How to sell without selling: crafting the perfect IT case study

How To Sell Without Selling

Gaining the trust of a potential client can be challenging. And sales tactics can make clients run the other way, as they don’t like to be actively sold to. But research has shown that people are open to connecting with brands through reading case studies or customer success stories.

Case studies explain a challenge a business is facing, what they did to resolve that problem and the result. They can be presented on a webpage, as a whitepaper or as a video, and can vary in length.

An IT case study is a way of telling a story about your services and how you helped your client, without putting the spotlight on you. It demonstrates your client’s problems, the solution or service that was implemented and the benefits your client received from the work that was done. It’s a happy ever after ending.

Why produce case studies

Although case studies may seem daunting and a lot of work, it’s worth the time and effort.

They build brand trust in your business because they illustrate the perspective of one of your clients. You aren’t standing on a soapbox telling them how amazing you are, it’s your client telling them about their experience with you and how it changed their organisation. It’s social proof that your business is amazing.

It’s a chance for you to showcase the journey of transformation your services can bring about. Having your customer tell the story of how you helped them is much more engaging and is the perfect way to show them your work. What’s the other option? Telling them how amazing your work is without any proof which we know doesn’t work.

And through storytelling you create a connection with your potential client. If your reader is facing similar challenges that your case study client was facing, then they see that connection. It shows them that you understand their problem and have fixed it for someone else, so you will likely be able to solve their problem too.

People seek out recommendations and check online reviews when they have a problem and are looking for help to solve it. Your customer success stories (or case studies) are exactly that, online recommendations, social proof that you can do the job. And that can be the push they need to make contact. Imagine people knocking on your door, instead of you knocking on theirs for business.

Case studies are versatile and can be shared on your social media channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram, as well as be featured on your website. You can also share snippets in your email newsletter to your potential and current clients (as an upsell) and direct them to your website to read the whole thing (there’s some SEO love there too).

Before you start writing

Before you start writing a case study you need to consider a few things: who’s your audience and how to select a client to feature in the success story.

Who’s your audience? With an IT case study your potential client might be from an industry you are targeting (e.g. retail, accounting or not-for-profit) or from a particular sized business (e.g. a business with 150 staff or $150m turnover per year). You want to consider what challenges that business would be facing, so you can present a case study they can relate to.

For example, if you are targeting not-for-profits you want to be talking about the specific pain points they’re facing, like budget restraints, ability to work remotely and meeting the Boards’ expectations (and keeping them happy).

This brings us to the next point, how to select a client to feature in the case study? Let’s continue with the not-for-profit example, if you are targeting not-for-profits, then select a client in that industry that you have a good relationship with.  

You will need to seek their approval and interview them to get their side of the story. They will be able to tell you more about the problems they were facing when they sought you out, and how it really transformed their business. When sitting on the managed service provider side you can’t see the real impact of your work, and you’ll be impressed when you hear the client’s side.

You may feel nervous about asking a client to be featured because you don’t want to interrupt them or take up too much of their time. But clients are honoured when you ask them to take part in a case study and they become your brand advocate.

What to include

So, you’ve decided on who you are targeting, the client to feature in the case study and you’ve got their permission. What do I include in the actual case study?

A cases study has five main sections.

When you have written the case study follow your normal internal approval process. But remember to run it past your client before you publish it, to ensure its accurate and aligns with their business.

And at the end, feel free to add a quote from the company, just for that extra bit of social proof.

If you like the idea of case studies check out some examples of IT case studies.

Don’t have time to manage the publishing of your own IT case studies? By partnering with an MSP digital marketing agency you will have access to a team of professional content writers who can manage your complete digital marketing needs.  Talk to the MSP digital marketing experts today.

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