This week, two PowerPoint presentations came my way.
My clients’ happy customers had actually presented these decks in live case studies (either in person or on a webinar). How fantastic is that – a customer willing to talk to an audience about success with your products and services?
That’s about as good as it gets.
Smart marketing teams know the next step: Turn that live presentation into something that you can re-use again and again.
Here are 4 tips for taking next steps with a customer’s live case study presentation.
1. Ask for permission upfront
You would think that standing on a podium and publicly discussing success with a specific solution makes a written story a shoe-in.
Not true. A written story, posted on the web, leaves a searchable and lasting trail of evidence about what your customer said. This scares some customers. They’re worried you’re the next Enron and they just don’t want to risk a public endorsement.
You need to ask for specific permission for a separate written story, and the customer will want to review it most likely.
While your contact may be fine with turning the presentation into written or video assets, the company may not agree. BEFORE you record that presentation or webinar, or write it, ask for official permission.
If you can record it, ask HOW you can use the recording. Some might just give you permission to share it internally among sales reps, while others will let you post it on your website, Facebook, YouTube, etc.
2. PowerPoint is not enough for written
Even if you don’t plan to use the recording with external audiences, or don’t have permission to do so, a recording is valuable.
A PowerPoint presentation provides the visuals and highlights but it’s never the full story. The presenter adds that.
What’s missing from PowerPoints? Detail, explanation, complete sentences for quotes, and most critically, emotion.
Customer case studies are stories. Without real customer comments and emotion, you lose much of its storytelling power.
Personally, I always have more questions, usually lots more, when I receive a PowerPoint.
So, get it recorded somehow. If you don’t want to release the video to a writer, then get a transcript.
3. Interview the customer
For a couple of reasons, you may need to interview the customer further:
The customer’s presentation didn’t include some of the information that usually goes into a case study. Maybe the customer doesn’t go into why they chose your solution – a very insightful piece for prospective customers.
- Or, you did not get a recording.
Ask the customer if they are willing to fill in some of the gaps that the slide deck misses.
4. Got permission? Use it!
When you get specific permission to use these assets, make them work for you. Don’t shelf that rich information.
Post video, edited down perhaps, on demand on your website. Send the video link to prospects, Tweet about it, and distribute it on social media video sharing sites.
Write it up and post it online and among your sales assets.
Check out this list for 25 ways to use your customer stories.
What are your experiences getting more out of live presentations?
Customer case studies just aren't like other marketing projects.
With a brochure, data sheet or white paper, marketing managers can usually mark the calendar for when to begin.
But as much as they target a certain number of case studies or success stories a month or quarter, starting still depends on if and when the customer is ready.
And sometimes that's a LONG time to wait.
For freelance case study copywriters serving these marketing managers, those lags present another challenge: memory loss.
If you haven't written for a client in a few months, the details may be fuzzy - especially if you work with multiple clients (or really technical products) like many writers.
In fact, I often need to re-orient a little to a client's products and services.
Years ago I came up with a way to help myself out in these situations.
Every time I engage with a new client, I create a "Cheat Sheet" that's just for me.
It includes all the main details I need to get back on track quickly after a pause in projects with a particular client.
Create your Cheat Sheet from the beginning, which also helps you focus your study of a new client's products and services.
What goes on it?
Look for answers to questions such as...
- How does the company refer to its products and services? What names and industry terms do they use?
- What do the featured solutions do?
- Who uses them?
- What problems do they solve?
- What are the main business benefits that users can expect?
- What preferences do they have that are specific to them?
(I.e. maybe they prefer to capitalize business titles versus lowercase)
Take the little bit of extra time to create this every time you work with a new client. When you need a refresher, everything you need is on one sheet.
You've probably heard most of these stats before. Current customers are significantly more valuable than new customers.
- Acquiring a new customer costs 5 to 10 times more than retaining one.
- A 5 percent increase in retention yields profit increases of 25 to 100 percent.
- Repeat customers spend 67 percent more, on average.
- Twenty percent of customers account for 80 percent of total revenues.
Think about it. These customers already know your products and services well, and are (hopefully) very pleased. It's a fan base that's receptive to hearing from you - especially when you talk about solutions to their problems.
Yet how often are companies using customer success stories to upsell solutions to already happy customers?
A CRM software company created a customer case study featuring the success of one branch of a major nationwide mortgage company. The branch had become the number-one location in the country due largely to productivity with this software.
Using a story on that branch, the software company got in the door with the leadership at national headquarters. That led to talks to take the software to more branches nationwide.
It's just one example of leveraging a customer story to expand business with a current customer.
Here are various ways that businesses can use customer success stories to grow sales with existing customers:
- Up-sell or cross-sell different products and services to the same customer
- Feature one division of a company and then share that with other divisions in the same company or organization
- Highlight the success of one location of a company to share with other locations
If you're only using your best stories to attract and sell to prospects, then you're not getting your full return on investment on a case study.
Can you share any great stories of using case studies to sell more to current customers?