An important part of my job at Prospect.io is to help customers write email campaigns. You’d be amazed at how many of them think it’s a good idea to talk only about their products for five or six emails in a row.
Don’t get me wrong, that approach can sometimes work. But if people don’t respond to your first few messages, you might need to up your game, offer something more, and tell prospects how existing customers use your product.
Use the following five techniques at various steps in your sales and marketing campaigns to add more value for prospects and increase conversions:
1. Case Studies
Case studies are powerful because they show how one of your customers solved a specific problem successfully and with measurable results using your company's pro.
Don’t believe me? Neil Patel, co-founder of KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg, managed to increase his sales by 70% by including case studies in his emails!
Case studies allow you to:
Business people are out for results. We, for example, sell to hungry, result-driven sales teams at Prospect.io. And believe me, it’s hard to grab a salesperson’s attention, let alone sell them something.
On the other hand, once we start showing undeniable results obtained by some of our customers using our product, the whole dynamic changes.
Not only will showing business value get your prospect interested, it’s also a great opportunity to help them learn something new about the issue they’re facing, what they can do about it, and what results they can achieve — all by showing how others did it.
Since a case study allows you to showcase your product in a non-pushy way, why not take advantage of the situation and show how it solved a problem in a way that others products couldn’t?
There are probably dozens of other companies tackling the same issue in a similar way. Show them why yours is different.
Seeing the details of how someone else managed to get value and obtain results out of your product helps diminish the perceived risk in the eyes of your prospect. Less risk equals less sales friction.
What should be included in a good case study?
Here’s what should be included in a case study, as adapted from Australia's Monash University:
Synopsis: Give the reader some context about the situation your customer was in before they used your product to solve it. Point out their business challenges.
Findings: Summarize what came from a customer using your product so the benefits appear clearly to your prospect. Use real numbers to show transparency and instill credibility.
Discussion: Lay out the step-by-step process you and your customer used to solve the specific challenges.
Conclusion: Sum up the main points and emphasize how the prospect can benefit from the approach your customer used.
Not convinced? Check out how one of Prospect.io’s customers garnered a 31% response rate thanks to following up with a case study.
I reviewed our latest discussion and I realized that one of our current customers used to face the same issues you do now. They were growing and delivering value but couldn’t figure out how to deal with [SPECIFIC PAIN POINT].
Here’s the link to a doc with the all the details of how we helped them resolve the issue; it should at least give you a few ideas about how to proceed and up your game! Would love your feedback on this!
2. Success Stories
Hold on! Aren’t success stories and case studies the same thing? No, they’re not, and testimonials are something else entirely!
Success stories aren’t about diving deep into the case; rather, they’re about summarizing the successful experience of a customer with your company, just enough to pique interest. Case studies, on the other hand, focus on the methods implemented to make that experience successful.
Longtime case study writer Matt Duczeminski makes a good case explaining the difference on his blog.
The further you get in the marketing and sales process, the more likely your prospect is to raise objections. Think of objections as stories; they're projections of what might go wrong or might not work.
That’s when success stories come in handy. Once you have identified your prospect’s “anti-stories,” you know how to counter with stories about when things turned out great for someone in the same situation.
Conversely, work on identifying these anti-stories so that marketers and sales reps ready to get them off the table as soon as possible.
What should be included in a good success story?
Remember, a success story is a story, and it needs to be structured as such. Project Open has a great outline of the process:
The Hero: Give your prospect some info about the hero — your customer. Include the customer's past successes and any recent changes.
The Initial Situation: Obviously, the hero isn’t happy with the original situation. Give an overview.
The Challenges: This is when you highlight what makes the initial situation so unsatisfying for the customer and the reasons the hero decided to go on a quest for a solution. These pain points are important, so make it clear why they cost more than the implementation of your product.
The Quest: Let's go on an adventure! Describe how the customer overcame the obstacles and solved the problems in the initial situation. Explain how you and your customer worked together to beat adversity.
Results: Lay out the results of the product implementation with actual numbers, and describe how this new situation is better than the initial one.
I know we tend to feel lonely in front of obstacles, which is why I want to share a couple of stories with you. These customers were also struggling with [SPECIFIC PAIN POINT]. Here’s how they managed to overcome it:
Link to story 1
Link to story 2
Link to story 3
Are these relevant to you? Please let me know!
This time, you’re not the one telling the story; your satisfied customer is. And it can have a tremendous impact.
In fact, putting user-generated content — such as customer testimonials — on product pages can boost conversions by up to 64%.
Here are other benefits to customer testimonials:
When peers or people they admire say they had a great experience with your product, prospects tend to be more trusting. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your product is right for them, but it shows that your company delivers the benefits it promises.
Selling Without Selling
Since the words are coming straight from customer's mouth, using testimonials avoids being too "sales-y" while bringing an honest report of the benefits of working with you.
Some people are just hard to convince. But a powerful testimonial can really show them that your product actually makes a difference for customers and is worth evaluating.
What should be included in a good testimonial?
Benefits. Praise is good, but it doesn’t explain why the product is so great. Get your customers to state clear benefits.
Data. You don’t need a full report, but backing up the claims with some data is always good. “Thanks to your tool, we managed to cut down the time we spend prospecting and reaching out to prospects by 40%.”
Relatability. Your testimonials should come from people your audience can relate to, in terms of company size, job title, industry, and region. For example, even though we deal with a few enterprise-level companies, and their testimonials are valuable to us, we’d rather hear it from smaller firms with five to 50 employees because they represent the majority of our customer base.
Comparison. It’s a good thing to know why customers went with you, but it’s even better if they can say why they chose you over the competition, which your prospect is more than likely evaluating.
Some customers of ours were also facing [SPECIFIC PAIN POINT], and we helped them solve it. Here’s what they have to say about it:
Link to testimonial 1
Link to testimonial 2
Link to testimonial 3
It’s always exciting for us to come across these! They should give you an idea of how we can help you and how the product works.
Was that relevant? Please let me know!
According to sales expert Joanne Black, referrals can help close new clients more than 50% of the time. That means more new business with fewer leads.
The one thing that needs to be executed well to ensure your referral is successful? The introduction.
You can still do some decent work without it, but having one of your customers introducing you to their acquaintance makes things incredibly easier for you because:
You bypass the gatekeeper and immediately get to the decision-maker.
You instantly get ahead of your competition.
You earn trust and credibility in the eyes of your prospect.
Having been referred, new customers might then offer introductions themselves.
For help on asking for referrals, read entrepreneur John Rampton’s guide.
You mentioned that you were having trouble with [SPECIFIC PAIN POINT]; I think this could help you.
A few months ago, I was also dealing with some [SPECIFIC PAIN POINT] issues and Forster was able to really help us do X and X and solve them.
I’ll let you two discuss this, I hope it works out!
5. Relevant content
If you don’t have any customer data to share — or none that would be relevant to your prospect — you can still offer value by including a piece of useful content.
It’s easy, and it shows you took the time to understand a prospect’s challenge and find something that could help them solve it without necessarily including your product in the process.
You mentioned that you were dealing with [SPECIFIC PAIN POINT]; I think this could help you.
I just came across this infographic that really seems to sum up the issue you’re facing. It contains some sound advice too!
What do you think?
Use customers as product ambassadors
If you focus on offering value, you’ll never run out of things to say to your prospects when building a meaningful relationship.
Also, your existing customers are your best ambassadors. Using their experience with your product won’t just get you more new customers, it’s also a great way to actually learn how you bring value to those customers.
How do you take advantage of your customers’ experience and bring value to new ones? Leave your ideas in the comments.
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