Client case studies are a critical part of a successful B2B connect strategy. They demonstrate real benefits and outcomes a company can provide its clients. Potential clients may feel confident they will receive the same benefits and outcomes upon working with that company. Writing a B2B case study can drive new business with this in mind.
But case studies can hurt brands if they aren’t implemented correctly. Case studies that are poorly written or don’t demonstrate real value can put a B2B company in a bad light. Marketers and marketing firms need best practices to produce and share case studies effectively. This is critical for a startup or small business still establishing its reputation.In this guide, we explore winning opportunities and best practices for B2B case studies. We establish the content, format, and writing style that make case studies compelling. We also provide you with a downloadable B2B case study template that is free to access today.
What is a B2B Case Study?
A B2B case study is a true story about how one business helped another. It demonstrates the value of its work to potential clients. HubSpot’s article, How to Write a Case Study: Bookmarkable Guide & Template, provides a more direct definition: “A specific challenge a business has faced, and the solution they’ve chosen to solve it.” It exhibits a B2B company’s products or services delivering real results.
Case studies are somewhat unique to B2B industries. Consumers can access honest product reviews before they purchase; they can return products they buy then dislike.
These opportunities often aren’t available to B2B buyers. The outcomes of their investments are harder to predict. Their potential losses are often much greater as well.
Why Case Studies Are Essential to Your Connect Strategy
B2B companies interested in products and services face a lot of risk with these factors in mind. Their budgets are often limited, but nonetheless substantial. They often must choose between a variety of similar providers when investing in new solutions as well.
B2B case studies can help them determine which B2B vendor is:
- the right fit for their needs
- the most likely to provide a good working experience
- the most likely to deliver the results they want
- the best candidate for a long-term partnership
A Critical Tool for Any Startup or Small Business
Case studies are important tools for all B2B business models. However, they are especially valuable to startups and small businesses. These companies often don’t have the budgets for costly advertising campaigns.
They often don’t have much clout within their target markets, either. But even just one or two happy clients can contribute to compelling case studies that drive future business.
Proven Results for Marketers and B2B Marketing firms
According to a 2021 report by Content Marketing Institute, B2B case studies produce better results than long articles, infographics, live streaming content, and podcasts.The size of a given company has little bearing on that success. That means small businesses, startups, enterprises, and marketing firms servicing those companies, all should consider case studies as part of their marketing mix.
5 Aspects of a Successful B2B Case Study Format
As marketers at Liger Partners, we have extensive experience working on our clients’ case studies. We have produced several of our own case studies as well. But there are specific parties involved in any case study, which are:
- the vendor, who provided the services and whom the case study paints in a positive light.
- the subject, who realized positive results through their use of the vendor’s products or services.
- the author, who writes the case study on behalf of the vendor (e.g., a marketer, an agency).
- the prospect or prospects, who are the case study’s readers and potential clients of the vendor.
Here we share the five aspects we find make any case study successful.
The Title and Subtitle
The title and subtitle should briefly highlight the subject’s accomplishments through their work with the vendor. They should include specific, tangible business results where possible.
Often it’s best for the author to create the title and subtitle after the body of the case study is written. That way, the writer can more accurately capture the essence of the case study in the title and working title.
However, the writer may wish to add contributing ideas as they write the body text. The writer also may wish to “set aside” any metrics they feel could be useful when producing the title and subtitle later.
The author should briefly introduce the subject and its purpose for working with the vendor. This involves clearly highlighting a business need. For example, the subject may wish to improve a poor customer experience or add efficiencies to existing workflows with the vendor’s support.
The author should aim to produce roughly 60 to 75 words in this section.
The author should demonstrate how the vendor took action to resolve the subject’s business challenge. The author should include specific information about the vendor’s process and solution. The author’s goal should be to demonstrate the vendor’s proficiency in these areas. This way, prospects interested in similar capabilities will perceive the company as an expert and winning partner.
As before, the author should aim to produce roughly 60 to 75 words in this section.
The case study should include an aside featuring a robust, compelling testimonial from a prominent person within the subject company. The easiest way to get this type of testimonial is via an interview with this person. The interviewee will provide the testimonial more naturally as part of the conversation than when offered up alone.
The testimonial should highlight the subject’s purpose in working with the vendor; but also, the details of their results and their positive feelings about their experience. The testimonial should appear on the page as an aside alongside the “Solution” section. (The author may wish to include shorter testimonials as sentences within the body text as well.)
The author should share the real results from the subject’s and vendor’s collaboration. For example, if the collaboration improved the experience the subject provides its customers, the author should describe the manner in which it delivered on that goal. The author should highlight the subject’s sentiments and positive outlook for the future as a result.
The author should consider including a testimonial in the body text of this section—one that neatly closes out the case study. For example, the author could quote a prominent person within the subject company saying, “We look forward to continuing our partnership with [subject] as our business grows.”
As with the previous two sections, the author should aim for 60 to 75 words in this section. Visually, this creates a symmetry across the page that is appealing and digestible for readers.
Download Our B2B Case Study Template
Every B2B case study is different in terms of its story. However, a common, proven format ensures readers both digest the important elements of each story and enjoy the reading experience.
Be sure to share this guide with your marketing team or agency with this end in mind. And for a more practical approach, download our editable B2B case study template by clicking the button below.