Lead generation and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) get a lot of ‘airtime’ in marketing articles, meetings with stakeholders and internal marketing discussions. Being a B2B Marketer, I too, am heavily focused on lead gen activities and I believe in the value that SEO brings to an organisation. However, these are top of funnel marketing tactics. It is vital for B2B marketers to proactively assist the sales team, at each stage of the sales funnel. Lead gen activities, SEO and PPC work really well for the top of the sales funnel. When it comes to the middle, and bottom of the funnel, different marketing plays are required. One such marketing tactic is case studies.
How case studies provide middle and bottom of funnel benefit
In B2B settings, salespeople often must sell to several executives to get deals over the line – this is commonly referred to as building consensus in professional selling terminology. At this stage of the sales cycle (commonly termed as the ‘middle of funnel’), it is vital to share proof points with the client executives. This is where case studies prove to be a valuable asset. Case studies play a vital role in helping salespeople progress deals by allowing firms to demonstrate the value of their product or service in a tangible manner. Case studies showcase real-life use cases and the subsequent benefits experienced by buyers facing the same or similar challenges as the prospect faces.
Why case studies often get caught in the proverbial red tape
Despite the clear benefits to B2B firms, case studies all too often fall to the wayside during the approvals stage of the process. Marketers spend many hours writing and designing case studies, only to find that stakeholders on the client’s side do not have the approval to proceed with a case study. Or they are not allowed to share details owing to regulatory and compliance requirements. They also might not want to share their ‘secret sauce’ with competitors. Well written and beautifully designed case studies often do not see the light of day because of bureaucracy.
Rather than letting their work go to waste, marketers must problem-solve their way to approvals. If a case study is not published, the work holds zero value no matter how well executed it may be. Marketers must hold themselves responsible for gaining approval regardless of how busy stakeholders may be.
How marketers can get swift approvals on case studies
Over the years, I have discovered a few ways to speed up the approvals process. For example, marketers can make the case study anonymous if a client has not approved using a company name in the case study. Instead, the marketer can remove all client references and simply refer to the client’s industry. So ‘XYZ Bank’ is now referred to as ‘a leading Australian bank’, thus ensuring swift approval.
An alternative approval strategy is to convert an unapproved case study into a one page ‘Customer Success Story’. This strategy allows marketers to delete the case study details they cannot get approval on. Instead, the marketer summarises the challenges, the solution, and the outcomes delivered. It is far better to publish a summarised, anonymous case study than not publish a case study at all.
Case studies have an essential role to play at the bottom of the funnel. Approval delays are no excuse for marketers to neglect a case study being published. Marketers must face the challenge of approval delays head-on with tenacity and resourcefulness. How marketers address such challenges and frustrations is a defining factor in the type of marketer they prove themselves to be; an ‘average marketer’ or a ‘powerhouse marketer’. Powerhouse marketers take challenges in their stride. Problem-solving is a core skill they exercise in 100% of the challenges that come their way. A marketer’s focus must be centred around creating success for their internal or external customers regardless of the frustrations along the way.
Are you a B2B marketing leader who is unhappy with your existing marketing play? Resonate crafts bespoke marketing solutions inclusive of case study production. Please get in touch with us to discuss further.