A great case study shows your potential customers how you’ve solved problems for customers just like them. It provides social proof that your product or service can solve their problems too.
But if your case studies are highly disorganized and unappealing, nobody’s going to bother diving in to find out why your services are worth it.
To tackle the key problem of lengthy, boring content and short attention spans, you need the best case study format to engage your buyer personas quickly and keep them locked in.
Read on to learn how to structure the perfect case study so that you have the perfect format to turn every potential client into a sale.
Some context: What is a case study and why are they important for sales?
In sales, a case study is any success story, evidence, or data that shows how your product or service benefited a customer. Case studies tend to show how a customer overcame a problem, using your product or service as the solution.
One in five sales professionals complain that they don’t have effective sales content to meet their targets — case studies help to tackle this issue.
Case studies are especially helpful in B2B sales.
They provide data-focused sales content that helps buyers in the top- or middle-of-the-funnel research phase to understand why your product is the best proposed solution.
In fact, 29% of B2B buyers say that case studies are their most important research resource when making purchases, and 54% say they engaged with case studies when making their last purchase.
Not only that, but 31% of B2B buyers are willing to share personal and company details to access a case study, making them a great lead capture tool as well.
But that’s not the only place in the buyer’s journey that you can use case studies.
Case studies help to educate a potential customer all the way down the line, from the research phase through the buying stages and into the retention stages.
The versatility of case studies is one of the reasons that 32% of organizations leverage them for sales.
Through well-structured social proof, case studies help to build up trust with your target audience by offering solid evidence that you deliver on your promises.
For your sales team, case studies are a top marketing and sales tool that provides supporting evidence for building sales cases, controlling the narrative, and batting away any objections.
By demonstrating a clear example of your proposed solution in action, case studies can help people see how your product will help them, based on how you’ve helped similar customers in their industry.
Why is a video case study the best format for conversions?
If a picture speaks a thousand words, just imagine what a video can say.
Video is easily the most effective sales and marketing tool for companies that use it.
78% of video marketers say that video has directly helped increase sales, 84% claim it’s helped them generate leads, and 86% saying that video has increased traffic to their website.
No wonder 43% of marketers are now creating video as a form of social proof.
As Todd Harris, director of marketing at Celect, explains, “Whitepapers, datasheets, ebooks — those are great, but the real power is having your customer speak for you.”
This is where a video marketing case study comes in.
Not only are videos more engaging than case study writing, but they also get the relevant facts across clearer and with a greater human connection.
Straight from the horse’s mouth, a video case study is a personalized testimonial recommending your services directly from the person who benefited from your solution.
In this respect, a video case study works as a neatly packaged, highly engaging sales tool to connect with your buyer personas and provide solid evidence of your solution.
As Todd Harris goes on to explain, “It’s offered the sales team the ability to always have something to send to any type of existing prospect that’s in the pipeline at any stage.”
8 video case study format best practices
To create the perfect case study, you need a clear case study template to follow.
Knowing what to include in your study and which order to present it in can make the difference between a potential client choosing you or opting for alternative solutions.
Follow this case study template to create a winning business case study that convinces your target audience that you’re worth your salt.
1. Get your customer to present the video
Good social proof can boost your conversions by 34%. And what better form of social proof than to have your happy customers speak directly to your potential client?
When picking a case study candidate, there’s no better supporting evidence than the person who feels your solution was the one that solved their problem.
Speaking directly from experience, candidates that present their own case analysis inject the story with emotion and human connection, showing how you truly lifted a weight from their shoulders.
Choose a case study candidate from each industry, job role, and business model you service, so you can show how diverse yet relevant your solution is.
Having cases that represent all your buyer personas allows you to have supporting evidence ready to present to your different target audiences.
Check out this case study example from Onera talking about Explainify’s services.
The product lead speaks directly to potential Explainfy clients to break down the issues her company was having and how Explainify’s product solved those.
2. Start with a hook
Reel in potential clients with a hook related to how your specific strategy saved the day for the client.
Start with a one-to-two-sentence snippet that catches attention, such as a qualitative result or an aspect of your service that stood out to the customer.
This draws in prospective customers from the get-go. They don’t need to read a whole essay or watch an entire video before they understand how you solve problems. They get the gist from the beginning.
Take this case study of GreatHorn, for example.
It’s presented by Lorita Ba, the VP of marketing.
The first thing she says when the case study begins is:
“The thing that I really appreciated about Testimonial Hero has been the commitment and understanding of what we’re trying to achieve. I can be comfortable and confident that I’m always going to get a high-quality product that meets exactly what I want.”
Without giving any background information, she shows exactly why the solution is valuable straight off the bat.
3. Give a background of the company
Once you've hooked your prospect, give them a rundown of the case study candidate.
Ideally, your sales team will show prospective clients relevant case studies. By giving background information about the company, you draw a connection between the prospect and the past customer.
You’re effectively saying, ‘if this solution works for them, it will work for you.’
Make sure you give background on the company’s industry, their specialty, the types of products they sell, and how their team works.
That way, you have multiple points of relevance for all different potential clients.
Check out this case study where Propel Technologies is explaining how they used RingLogix.
The case is presented by the founder of Propel Technologies, who explains exactly what the company does, how it operates, and the size of its customer base.
4. Describe the key problem
Clearly explain the situation that your customer was facing before they turned to you for a solution.
Outline what they were doing before and how this was negatively impacting their operations and bottom line.
For sales reps, they can use this case study as supporting evidence for a potential client with the same issue. Prospects can sympathize and put themselves in your customer’s shoes.
Having your case study candidate explain the impacts of the problem shows your prospect what will happen if they don’t address the issue.
Look at this Tarsus case study example, for instance.
Before implementing UI Path, Tarsus found it couldn’t cope with the workload it was experiencing.
As Supply Chain Executive Tim Proome explains, “Prior to UIPath’s RPA solution, we found ourselves in the situation where we were very manual — a large portion of our work was data-capturing, we were inconsistent in our workflows, inaccurate, and we didn’t have the ability to scale for our clients.”
Prospects in a similar situation can relate to this problem, making them more open to seeing UI Path as a solution.
5. Explain how you tackled the issue
Take this opportunity to run through the exact solution you put in place.
Don’t ramble on about everything you did. Simply explain the analysis process and then jump into clear steps of how you helped the customer overcome their key problem.
This gives your prospects an idea of what they can expect when they pick your products or services.
They can get a grasp on the scope of work that’s involved and what a similar solution may look like for their organization.
Take this case study by Symmons, for example.
Jake Matulewicz breaks down the process Testimonial Hero went through to find an appropriate solution. He explains exactly how customer evidence videos are conceptualized, scripted, produced, and delivered in just a few concise sentences.
6. Outline the benefits of your involvement
Take a moment to revel in your glory, explaining the positive impacts your solution brought to the company.
Explain exactly why the company liked working with you and what they gained from implementing your services.
Acting as social proof, this shows prospects the results they can expect by picking your proposed solution.
Westside Family Medicine does this particularly well in their case study for Klara.
The Practice Manager, Mazel Malayev, says, “Patients love Klara. It’s fast, convenient, easy.”
Bertie Bregman, Family Medicine Practitioner, supports this by saying, “People say the office runs smoothly, we’re easy to get in touch with, we get back to patients.”
7. Get an explicit recommendation
Don't mince your words — say what you mean and make sure your clients do, too. Get them to explicitly recommend your services to your future clients.
This is an especially effective tactic for a video case study, as prospects can see a satisfied customer personally recommending your brand. If it’s a written case study, try to get a quotation.
Look at how MoodFabrix recommends Adfix, for example.
As co-owner Eric Sauma puts it, “I would definitely and highly recommend Adfix. They’re a great partner and most importantly, I think they do care.”
8. Keep it under two minutes
Don’t belabor the point. Write a concise script and keep it under two minutes.
Not only will keeping it short and sweet make sure your audience stays engaged, but it also makes your video case study a great marketing tool to use on social media.
Short videos provide good shareable content, and viewers are more likely to watch them until the end. Long videos are passed over.
People have short attention spans, so get straight to the point quickly and concisely.
What’s the best case study format for written case studies?
Not all case studies are suitable for video.
You may want a hard copy to mail out to prospective buyers, or you might want to provide a more detailed study to some prospects.
While videos are short and to the point, written case studies allow you to go into more depth.
Since they tend to be longer, these case studies are usually more suitable for customers in the lower stages of your sales funnel who are already hooked into your company as a prospective solution.
Written case studies should stick to a structured format.
Try this case study format when creating a written case:
- Structured abstract or executive summary: This is a brief overview of the case study
- Company background information: Who the company is, what they do, and who they cater to
- Business situation: An overview of the key problem and its impact
- Solutions and implementations: An outline of the solution you put in place and how you implemented it
- Results and benefits: An explanation of the outcomes and the benefits this had for the company
Remember to include numbers.
Relevant facts and specific numerical data provide great supporting evidence for your solution and offer a good measuring stick to help customers compare your products to alternative solutions.
In today’s world, where attention spans are short and information needs to be engaging, videos offer the best case study format to capture your prospects quickly and provide them with detailed information in a persuasive way.
Remember, while it’s wise to keep video case studies brief, you’ll need to include all key information that helps to build a sales case for similar prospects. Don’t forget to start with a catchy hook to really reel them in.
If you need help creating a captivating case study video to land more prospects, speak to the experts at Testimonial Hero.