Why Case Studies Matter for Bidding and Tendering

BY Steven Peters
September 7, 2023

Case studies are the most persuasive proof that you can include within a tender submission. A good case study demonstrates that you have:

  • Excelled on past contracts of comparable size and scope
  • Delivered similar projects on time and within budget
  • Anticipated and/or navigated potential contract disruptions

A bidding company that claims to be ‘highly experienced’ will almost always lose out to a competitor that’s able to back up its experience with accolades, compelling customer testimonials, and case studies.

Importance of case studies spans every industry

What do an escape room creator, a general contractor, and an AWS cloud services provider have in common? Answer: All of their buyers want tangible proof that they’re the right fit for the job.

In fact, according to Demand Gen’s 2022 Content Preference report, case studies are one of the most valuable types of B2B content (second only to research/survey reports) that buyers consider before making a purchase.

This aligns with what Eric Reynolds, cofounder of Mobile Escape, shared with us about why case studies are so important to him and his business:

“Any time you create a custom activation, like the ones we can make, it’s a large investment. There’s a certain degree of assurance that you need that the project will accomplish its needed goals.”

For Mobile Escape, their ‘custom activation’ is a bespoke educational product. They developed a ‘Mission to Mars’ escape room-style game for Ag for Life, which teaches students about agricultural safety through a fun and interactive medium. Mobile Escape then created a case study about that product, and now leverages that success story to win future bids.

“The case study is a key piece of the bidding process, of establishing a relationship with potential clients, and establishing levels of trust and professionalism that would be difficult to do otherwise,” Eric says.

This best-practice advice spans industries. For example, myComply’s advice to construction companies and general contractors is that including a case study within a tender is the best way to highlight qualifications.

And when it comes to sensitive topics, like security and compliance, there’s no better collateral than a case study to prove that you have the chops. MJ DiBerardino, CEO of Cloudnexa, says:

“When we’re dealing with security and compliance on AWS, there’s no client that just takes your word for it. A high percentage, 90–100% of them, ask for materials that prove you have the capability to deliver.”

MJ also shared how important case studies are for Cloudnexa in terms of ‘getting a seat at the table’ in the bidding and tendering process.

[Case studies help] get you in the door. If you’re not sitting at the table, you miss the opportunity.

— MJ DiBerardino, CEO of Cloudnexa

Create a case study for every type of project

The important caveat to all of this is that your examples need to be relevant. If you’ve only ever built backyard treehouses, you’re not going to win a bid on a new skyscraper, no matter how polished your case study. If you don’t have relevant examples to share, it’s time to invest in some updated content.

Winning bids work in line with buyer requirements and specifications. Case studies included within tender submissions should communicate:

  • How you delivered against requirements on a similar project, such as consistently meeting or exceeding KPIs
  • Why you’re equipped to handle the scope of work
  • Your experience and professionalism in that sector or industry
  • How you overcame challenges during project execution/mobilization
  • Your ability to work efficiently with other third-party contractors
  • How the personnel and skills required for that project are transferable to the new contract 

To be clear: you do not need a tailored case study for each and every tender submission, but you do need a library of relevant contracts to share that your sales team can use to showcase how your experience is translatable… and how it fits the buyer’s needs.

To quote MJ DiBerardino: “The sales team just wants more and more, right? They know the value of it. We’re showing off our diverse services.”

Situation-specific success stories can also be amazing sales enablers. Examples of how you deal with prominent industry challenges and/or prevalent real-world crises make for especially compelling case studies.

For example:

  • Is security and compliance a hot-button issue in your industry? Create a case study that painstakingly details all the safeguards you put in place that helped a buyer avoid a potential catastrophe.
  • Does your industry struggle with supply chain issues? Create a case study that talks about changes you made to mitigate disruptions and ensure that everything was efficient and on time.
  • Did a crisis like Covid-19 or an economic downturn shake up daily life? Describe how you adapted to and overcame the challenge—or how you helped a customer do the same.

Make sure that the example you share pertains to the contract you’re bidding for, and demonstrates your aptitude clearly and concisely.

Remember: a good case study doesn’t simply shout, ‘Look what we did.’ Instead, it tells a buyer, ‘Look what we can do for you.’

Organizations are looking for as much proof of concept as they can get before investing. They appreciate historical proof to give them assurance that we will be able to deliver on what we say we will do.

– Eric Reynolds, Cofounder of Mobile Escape

Want to improve your chances on that next make-or-break bid?

Ask Case Study Buddy about turning your relevant wins into your most powerful sales assets.

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