on with our blog posts on developing your business.
In a time when people are increasingly of marketing information, customer evidence is worth its weight in gold. And case studies, which illustrate the power of your product or service in concrete real-world examples, are the best way to frame customer evidence.
Anyone who has tried to convince customers to participate in a case study knows how tough the process can be. The customer has little reason to participate (unless you offer discounts or other “incentives”). You are asking them to carve time out of an overloaded schedule just to help you, the vendor. Not an easy sales pitch.
So when you get a willing customer, minimize their time requirement. By the time you get to the customer interview. Most of the story should already be in place. The customer interview is for filling in the blanks and garnering quotes—not for gathering primary facts.
To get your case study rolling, identify the internal resources you need to interview. Your list should include the salesperson, a project manager (if applicable), and any engineers, implementation specialists or other players who got the solution rolling at the customer site.
Ask the salesperson a lot of questions about the sales process, using both open-ended and specific questions.
Ask for the salesperson’s general thoughts about the customer. What was the biggest reason the customer bought your solution?
What was the key problem that needed to be solved? Why was your solution a better fit for the customer than those of other vendors?
The project manager
Next, turn to the project manager and, in a technology situation, the engineers. You should get the complete technical lay of the land from your internal resources—never ask a customer to describe their technical environment to you. The project team can give you a feel for exactly how the customer is using your solution, the business problems solved and the benefits delivered. By the end of your internal interview process, the framework for your case study should be in place.
Now you are ready to talk with your customer to verify facts. Get quotes and glean additional to round out your case study. Do the upfront work to minimize customer participation in your case study. And you’re much more likely to gain an ongoing marketing resource that you can turn to again in the future.