I just wrote a customer story where the interview subject was somewhat reserved. His company hasn’t used the software for all that long, so he spoke conservatively about the benefits they have experienced so far.
But to meet my client’s sales objectives, I need more measurable detail from that customer. So I suggested some return on investment detail to the customer contact. Based on what the customer told me in the interview, I calculated that the company saves about five man-hours per week. I then guessed at how much a man-hour might be worth in the organization. I put those figures in the actual written success story for the contact to review.
If my numbers are off, then he will correct them. If the company isn’t comfortable providing ROI numbers, then he’ll let me know. It never hurts to try. At least we did our best to get better detail in the customer story!
Anyone have any tactics to share for drawing out measurable detail from customers?
Here's a little Friday reminder about the importance of case studies on your website.
A colleague forwarded an interesting article this morning that appeared in MarketingProfs.
"Creating Your Company's Own Online Reality," written by Rick Sloboda, stresses the value of customer stories in making your organization look credible on your own website. Rather than telling your own story, tell the success stories of your customers to increase confidence about your products and services.
When customers perform their searching and researching online, you'll compete and educate more effectively with real customer examples.
Have a great weekend!
Finding willing customer story candidates is often challenging for companies. What about letting customers nominate themselves?
I just read a blog posting by an electronic timesheets company that was basically a call for customers to share their own stories about using the company's products.
The company gave customers a few ways to submit their own stories:
- Answer a survey
- Email comments
- Send a video
- Post a blog comment
While I haven't seen such "self-service" links get a lot of response from customers, you never know when a customer just might submit its own comments or nominate itself.
What have you found helpful in rounding up names of customer story candidates?
A sales rep I'm assisting with a case study has two objectives: sell network management software to other U.S. divisions of a major account, and sell to other companies like the featured customer.
The customer contacts are willing to be much more open about what they share with other divisions in the same company than what they'll divulge to the public and competitors. So why not create two versions of the case study?
Version 1 of the case study, for internal-only use, has frank discussion about the challenges this customer faces in managing its network. The internal-only version also doesn't have to go through the same rigorous approval cycle as the public customer story.
Version 2 of the case study, for external audiences, has less detail about the customer's internal issues and practices.
That allows this sales rep to have the story he needs--quickly--for a big meeting with multiple divisions of this customer company, and then what he needs to penetrate the industry.
It's a little extra work, but it's worth it to reach the right audiences with the right information.
Selling anyone on anything is usually a process. The same goes for convincing customers to be featured in a customer case study. Sometimes you have to baby-step customers toward sharing their success story by initiating other joint marketing activities instead.
Last week, a software company I work with learned that its big-name customer wasn't ready to go public with a full customer story yet. The customer suggested they revisit the topic in 6 months or so, when results will be better. But my client wanted to get something documented publicly now, and be able to leverage that credibility.
The resulting solution was a compromise that pleases both parties. They will start with a "feature" press release announcing the relationship and offering additional details about the solution. The release reads almost like a case study, but isn't as long. It goes beyond just announcing the relationship to touch on the client's needs, some highlights of the solution, and some initial results.
The software firm and its client both get a public announcement, while the compromise respects that the client isn't ready to officially document its success quite yet.
What have you seen work in moving customers toward a case study?