THIS is What’s Stopping Your Case Studies in Their Tracks

BY Holly Yoos
March 17, 2022

Fear kills more case studies than rejection or refusal ever will.

And that fear applies to both parties involved: both you and your customer.

Fortunately, you can mitigate (and even eliminate) those fears if you know what they are and what to do about them.

So let’s take a closer look at where fear comes into play—and what you (and our Case Study Buddy team) can do to shut it down.

1. Fear of asking

Companies shoot themselves in both feet constantly by simply not asking clients for customer success stories.

Why don’t they ask? A bunch of reasons:

  • They’re afraid to hear ‘no’
  • They worry they could damage the relationship.
  • They don’t want to ‘bother’ sales (or another internal team) for insight and guidance into which customers would make good case study candidates.

So what’s the solution to eliminating those fears?

Putting in a clear process for identifying good candidates and asking them to participate.

When you clearly delineate who ‘owns’ what function—and how you’ll acclimate clients to talking about KPIs regularly—you take away the fear that can exist within your own team.

2. Fear of participating

Your team’s fears aren’t the only thing stopping your case studies in their tracks.

Fear on the part of the customer is also a very real thing.

Your customers may worry about:

  • What will be disclosed
  • How they will look
  • How the assets will be used
  • How much time it will take.

Again, you can counter these fears if you know how. So let’s take a closer look at each of these in turn:

a.   What will be disclosed?

Your customer may worry that your case study will make them look bad.

Presumably, you helped them fix a problem—and they might not want to share that problem with the masses.

They don’t want to risk looking stupid or incompetent, while you play the role of knight on white horse.

And who can blame them?!

The way to alleviate this fear is to make your customer the hero of the story.

Ensure your customer is presented as the main agent for positive change by framing it along the lines of:

  • Customer cleverly identifies a problem
  • Customer bravely decides to solve it
  • Customer wisely chooses your solution
  • Customer partners with you to put the solution in place—thereby demonstrating their commitment to innovation/customer service/security/success/growth/etc.

Which is all true when you think about the story from your customers’ perspective!

And finally, you can further put fears to rest by reassuring customers that nothing will be published or shared before they’ve had a chance to review the case study and request changes they might like.

b.   How will they look?

You can overcome fears about how the customer will be represented by showing them the final outcome, including specific formats and use cases.

By sharing your other case studies with them– and seeing them in action—they can see for themselves how you’ve made your other customers look great.

This will help underline the fact that this is an opportunity to feature them and their success.

Sure, you contributed. But they get the laurels and lauds.

c.   How will the assets be used?

Some customers may worry you’ll use their case study to pitch their direct competitors. And they don’t want their competitors to hire you and get the same results they enjoyed.

Fair enough.

You can neutralize this fear by specifying exactly how you plan to use the study—and even agreeing to sign a non-compete agreement if needed.

d.   How much time will it take?

Few customers want to commit to a project that could drag on for months or require hours and hours of their time.

You can check this fear by shouldering project management and putting some firm parameters in place.

Your team should be in charge of managing all aspects of the process, from scheduling interviews to running down metrics.

Assigning a 30-minute limit to interviews may also assuage concerns.

You can also set a publication deadline to add urgency and put a firm end date to the process.

Make Case Studies Inevitable by Eliminating the Fear

After tackling hundreds of studies over the past five-plus years for our clients, we can say with confidence that eliminating fear can make case studies inevitable, not “happy accidents.”

Eradicate fear by partnering with the case study professionals.

From getting buy-in to creating final assets, we do it all and treat your clients like gold.

Contact us to start the discussion.

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