B2B case studies are of major interest to buyers, and they can have a significant influence over their buying decisions. In fact, SalesFuel research found that 25% of buyers are willing to give their personal information to sellers in exchange for case studies and success studies. And as LinkedIn reports, "more than half of B2B buyers (54%) engage with case studies as part of their buying process, and 29% cite them as one of the most valuable sources in researching B2B purchases."
Why do B2B case studies influence sales?
Writing for LinkedIn, Mike Malley notes that case studies have an impact for many reasons. One of the most influential factors is their ability to nurture trust and credibility among buyers. Considering that both can be low when it comes to the sales industry, offering insight and data into past successes certainly helps. It’s especially effective when your successes are sung by others. As Malley points out, “Prospective customers want to see that your product or service has solved a similar problem for your customer, and they would rather hear it from your customer than you.”
Additionally, case studies can offer guidance on what a prospect can expect. They are able to see others’ paths with your sales process and solution. It can even include a call to action, which specifically requests a next step.
And, just as importantly, people love stories–and stories have influence. “Storytelling can trigger emotions, inspire imagination or stimulate action toward your goal of gaining a customer,” Tim Londergan writes for SalesFuel. "Refreshingly, stories are a shared experience, and they represent how we prefer to receive communication. When you do a great job delivering your story, you're one step closer to securing the sale.”
Use a variety of case study formats
Sellers should take advantage of the many formats available when sharing B2B case studies. Having a variety of options allows for reps to accommodate buyers’ varying preferences. According to an Ironpaper article written by Chantel Hall, suggested formats include:
- Video. It’s no surprise that prospects find video engaging and entertaining. Just make sure that you keep your video case studies informative as well. For tips on putting together effective sales videos, check out these professional tips.
- Standalone PDFs. This traditional style is appreciated by buyers looking to share with colleagues or larger buying teams. Hall reports that “Thirty-seven percent of buyers share case studies with their colleagues on a buying committee, and 66% prefer to share business-related content through email.”
- Website-based. B2B case studies housed on your business website can accomplish more than just engaging with and educating the buyer. They can also contribute to SEO and lead optimization. Just make sure to include a contact form to ensure you can reach out to prospects post-download.
Different studies for different buyer stages
And don’t make the mistake of utilizing only one kind of case study. Hall recommends that sellers create and adapt studies for use throughout the sales process. Her examples include:
- Awareness-level case studies that are used at the top of the sales funnel. They can help prospects understand the relation between their pain points and your solution.
- Consideration-level studies, which sellers can include in follow-up emails and other touch points. They serve to further nurture awareness and understanding of why your solution is the best choice.
- Decision-level case studies. “It's beneficial here to have case studies that speak to individual industries, pain points, company sizes, and product or service lines to show prospects what you've accomplished for companies like theirs,” Hall suggests.
Sellers need to consider offering a variety of B2B case studies to buyers at different stages of their journey. Prospects are very interested in using them to make buying decisions, so smart sellers will take advantage of this opportunity to give buyers what they want–and make the sale.
Photo by Sora Shimazaki