B2B Case Studies: How to Create Case Studies that Help You Land Your Ideal Customers

Documenting successful projects and sharing them can be helpful for any business. That’s why B2B case studies are so important for both selling and content marketing.

Case studies are stories that describe successful customer relationships, about how your company managed to correctly identify your clients’ problems, proposed solutions, and finally how you solved these problems. Case studies can be very efficient because they prove your product is working for your customers with claims backed by their own words. This is the power case studies can have, a potential of immense and long-term benefit for any business or startup.

Why Case Studies Matter?

Case studies are an essential currency in B2B. They tell a story of what a great job you did for one of your customers, so prospective customers understand you can do the same for them. Prospects must see themselves in your examples and messaging, the examples must be relatable, they should see the real value that your company can provide. B2B case studies are good for quickly building credibility. The important thing is that they reflect the worldview of your prospects and buyers.

What are the Major Benefits of B2B Case Studies?

Case studies have many benefits. The stories are backed up by testimonials coming from real people, real customers whose work has been improved by your product. When a claim is backed up by real stories, it becomes a fact and that is very compelling to potential clients. Furthermore, case studies can be used in many ways: on your website, on social media, for PR and marketing purposes, for ads, presentations, and in your newsletters.

How to Find the Right Customers for Case Studies

In order to select the right customers for a case study, there are a few things to consider: your target audience, the story, their experience, and how long they’ve been customers. Always keep in mind who your ideal customers are to increase the likelihood of attracting the right audience. Featuring customers with recognizable names can also a good idea but, for that to work, they have to be companies your ideal customers respect and want to emulate.

You want to look for customers who have achieved exceptional results, or who got a significant return on their investment using your product. Their experience has to be positive and their words about the value they got from your product have to be true and genuine. This is why customers who have been with you for some time generally make the best candidates.

Customers that switched over from a competitor can also be good candidates. They’ll be able to highlight your competitive advantages and the ease of switching over from another vendor.

How to Motivate Customers to Participate in Case Studies

Melanie Crissey, former product marketer at FullStory, recommends working in case study discounts in contract renewals. Offering discounts for participation in case studies might be a good motivation for your customers. Make sure to select customers who have good product knowledge, have used your product for a long time or use it extensively. This will ensure that the information they provide is clear, detailed, and relatable for other customers.

What Questions to Ask to Create an Effective B2B Case Studies

The best way to interview your customers is in person. This way, you will build a better connection and get the best results. Be friendly, ask open questions and initiate a free conversation. Make sure to have a list of questions prepared ahead of time.

Here are a few questions you can ask to get meaningful answers:

  • Tell me a little bit about your company, and what do you do there?
  • What challenges did you face before coming to us?
  • What solutions were you considering?
  • What eventually made you decide to choose our product? Why?
  • When did you start noticing the first results?
  • How did our product impact your business operations?
  • What do you enjoy the most about our product?
  • Can you share any specific benefits of using our product?
  • What would you tell other organizations considering our product?

How to Write Great B2B Case Studies

A reasonable length for a case study is around 500 words. It has to be short and easy to understand, while still being written well and captivating. You want to make sure your case study has a logical flow and tells the story from start to finish. A great case study allows readers to really get to know your customer. You’ll want to explain the problem, introduce their company/product, describe how the challenge was overcome, and sum it up, giving it a happy ending.

You should include real numbers and measurable results. Talk about the specific strategies used, and quote your customer in their own words. Your goal is to make sure your prospects identify with your current customers.

Consider sharing the draft of your case study with the customer before publishing. This will allow them to fact-check it and they might add some more valuable information along the way.

How to Use the Case Study

There are many ways to maximize the use of your case studies. The most obvious one is to feature your case study on the homepage of your website, or a dedicated landing page. Make sure visitors don’t have to look for it and that it’s highly visible. B2B case studies can also make great blog posts too, so you can put a quote from the case study on the main page and add a link to the full case study.

You can also create a PDF/Download version of your case study or include it in a newsletter to nurture leads or prospects. Reading how similar organizations are getting value from your product can help customers make their purchase decision.

Posting case studies on your social media is also a great idea. If you tag your interviewee and their company, it will likely be visible to their followers as well which will give you more visibility. Lastly, you can promote your case studies with paid ads to help acquire more users and customers.

What to do if B2B Case Studies Are Not an Option

There are times when your best customers won’t be willing to take part in a case study. Perhaps they’re limited in what they can say publicly, or they’re simply unwilling.

If that’s the case, you can make other arrangements, like using their logos on your website, asking them for a short quote, publish a joint press release, or do a joint presentation about the deal. There are always ways to use customer success to gain more customers.

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How a Win/Loss Analysis Can Help You Find Product/Market Fit

Landing new clients and closing new deals feels great. And it’s equally upsetting when a customer turns down your offer or when they never get back to you at all. You won’t be able to improve unless you can figure out why some customers chose your product, and why others preferred the competition. That’s what a Win/Loss Analysis is for.

What’s a Win/Loss Analysis?

A Win/Loss Analysis is a forensic market research technique that includes collecting, sorting, and analyzing information gathered from your clients and prospects. It helps you understand whether your sales techniques work, what made paying customers want to work with you, and what made prospects select another vendor over you.

For the analysis, you will need both sales you won and sales you lost, including customers who never made their decision at all. You’ll create an interview script and interview your customers and potential customers to gain information from them. The analysis should provide a clear explanation of why the deals were won or lost. The goal is to learn how to win more business and increase income from each customer.

The Value of a Win/Loss Analysis

A Win/Loss analysis has many benefits. First of all, it will help you gather objective feedback from your customers and prospects on what has worked and what didn’t. A lot of business is lost due to assumptions or miscommunication. Direct customer interactions can help address that. Win/Loss interviews open up additional opportunities for you; you might even learn about your competitors since respondents often discuss why they selected a vendor over another. The ability to build better customer relationships is another great benefit of Win/Loss interviews. It shows customers that you care about their experience and that your company wants to get better.

How to conduct a Win/Loss Interviews

The perfect time for Win/Loss interviews is two or three months after your customers have made their decision. Within a few months, they’ll have used your service or product for some time and the information they will provide will be richer. If you wait too long, it’s possible that customers will have forgotten important information.

The number of interviews you need to schedule depends on the size of your customer database. It’s important to have a 50/50 ratio of won/loss sales to get a full picture of the situation. There are four parts to the analysis: 1) recruiting candidates, 2) creating the Win/Loss analysis interview questions, 3) interviewing candidates, and 4) analyzing the data.

1. Recruiting Candidates

In order to recruit the right interview candidates, you have to have a clear understanding of what your goals are. Ask yourself: what is your biggest weakness, how do you want to grow as a business, and what do you most want to learn. You can use our guide on recruiting interview participants to help with the recruitment phase.

2. Drafting Win/Loss Analysis Interview Questions

Questions for the interview will vary based on your business dynamics and your needs. Maybe you just launched a new product that you’ve yet to get feedback on? Or maybe your competitor launched a new product and you need to learn more about that? The most important thing is to make sure that your questions are open-ended to encourage prospects to feely share their thoughts. Your objective is to learn about the buying process, the decision-making criteria, the downsides and benefits of your product, and why prospects may have chosen a competiting product over yours.

For deals you’ve won, you’ll want to ask questions like:

  • How did our sales team address your business needs?
  • How did our product meet your needs?
  • What was the primary reason behind your decision? / What convinced you to buy from us?
  • What was your overall impression of our product?
  • What do you value the most about our product? What do you value the least?

While for deals you lost, you’ll want to ask questions like:

  • What could we have done differently? What prevented you from working with us?
  • What do you think is missing from our product?
  • What made you decide to choose another product instead of ours?

3. Interviewing Customers

Interview your customers and prospects face-to-face or over the phone. You want to initiate a free conversation where the interviewee feels comfortable sharing both positive and negative feedback. Be polite, appreciative, attentive, and build trust. Before you wrap up, make sure you ask if there’s anything else they’d like to add. Similar open-ended questions frequently lead to avalanches of feedback.

For more insights on customer interviews, read our top customer interview tips.

4. Analyzing the Interview Data

Summarize the interviews shortly after conducting them so you don’t forget important details. Find out what your customers think you do best and start doing more of that. Stop doing things that are not working, or that are generating little value. You want to track how the market perceives your product–on its own and by comparison to competing products–to find opportunities to gain new customers.

Action Items Following a Win/Loss Analysis

After conducting a Win/Loss analysis you want to make changes and iterate according to the conclusions you’ve made.

This analysis should help you generate more income from your customers, increase customer retention, and eventually reach product/market fit. There is no one better than your actual customers or prospects to tell you how to improve your business. Identify your best customers, figure out what they want, and deliver on that as you iterate your way to product/market fit.

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13+ B2B Conferences & Events to Accelerate Your Startup’s Growth in 2019

Startup founders often have difficulty seeing the forest for the trees. They get stuck on a business problem and can’t seem to find a solution.

B2B conferences are a great way to find inspiration. Interacting with other founders and executives can help generate new ideas and uncover strategies that truly move the needle.

Sometimes, a spark is all we need.

To help founders find the best conferences for their needs, I have put together a list of the best B2B conferences in 2019:

General Conferences for B2B SaaS Founders

  • SaaStr Annual – February 5-7, 2019 / San Francisco
    Founded 5 years ago by serial entrepreneur Jason Lemkin, SaaStr Annual brings together over 12,500 SaaS executives, founders, and VCs. It’s a good place to network, strike deals, and discuss a variety of topics (SaaS business, fundraising, enterprise sales, customer success, metrics, etc). Based in Europe? SaaStr Europa brings together 2,500 B2B founders, executives, and VCs in Paris, France.
  • Unleash – March 10-12, 2019 / San Diego
    Unleash (ex-Revenue Summit) was started by SalesHacker. It focuses on sales, marketing, and the intersection between both professions. With a strong emphasis on processes, account-based marketing and sales tech, it’s a good event to go a bit deeper into B2B sales and processes.
  • Marketing Nation Summit – March 24-28, 2019 / Las Vegas
    Marketo’s conference is all about marketing in the B2B space. It’s an interesting alternative to Salesforce’s conference, and it’s particularly relevant if you’re selling to marketing executives.
  • B2B Rocks – June 6-7, 2019 / Sydney, Australia & September 12, 2019 / Paris, France
    B2B Rocks focuses more on local expertise than SaaStock or SaaStr Europa. Because of that, the events attract a bit of a different crowd. Whether you attend in Paris or Sydney, you’ll learn tactics to grow your B2B SaaS product.
  • Inbound – September 3-6, 2019 / Boston
    Each year, HubSpot’s conference attracts thousands of sales and marketing professionals. Inbound is a really good event to network and learn about marketing automation, content marketing, and account-based selling.
  • Hyper-Growth – June 10 / London, United Kingdom, September 3 / Boston & November 18, 2019 / San Francisco
    Hyper-Growth is Drift’s growing sales and customer-centricity event. In early September, you can easily attend both the Hyper-Growth and Inbound conferences.
  • Business of Software – September 16-18, 2019 / Boston
    The Business of Software (BoS) conference focuses on networking opportunities, teaching participants how to build better products, and learning how to become better entrepreneurs.
  • SaaStock – October 14–16, 2019 / Dublin, Ireland
    The original European SaaStr. It covers a lot of the similar topics (Sales, Customer Success, Growth, and Financing) with a lot of the same speakers, but it’s an excellent opportunity to get acquainted with some of the best European founders and investors.
  • Dreamforce – November 19-22, 2019 / San Francisco
    Salesforce’s annual event. Dreamforce was one of the first B2B conferences and it’s by far the largest event with nearly 200,000 participants, 3,000 sessions, and a lot of deals and money being thrown around.

B2B Conferences Around Specific Business Challenges

Many B2B companies have created conferences around their customers’ pain points. If you share these challenges, or wish to dive deeper into topics, like customer success, content marketing or inside sales, there are other really great conferences you can attend:

B2B Content Marketing

Customer Success

B2B Sales

  • AA-ISP’s Digital Sales World 2019 – May 14 / London, United Kingdom, June 13 / Dallas & September 12, 2019 / Norwood
  • G2 Crowd’s Reach.2019 – September 11, 2019 / Chicago

Industry Events

Events and conferences are shortcuts to target markets. To speed up product-market validation or accelerate your startup’s growth, you can attend your customers’ industry events or visit your customers’ watering hole.

Maybe it’s the HR Technology Expo if you’re targeting HR professionals or the DIA 2019 Global Annual Meeting if you sell pharma companies.

Before attending any conference, try to understand the types of professional targeted by the event organizers. You’ll get a positive return on investment if there’s a fit between the event’s attendees and your ideal customer profile.

If there’s no fit, the event might not be worth your time.

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