How to Create SaaS Case Studies That Sell

The 7 Essential Things Needed in an Effective Case Study

Consider your customer’s path before purchasing.

Where do they go?

At some point they likely look you up on Google and as a startup talked to someone you’ve already worked with.

Social proof is everywhere. You use it every day to inform your new decisions.

In fact with a study by BrightLocal, 68% of consumers polled stated they trusted a business more that had positive reviews.

B2C, B2B- it doesn’t matter. Having testimonials and case studies in place can help drive leads to purchase. Every case study you create should include the following:

1. Make it scannable

Walls of text are your enemy.

Case studies need to appeal to skimmers, readers, and the final decision makers.

Readers are likely the folks that will use your software daily and want to dive into the case study.

Skimmers are those on the fence and just need the final push to contact you.

The decision maker likely heard of your company through a reader or skimmer and just needs to see proof to say yay or nay. This proof can be seeing you’ve worked with a similar company, and the metrics presented within the case study.

That said, bring out those metrics in your layout.

HubSpot includes their KPIs at the beginning of each case study.

2. A Strategic Hero

Not everyone can be endorsed by Tim Ferris. You may not think you already have a hero, but if you have customers already, you certainly do.

Your hero is likely someone you have worked with for at least six months or more and seen drastic improvements in their business since working with them.

They may be a little uncomfortable initially with the idea of a case study due to confidentiality. These concerns can be addressed by involving them in the case study approval process before publishing. Their marketing department will certainly appreciate taking a look to ensure nothing’s off-brand when discussing their company.

Going back to metrics they’ll need to have KPIs already in place around your software and the impact it has on their business. Otherwise, you won’t be able to prove your value to those who expect measurable results.

Ideally, the person you interview for a case study was there through the adoption process and not someone who started with a company two months before you interview them.

Have no success studies published and still need help figuring out who your hero is?

Create buckets of the types of customers you have or want to have. Segment by industry or business size (revenue, # of employees, Publicly traded versus Series A funded, etc.). Then place them in order in terms of who you hope to target most.

Umbel, a suite of products that helps businesses gain additional insights on their audiences, has a library of case studies users can filter by industry.

3. Pour Salt in the Wound

Customers talking about the pains and issues they were experiencing before working with you inevitably hits pain points your target market has.

Videofruit produced short films showing the very personal impacts Sling Shot made for a farmer in Asheville, North Carolina looking to launch his own business.

The video, which has over 45K+ views to date, first chronicles his struggles with Lyme Disease and having to work his way out of food stamps before even mentioning the product launch plan software Sling Shot. Bryan Harris, CEO of Videofruit cites this video case study as the #1 influencing factor on customers purchasing Sling Shot.

4. Show Customers’ Decision Process

As part of this, you talk about your customer’s buying decision process and how they confidently concluded you are the best solution for them. This process often addresses objections and questions your target market has before purchasing.

Within the decision process include:

- who was involved in making the decision

- what they were looking for in a SaaS solution before they were ready to purchase

- how your product/solution stood out to make them buy (getting someone else to say your product is easy to use is far more effective than saying it yourself. Show rather than tell)

5. Get Your Prospects To Imagine Using Your SaaS

Plant the seeds where your prospects can start seeing themselves how they would use their product by showing how a customer similar to your target market adopted your software.

Get them to talk about the features they use the most and how that helps them every day. Again, showing the benefits through social proof rather than just telling them.

6. Feature Feedback On Your On-boarding Process

With getting your leads imagining adopting your software, you’ll want to touch on how your customers perceived the on-boarding process. Hopefully, the on-boarding process is simple enough you can get your customers to declare so.

If you can get customers to talk about how smooth the on-boarding process was or how your company was flexible enough to take on additional leg work to migrate from a poorer old system, this addresses objections on how difficult it will be to move away from what they’re already doing.

Plus a smooth on-boarding process reduces churn. The most minor tweaks in on-boarding can reduce churn.

Bingo Card Creator which helps elementary teachers make in-class learning aids increased the number of users who created customized bingo cards by over 10% percent with just small changes to their UX.

7. Prod for the Details

Emotion and results driven quotes are gold for SaaS companies.

These pulled quotes can be used across mediums (Yes I just used the word medium on medium.) including drip campaigns, social media, and your home page. Here a strong interviewer who can strategically guide a conversation can make all the difference.

Bottom line: Case studies are an effective way to increase your revenue and to improve the quality of feedback that you get from your customers.

This feedback can open up further conversation with your current clients. Some of my clients have gained good scope creep with custom additions for some of their larger enterprise level clients after interviewing them as part of a case study.

If you found this post helpful, please spread the word & share it.

I’m open to accepting new clients, so if you learned something here and would like to discuss getting a case study written for your company, please reach out.

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