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 product for 5 or 6 emails in a row.
Don’t get me wrong, it can sometimes work. But if prospects don’t respond to your first few emails, you might need to up your game, offer something more and leverage your existing customers.
Use the following techniques at various steps in your sales/marketing campaigns and watch conversions soar!
1. Case Studies
Case studies are powerful because they show how one of your customers solved a specific problem successfully and with measurable results.
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 it 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 couldn’t have?
There are probably dozens of other companies tackling the same issue in a similar way. Show them why yours is the real deal!
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, according to Monash University:
Synopsis/Summary: Give the reader some context about the situation your customer was in before they used your product to solve it. Point out their pains.
Findings: Briefly summarize what came of it so 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 issues that needed to be dealt with.
Conclusion: Sum up the main points and point out in which your prospect could benefit from the approach your customer used.
Not convinced? Check out how one of Prospect.io’s customers managed to get 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, 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.
Matt Duczeminski makes a good case explaining the difference on his blog.
Back to emailing!
The idea here is that the further you get in the sales/marketing process, the more likely your prospect is to start raising objections.
Objections are stories, they’re a projection of what might go wrong or might not work.
As Shawn Callahan puts it: “You can’t beat a story with fact, you can only beat it with a better story.”
That’s when success stories come in handy. Once you have identified your prospect’s “anti-stories,” you know how to counter with stories where things turned out great for someone in the same situation.
Conversely, work on identifying these anti-stories as soon as possible to be 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/Customer: Give your reader/prospect some info about the customer and their organization, their past successes and the recent changes they’ve undergone.
The Initial Situation: Obviously, the Hero/Customer isn’t happy with the original situation. Give an overview.
The Challenge/The Pain Points: This is when you highlight what makes the initial situation so unsatisfying for the customer, the reasons the hero decided to go on a quest. Insist on these points and make it clear why they were costing more than the implementation of your product.
The Quest/The Implementation: I’m going on an adventure! Describe the project, how the customer overcame the obstacles and solved the problems that were challenging them in the initial situation. Explain how you and your customer worked together to beat adversity!
Results: Lay out the results of the 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.
According to Groove, testimonials on their homepage, guest post landing pages, and email marketing help increase conversions by 15%.
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 you’re not the one writing, using testimonials avoids being too "salesy" 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 your customers and is worth taking the leap.
What should be included in a good testimonial?
Praise is good, but it doesn’t explain why the product is so great. Get your customers to state clear benefits.
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%.”
Your testimonials should come from people your audience can relate to, in terms of company size, industry, localization, etc.
Even though we deal with a few enterprise-level companies, and their testimonials are valuable to us, we’d rather hear it from 5-50 employee companies since they represent 85% of our customer base.
It’s a good thing to know why they chose 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 Joanne Black, referrals can help close new customers/clients at least 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?
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, they might, as a customer, offer introductions themselves
Want to know more? Here’s John Rampton’s guide to asking for referrals!
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 valuable content.
It’s easy and it provides you with an opportunity to prove 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 the leverage!
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 you won’t just get more new customers, it’s also a great way to actually learn how you bring value to those customers!
What other ways do you have of leveraging your customers’ experience and bring value to new ones? Leave your ideas in the comments.
About the Author
Forster gathers sales data at Prospect.io in order to deliver powerful and insightful advice to salespeople.More Content by Forster Perelsztejn