10 ways you can develop your business with a client success story
In any professional services or technology business, a customer reference is the DNA for success. A great client success story demonstrates to future buyers how like-minded businesses are achieving the outcomes they want as a direct result of your services or solutions.
Firms that merely go through the motion of getting a case study for their sales activity are missing a trick. To be a growth organisation, you need to put your client success to work. Your case studies need to and help influence business development activities, enhance your reputation and build your brand.
If the hardest part to getting a great success story in place, don’t waste it once you finally have the client approval. Make case studies central to your content strategy. Create a clear process that puts them to work and makes them lead-generating in their own right. Build out your case study programme to include the right mix of these 10 key marketing activities and prioritise them to support your business and marketing strategies.
#1 Social Media – The centre of any content machine is customer success stories. Make sure you target the industries with the appropriate success stories and a regular tailored message. Using Sales Navigator will make this much easier. Mine your stories for takeaways and quotes that clients and prospects will be happy to like and share. Consider how you brand your digital assets so that sharing the story becomes a win/win for you and for your client.
#2 Effective Websites – Make your customer success one of the first things visitors to your website will see. Even better, make any tangible success prominent with obvious calls to action. This will earn you the right to showcase your portfolio of services. A client results-led website will generate more leads and accelerate your sales cycle.
#3 Credible campaigns– Any campaigns you run will mean more and be more credible if potential customers can identify with you. Use approved customer success to help buyers on their decision-making journey and help lead generation. Without customer endorsement, it’s just noise.
#4 Speaker Opportunities – Are there any industry and partner conferences where your client would be a perfect fit? Your client will present your business much more credibly than you can and their success story helps build out the story. Sharing a panel or the stage with a client speaks volumes about your partnership approach to business.
#5 Awards – Can your client’s programme of work win a recognised industry award? The great thing about entering an award with a client success story is that it makes the award submission process very easy. You are also more likely to get buy-in and support from your client. And winning benefits both of you.
#6 Sales Presentations – It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it. A sales pitch needs to follow the persuasive cycle outlining the relevance of your solution to the customer and providing evidence it works. That’s where the case studies come in. Keep them highly visual and include results and testimonials. You should be able to lift these directly from the case study. Just make sure they are relevant and where possible, from the same industry.
#7 Client Referral – If your client is happy for you to document their success and approves a case study, go one step further: ask them if they would refer you, or even better, be part of your referral programme. Keep your advocates close and they will make a point of referring new business your way.
#8 Roundtables – There are 3 elements to successfully identify new business. Firstly, you need great references, secondly a great proposition and thirdly a quality relationship in place. Getting on the phone doesn’t work. Industry aligned and intimate roundtables that include 2 or 3 of your close customer references are the perfect seed bed for new opportunity.
#9 Thought leadership – Given the brand power and opportunities that come from a client success stories it is worth giving access to them on your website without requiring an email address. Collated by industry or solution, they are perfect foundation content for marketing white papers and eBooks and other high-value content that you can require an email for as they make it easy to create calls to action across your website. Client stories that outline best-practice or a novel approach to solving a problem can also repurposed in the form of a guest blog and published on your website.
#10 Wins and Go Lives – It doesn’t have to be a full-blown case study. Write a short news announcement every time you get a new win, or every time a project goes live. If you get a good process in place, these will get easier with time, and will facilitate future success stories. All you need is a testimonial and a couple of paragraphs of quality content. They are great for digital lead-generating activities and social media.
A case study is just the start. There are so many easy avenues to explore and develop new business opportunities. Don’t let them these crown jewels sit on the shelf. Act now to get a ROS (Return on Success).