Marketing teams don’t just create materials for marketing; they also have to keep sales reps supplied with the tools to help close deals.
If they don’t provide materials in the format sales prefers, then sales reps create their own materials – all too often.
Research shows that salespeople spend an inordinate amount of time recreating that collateral in ways that work for them.
When it comes to customer case studies and success stories, what specifically do reps need?
Often, reps are using slide decks. Why not package summarized versions of your customer case studies and success stories on slides?
Albee calls them "validation slides," but they might also be called customer slides, ROI slides, case study slides, etc.
The point is to capture the highlights of your best customer experiences in summary in a way that’s super simple for sales reps to run with.
Make a point of creating slides to accompany every full success story and case study that you develop. Tell a story with your slides.
Who is the customer?
What was the challenge or business goal?
Which solution was applied?
What were the specific results?
The closer you match the featured customer with the one the rep is pitching, the better the outcome.
As Albee says:
These kinds of mini stories help them to believe that the outcome they want is actually viable.
It's Valentine's week, so there's no better time to talk about sharing the love with customers.
A blog post by Brian Solis, Transforming Customers into Evangelists: The Art of Listening and Engagement, was recently inspired by Brian's workshop at the "Customer Service is the New Marketing" event.
He talks about empowering customers to become an extension of your sales and marketing, and the importance of partnering with customers for mutual success.
"This is about people and engaging them as people, evolving from an approach that connects faceless companies to anonymous customers. Let's humanize the entire process to not just keep customers happy, but also cultivating loyalty along the way," he writes.
And customer success stories and case studies are certainly a part of that:
"Most importantly, make sure that you integrate customer success stories into your PR and marketing initiatives. Feature them on your blog. Invite them to events. Partner with them to be proactive voices to help rally other customers. After all, customers are the very thing that keep you in business. Show them that you know this by reaching out to them, not just waiting for them to come to you."