Once they've agreed to answer your questions, schedule a call with them so you can have a fluid conversation. We recommend using an online meeting tool so you can schedule it without a lot of back-and-forth, and also record the conversation for your reference later -- with their permission.
Be sure to tag your case studies so it's easy for prospective customers (not to mention your sales team) to find them, as shown by the "Topics" section on the right in the example below. The executive summary is also a great place to showcase 2–3 metrics that highlight your customer's success so you can grab your reader's attention from the get-go.
2) About the Client
Pull a short description of your customer from LinkedIn or their company website, and link to their homepage. For example, for ShoreTel, the "About the Client" section reads:
ShoreTel, Inc. is a leading provider of brilliantly simple IP phone systems and unified communications solutions. Its award-winning on-premises IP-PBX solution and cloud-based hosted phone system, ShoreTel Sky, eliminate complexity and improve productivity. ShoreTel is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., and has regional offices and partners worldwide.
3) The Challenges
What challenges was your customer facing before using your product or service? Write 2–3 short paragraphs (under 100 words total) describing what your customer was doing before they bought from you, and the challenges this presented and/or what goals were trying to be achieved.
In our example, we wrote:
“Last Generation” Marketing Tools Limited Their Ability to Execute
Michael Freeman, Senior Manager of Search & Analytics for ShoreTel, was frustrated by how the limitations of the marketing tools used by the team impeded their ability to execute their ideal strategies. The main system they used to support shoretel.com and shoretelsky.com was Eloqua, which they found to be inflexible, slow and not user-friendly. “You either had an extremely limited set of tools to work with or you had to go hire a custom developer to implement a basic landing page... It became something I dreaded logging into,” says Freeman.
The whole team believed in inbound marketing, but didn’t have the right toolset to implement it. When the opportunity came up to evaluate other marketing software options, Freeman jumped on it.
Quick tip: Write about the challenges that are most common within your target audience so this part resonates with the most people.
4) The Solution
Write 2–3 short paragraphs (100–150 words total) describing how your company worked with your customer to find a solution to their challenges and implement a winning strategy. Use this space to describe how they are now using your product or service to solve their challenges from the previous section.
He required a system that would grow with the business; this eliminated many vendors when combined with his desire for software that is easy-to-use. His decision came down to HubSpot and Marketo. “We felt that [Marketo was] a new and improved version of marketing automation but that’s only a part of what we were trying to implement with inbound marketing... We chose HubSpot because we felt it was the most complete solution available in the market, and more importantly, would continue to innovate in the market because someone at HubSpot is always asking: how does that fit into inbound marketing?”
This is a section where you can make your offering shine, so don't be shy!
Write a 2–3 paragraph conclusion to prove that your product/service impacted the customer’s business and helped them to achieve their goals. Feel free to repeat the metrics from the bullet points in your introductory section as part of the text, particularly if they’ve been able to quantify or speak to the ROI of their investment.
Then, if appropriate, end your story on your client’s aspirations for future growth with your company.
ShoreTel Responds to the Market Faster with HubSpot
Freeman is a stickler for analytics and has the metrics to show that ShoreTel’s decision to take a more inbound marketing approach and use HubSpot has paid off. Year-over-year, he has seen a 60% increase in organic search traffic, a 36% increase in leads, and a 110% increase in qualified leads.
Most of all, Freeman finds having an all-in-one marketing platform helps him to execute his marketing campaigns more quickly. "Part of being successful at inbound marketing is to be fast and agile and have analytics… too many systems just create hurdles for you. Having one integrated system helps me create campaigns faster and address the needs of our market."
Pick one or two quotes that you would feature at the bottom of one of your case study’s sections. Include a head shot of your customer alongside the quote.
Feel free to insert additional quotes into the body of your case study if you feel you have enough and they are compelling.
If you could have one visual to support the story, what would it be?
Highlight Case Study Data
Use an image that highlights your product or showcases how that customer used it – not just an image of your product – it should show how happy it made their team, the success they saw and bring the story to life.