Ep. 116 – How to Create Case Studies That Sell for B2B w/ Joel Klettke

How to Create Case Studies That Sell for B2B

Storytelling is something that is essential in B2B industries. Telling that story from the customer’s perspective, however, really does provide proof of success which ultimately helps to shorten the sales cycle.

Join us as we talk to marketing and copywriting expert Joel Klettke (Founder, Case Study Buddy) about how to create case studies and video testimonials that sell in B2B. During our conversation, Joel explains why storytelling from the customer’s point of view is paramount and the importance of understanding customers as well as their buying journey. Joel also provides great tips on how you can generate good insights from customer interviews and give us incredible ideas on how to create case studies that are interesting, insightful, and different.

Play Video about B2B Marketers on a Mission Podcast KV EP116 Interview with Joel Klettke

Topics discussed in episode

  • Joel talks about why storytelling from the customer’s point of view is so important for B2B [2:25]
  • Some common mistakes and misconceptions around case studies in B2B [6:44]
    • Not involving the customer in the process
    • Not making case studies a company-wide effort
    • Treating case studies like they are formulaic stories without any creativity
    • Trying to put all the positive things into one story
  • How to convince the customer to participate in a case study [11:45]
  • How we can make case studies more creative from a B2B perspective [17:03]
  • Understanding customers and their buyers’ journey, and how that can help with case studies and video testimonials [20:50]
  • Examples where the B2B companies have used case studies and video testimonials to win their leads back [25:33]
  • Joel gives some actionable tips: [29:30]
    • Look at what you already have
    • Break apart what you have into subsets of assets that you could deploy in different ways
    • Think about how you can create smaller assets that could be tested using different methods
    • Set up an SOP to help to mobilize your team internally
  • Metrics that B2B marketers should pay attention to [34:43]
  • Joel talks about the importance of not treating case studies like an afterthought [39:02]

Companies and links mentioned



Joel Klettke, Christian Klepp

Christian Klepp  00:03

Welcome to B2B Marketers on a Mission, a podcast for changemakers where we question the conventional, debunk marketing myths, provide actionable tips, think differently, disrupt industries, and take your marketing to a new level, from improving your campaigns to making you a better marketer. These are the inspirational stories that will help us change the way we think and approach B2B marketing, one conversation at a time. This podcast is brought to you by EINBLICK Consulting, helping you to stand out in the market and drive revenue to your B2B business. And now your host, Christian Klepp.

Christian Klepp  00:44

Okay, welcome, everyone to this episode of B2B Marketers on a Mission. This is the show where we help you to question the conventional, think differently, disrupt your industry and take your marketing to new heights. This is your host Christian Klepp. And today I am joined by someone on a mission now bear with me everyone, this is a handful, on a mission to help B2B companies to create and scale case studies and video testimonials to close more deals more quickly across more channels. So coming to us from Calgary, Canada, Mr. Joel Klettke. Welcome to the show.

Joel Klettke  01:17

Thank you so much. I love I love the Klettke. Cuz that’s how I know I’m talking to a German you… there’s no ke at the end of that. It’s so excited to dig into this. Yeah.

Christian Klepp  01:27

Great to be connected, Joel and, you know, it doesn’t really slide off the tongue. Like I usually say Calgary, Alberta, but like, you know, for the benefit of the rest of the audience is Calgary, Canada, but it’s great to be connected. Looking forward to this conversation because man, is this such a pertinent topic in the world of B2B marketing. And I’m sure you’ll agree, right?

Joel Klettke  01:49


Christian Klepp  01:50

Okay. So let’s dive in. So you are clearly an expert, Joel, when it comes to helping B2B companies to shorten their sales cycles through quality storytelling, I’m gonna say. So for this conversation, let’s zero in on a topic, which I’m going to say is part of your professional mission, how to create case studies and video testimonials that sell for B2B. So let’s kick off this conversation with this question. Why do you think that storytelling from the customer’s point of view is so important for B2B?

Joel Klettke  02:25

I think it comes down to, you know, there is so much noise, there is so many promises being made, there are so many alternatives, there’s so much information out there. And the thing is, whenever we go to make a purchase decision, in a B2B context, there’s no absence of information, but what there is often an absence of is context. And your customers are always going to be better at communicating with that context than you are. These stories are really a picture in time, a window into someone like you who made the decision you’re debating and got the results that you’re looking for. And so when you’re able to look in and you can see, okay, especially when a story has a human at the center, yes, these are B2B stories, but especially when there’s a focus on the individuals involved in the story, what you see that you don’t see in other blog posts or other media or other types of content, is this transformative journey. You see someone who had a problem, had doubts, had tension, had stakes, had something that needed to be resolved. You see them navigate that decision, you see the implementation of that solution, and not only the implementation in the what was done, but how it was done, and why that was valuable. And then you come through to the results. And it’s not just a metric. It’s what that made possible and their experience of those results. So I think it’s a very unique perspective, it’s an instant differentiator, and it’s far more credible than any promise you can put out there done right? Because it is vouched for it, it is a customer, basically going to bat for you by sharing their honest, true detailed experience of making that decision and encountering your solution.

Christian Klepp  04:10

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I think I read it somewhere a couple of days ago that it’s the information that you put out about your company is not enough for a buyer to make a decision. Right? They need to have that validation to your point that you as a company, a service provider, help somebody else to succeed with whatever it is you’re offering. Right?

Joel Klettke  04:35

It makes your promises tangible. It can disambiguate your offering as well. When you really think about it again, when you make promises to brand, it’s almost like drawing the lines on the paper but when you can fill that with customer proof with social proof with these experiences, that brings the color that brings the context that that makes it all real. It’s one thing to say for example, in every service is coming in entire planet says, Oh, we care about our customers, we take the time to know you as a customer. It’s very, very different to see that embodied in a story. Every software platform on the planet says, Oh, we help you do X, Y, Z faster or better. These promises ring hollow. But when you can demonstrate when you can show, when you can share a story. I think we respond to stories differently than we do sales pitches. And I think that’s a big thing in creating stories is you never want it to feel like an overt sales pitch. You never want it to feel like you’re just preaching at them. It has to be framed through the lens of this authentic, honest, real story. And I think that’s the big difference is thought leadership is great, educational content is great, how-to’s, all that stuff, it all has its place in the ecosystem, and in this journey part. But case studies are unique in that they offer that experience, they offer that story versus sales pitch kind of angle.

Christian Klepp  06:02

Absolutely, absolutely. I love how you brought that up. And you drew the line in the sand for us, you know, between sales pitches, and authentic case studies and video testimonials. And there has to be a distinction between the two because they are not they’re not the same, right? Because what we’re talking about here, this topic, it’s an asset for the organization. And I’m not going to call it a tool. It’s an asset, right. Okay, moving on to the next question, which I am confident you will have no problem answering at all, the common mistakes and misconceptions around case studies in B2B And what should be done to address those?

Joel Klettke  06:44

I think one of the biggest mistakes is to not involve the customer in the process. There’s this thinking that goes, What if we just write it, and then take it to them to approve or even worse? What if we just write it? And I think that’s a huge mistake because you lose so much rich context, you lose so much of that experience. And it goes from being a story to being your talking points to being your perspective on an engagement when what’s really valuable to prospects to customers is the customer side of the conversation. So I think one of the biggest mistakes is not involving the customer because you think it will be too hard or take too long. Or they might say no, you can also seriously damage relationships. By doing this, if you put something out there that they come across the goal, we didn’t agree to this, or we don’t agree with the way that we’re portrayed here. So that’s a colossal mistake.

Joel Klettke  07:35

I think another really big mistake is treating case studies. Like they’re marketing’s pet project and not making them a company-wide effort. You can task marketing with producing these or creating these. But the reality is they are always going to be a team sport. Marketing is going to be reliant on whether it’s account reps, or CSMs, or sales for introductions for context into a story. Leadership should be involved to kind of set the business goals and revenue goals you want these stories to tie into. So to treat it like it’s something that marketing needs to do in isolation and should be able to do just on their own, and to not have this collaborative effort and this underlying process internally, that can really damage your odds of even getting these live in the first place. So I think from an operations level, that’s a big mistake.

Joel Klettke  08:25

I think another key mistake, you know, to round this out is treating them like they’re just these very formulaic stories where there’s no room for any kind of creativity or deviation at all from the norm. I mean, we all think of probably when we think of case studies, challenge – solution – results. And a lot of people allow themselves to be limited by that. But when you think about every story is really just before during after or a beginning, a middle and an end. And there are many different ways to tell that story. And I think pigeonholing yourself into this very stale, very clinical kind of challenge solution results approach is unnecessary. There’s so many different angles, you can take with a story, whether it’s switcher stories of people who came from another competitor to you, whether it’s disambiguation stories talking about, you know, if you’re entering a new market, demonstrating how the solution works in their industry, whether it is appealing to a particular role, right? Like a CMO is going to care about very different things in a purchase decision than a CTO or even a CIO or what have you. So I think treating all stories as though they’re the same, treating all stories as though it’s just about communicating a win. That misses the strategic opportunity of really thinking about what kind of coverage gap or what kind of goal or what kind of business or revenue goal can we tie this into, and how can we deviate or tell a very specific and focused story.

Joel Klettke  09:53

And I think that’s the very last one I’ll mention is kitchen sinking it is what I would say the fourth biggest mistake is trying to take every positive thing that happened in a relationship and cram it all into one story. It’s like taking everything out of the spice rack and putting it all into one dish, it’s not going to create anything worth consuming.  It’s going to be a whole lot of really compelling stuff mixed together to make something unpalatable for everybody. So stories really need to be focused, there needs to be a clear trajectory, a transformative journey. And the more different things you throw into that, the more muddled and challenging to navigate. And the less appealing it is, it needs to be focused so that it appeals to a very specific individual, or a very specific pain or a very specific goal, rather than trying to demonstrate here are 20 different really great things we did for this client that that will never be as convincing as one very focused narrative.

Christian Klepp  10:53

Just give me a second here. But there was quite a lot of information. But thanks so much for sharing that. Um, I’m gonna go back to the last point that you mentioned, I have seen that happen, live and unplugged. And I think we all have. One of the best examples where I’ve seen this unfold is B2B websites. Let’s just cram as much information in there as we possibly can about the product and the features, and there’s no need for the customer to contact us anymore. Right. But I want to go back to the points that you raised because you’ve opened the door to like more questions. So let me go back to the first point that you made about getting the customer involved, which is absolutely crucial. And I’m gonna ask you this, because I know the listeners are struggling with this one, how do you convince the customer to participate in a case study? Case study interview, rather.

Joel Klettke  11:45

For sure. I think so much comes down to I think. If we break it into pieces, number one, this may not be something you can instantly change, but it’s something to be building towards. And that is make talking about KPIs and successes with the customer normal over time. Okay, this is something you’ll have to maybe start on today. And you won’t see the fruit of it for months or even a year or more. But look at the cadence of communication you have with your customer and ask, are we tracking from the moment they come in? Are we tracking what they’re looking for? What their challenges are? You know, what, what they’re hoping to achieve? And are we bringing that back up in the conversations we have with them? Whether those are synchronous conversations with the rep, asynchronous and things like surveys, you know, are you making it normal to talk about and track the ROI they’re seeing with you because if you’re not, then it’s going to come across very strange when you swing in asking for a favor asking them to talk about this great experience they’ve had and what KPIs they’ve experienced and metrics, they’ve achieved it and things like that. So that’s creating a culture where that’s normal is big.

Joel Klettke  12:48

But on a tactical level, I think customers fear taking part in these for a few reasons. Number one, they’re worried about what will be exposed. And you can counter that by giving them a sense of control, letting them know, you’re gonna have an opportunity to review what we put together, nothing goes live without your review and approval, you’re going to have the ability to ask for edits. The next thing they might fear is how much time is this going to take me I don’t want to write you a blank check on my time, I don’t want to give you know, three hours four or five. You can counter this by again laying out the process of saying here’s exactly what’s involved, and exactly how much time we anticipate this will take. And you need to have that process dialled in so that you can truthfully promise them a number that’s not overburdening. If you can say including the half-hour interview, or the 45-minute interview, we anticipate this will take you all in one hour of your time to interview and review a draft. I feel better about that. Because there’s a limitation on it. I can go. Yeah, that’s something I can participate in. The other part of it, that they’re not fearful of, but concern about is what’s in it for me. You know, they’re gonna ask, Why should I do this? And if you’ve cultivated a positive relationship, and they genuinely love your solution, often that the answer is self-evident. They want to help you because they enjoy what you do. But in other cases, you know, framing the ask through the lens of a benefit, yes, you’re asking them to do a favor, but leading with what’s in it for them, whether that is we plan to promote this to an audience that we know you sell into, and we’re going to make you look great. Whether that is an incentive for taking part though you do have to be careful about how you disclose that when you publish the story and things like that. Maybe it’s you know, whether it’s a free press or a link back to their site, or there’s all kinds of different little incentives that appeal to different people that answering the question of what’s in it for me can often help. And one very simple, if that all flies immediately out of your brain. And you just want something like give me one sentence change the way you ask from. Will you do a case study, can we feature you something like that? And the reason is when we say the words case study, it’s very cold. It’s very clinical, it feels very take take take, when we talk about can we feature you, can we hear your story, that’s less threatening, that feels less clinical, that feels more collaborative. And so even just changing the way you ask, can make a difference. And one other very simple tactical thing you can do, if you have one, send across a beautifully designed sample of the end product, and say, Here’s what we’re shooting for. And that makes it real for them. And that gives them a clearer sense of okay, you know, I can see others have taken part, I can see the end result is gorgeous, I can see this as well thought out, and it gives them a sense of, you’re inviting me into something that is well defined, has a plan, benefits me, rather than chaos and disorder.

Christian Klepp  15:39

Fantastic answer, I kind of had a feeling you’d have no problem with that one. And it’s something you probably deal with, short of exaggerating, almost daily, right? You’ll have customers that are reluctant, right? Or it’s maybe not even reluctant, but there is a hesitation. Right? And you are you’re right to point that out. When you say we’re doing a case study. It’s like, oh, yeah, right.

Joel Klettke  16:01

I think the one other point, just to add to that, too, is be very cognizant of who is making the ask, have they ever heard of you before, you know, who is most familiar or who has the most authority? We’ve seen for example, if you have an enterprise store you want to do. Well, does your leadership have any kind of connection with their leadership, that can be a way. So yeah, it’s something that comes up every single company on the planet from the small guys to the big guys, everyone in between, at some point will have the challenge of buying. And so yeah, we put in a lot of reps on trying to solve.

Christian Klepp  16:34

I’m sure I’m sure. Okay, so that was the first follow up question, Joel, the second one, and you kind of answered it already. But instead of the point about falling into this templated format this, this is the case study playbook, how can you maybe just give three or four suggestions… How can you make your case studies more creative from a B2B perspective?

Joel Klettke  17:03

Yeah, I think, nuber one, start with a well defined goal. Keep the end in mind. Who are you trying to convince them? What are you trying to convince them of? And that will instantly lend itself to different story types. Again, if you speak to sales, this is a simple tip. Look at your sales emails, talk to your sales team and ask them, you know, what are we coming up against? What’s killing deals right now? Is it that we’re being compared to a particular competitors that people don’t understand the value of the offering, is it that we don’t have enough proof in an industry, and right away, you’ll start to get some ideas for different types of stories that that you could be telling. To get more creative, think about as well. What’s appropriate for your space, for example, there’s a company called Mutiny. Now, the website is mutinyhq.com, and they have these fabulous, they call them playbooks. But what they really are is their customer stories that teach you how to do something. So they show and demonstrate how that client built something out with mutiny that achieved the outcome. So they’re very prescriptive, for example. And that’s the type of story that you can also tell if your space allows for it is to not only share the success and the experience of the customer and say, this was the challenge they have, then when you get into that solution section, making it something that can be taught like right at the beginning of these stories, you see, they have a section called what you’ll learn, and what you’ll need. And I love that because that is a creative way of taking a story now making it this very prescriptive, practical how to. And if I read that story, and I want that outcome, the very natural reaction is I need to get Mutiny, I need to deploy in the same way. So talk to your sales team, think about how you might make it prescriptive, I think in terms of getting creative as well. And we’ll likely talk about this more later. But consider the media available to you and the channels you want to deploy on. We live in an era now where we can capture video remotely, and they can be pretty darn good. We can capture at least audio from the interview. And we can for example, even if they won’t get on camera, if we can get released for that we can embed that alongside the written pieces that we do, we can turn that into social collateral. So getting creative not just with the story angle, but with the method in which it’s delivered. We use for ourselves and for our clients the notion of nibble, bite, snack, meal, buffet, how hungry is your audience in terms of informational needs, right? And nibble might be a poll quote just share it on social, snack might be a quick carousel on LinkedIn. Just sharing a story from a very high level of. A meal might be you know, the full-blown 1500 word written piece of a lot of detail and it might be more prescriptive and then a buffet might be taking five different stories, pulling them all together and having some sort of compendium where they have a similar theme so you can get very creative and not only that the media gear that you use, but the way that you distribute, distribute and deploy these to appeal to audiences on different channels. So, you know, those are a handful of tips. I think at the end of the day too, just bear in mind, I mentioned this earlier, bear in mind who you’re talking to, what do they care about? And what do they want to see in the story, if you’re selling into CMOs, don’t write a story that appeals to, you know, an end user, because they’re, they’re very, very different. So you can tell creative stories that are very angle that individual roles, and you can tell the same story angle to different roles and deploy that in different ways, too. You can have a more technical version for a more technical buyer and a more marketing expert for more marketing, yes, and things like that. So that you know, lots of ways to get creative with the stories you’re telling and how you tell them.

Christian Klepp  20:50

That’s absolutely right. That’s absolutely right. Okay. Moving on to the next question. Talk to us about the importance of deeply understanding customers and their buyers’ journey, and how can that help with case studies and video testimonials.

Joel Klettke  21:07

I think at the heart of every successful customer story is the fact that it’s relatable. And for it to be relatable, you need to understand the journeys that your buyers are on. And then you need to tell a focus story to appeal to a buyer that might be on that type of journey. So I think it starts with, you know, what we were just speaking to is, it helps understand what types of stories you should be telling in the first place. An understanding, okay, if they’re at the beginning of their journey, what might they be skeptical about? Who might you be getting compared to? You know, what goals might they have? Or what outcomes might they be looking for at that stage? And I think that’s enormously helpful in defining the types of stories you should tell, as they progress through that journey. That’s where what we were just speaking about in terms of channels and media really can take the reigns. You know, if I’ve already come to your site, and I’ve already seen something, you don’t want to just keep hitting me with the same resource again, and again, and again. Thinking carefully about, okay, how could we leverage these stories, for example, in remarketing, to bring people back? If I’m on a journey, where I’ve been to your site, and I spent, for example, a particular amount of time or expressed a particular amount of interest in a feature or a part of what you do, or if I’ve tabled a question in chat or anything like that, we’re at a point now, where we can go to our library of stories, or we can go to the proof we’ve got and we can start serving that in remarketing or follow up emails or whatever it might be, to continue the conversation. I think when someone already is a client, we have to think about the job of case studies is done. But it’s not if you have upsells. If you have more premium tiers if there’s a journey that continues after someone becomes a client. Thinking about well, how could we develop stories and share stories with clients to help them not only continue to see the value, but maybe invest more with us? And that’s where, you know, bringing these stories into places like newsletters, bringing these stories into follow up conversations bringing these stories into, you know, write an app, for example, for software, or product updates, or whatever it might be, you know, looking at, okay, well, the lifecycle doesn’t end when someone becomes a customer. There’s still plenty of opportunity to capture and then thinking when someone has churned, you know, could we leverage stories to help bring them back if someone churned early, you know, they’ve signed up for the demo, and they didn’t actually convert, that’s a natural way to try to bring them back to say, hey, you indicated to us this was a challenge you had or an outcome you were looking for, we just wanted to share with you some stories of people who achieved that. And that can be a way to spark interest again. And again, just to reiterate, throughout that process, different types of media might work better, for convincing people to come back it might be something or contacting them in the first place. For something like cold outreach might be something very succinct to one sheet of a short 30-sec video. For someone who’s on the verge of purchase and need something to share internally with the team. That’s where the more detailed 50 and 100 word or 2 minute 30 video or more detailed, you know, deck might be valuable. But being very cognizant of across the buyers’ journey, what pains are they going to have, questions will they have. What things will they be thinking about? How can we derive more value or how can we prove and prove again and prove again to leads and then customers and then advocates that they’ve made a wise decision. And your case study strategy, your storytelling strategy can really encompass all of that. It doesn’t mean you have to encompass all of that at once. Start with where you’re leanest and where you have the least. But don’t stop at just oh this is an end-of-journey asset or this is a, you know, it’s not, it’s something you can leverage across the entire journey.

Christian Klepp  24:59

Absolutely. Absolutely. So I wanted to go back to something that you said that this is a little bit of a wild card that I’m going to throw out there. But on the topic of leads that have either been lost, gone stale or just that are closed, can you give us an example of like, maybe from your own experience, or from the experience of your customers where they have gone back to these leads, and use case studies or video testimonials, to somehow win them back or win them? if they never want them to begin with?

Joel Klettke  25:33

Yeah, I think the first example, I can’t name the company because it’s a little bit sensitive, but they knew they had an issue in the product that there was ever there was a feature request that kept coming up and kept coming up. And it was a deficit for them, relative to competitors, they were really good in one area. But in this other area that a lot of people were also looking for, they were deficient, they weren’t there yet. And so they kept track of all of the leads, they lost over time, because of that specific issue. And then when they close that gap, they didn’t just send an email saying, Hey, we have this feature now. But what they did is they captured some of the early users of that feature, talking about the early impacts of that new feature. And they sent that out alongside the outreach to say, we know you churned out because this wasn’t there, we wanted to let you know, not only is it here, which is where most companies would stop, but it’s working. And it’s working well. And here’s some kind of mini stories about clients who are leveraging it, and they’re loving it. And it’s achieving what they needed to achieve. That’s one example.

Joel Klettke  26:35

Another example is again, when people onboard, especially into a software, you can have as part of that onboarding, get a small indication from them in terms of their goals, what do they want to achieve. What are they looking for? People turn out for all kinds of reasons, sometimes it’s not a fit, but oftentimes, they just get busy, or they have to shift priorities, you can’t always know you know, whether the product itself or whether what you offer wasn’t right, or whether the timing just wasn’t right. And so again, getting an indication of what they wanted to achieve. This isn’t a company I’m talking about, but like FreshBooks, used to maybe still does. They do this quite well, you indicate as you onboard, like who you are, what your goals are, they use that to get a sense of, you know, what, what would be an attractive, you know, first bit of ROI for you. And then again, for those who churned out, reaching back out to them and saying, Hey, here’s some stories of people, we know this was important to you. If it’s still important to you, it’s still very possible for you, here’s an offer to come back and download again and try again. And here’s some stories of people who achieved you know, what you’re looking to achieve.

Joel Klettke  27:39

Another company, you know, it’s not necessarily that these were churned out leads, but a way of staying top of mind a company called CartHook was very successful in taking the stories we put together and using them in remarketing, rather than push people to a new offer, rather than push people to a discount, rather than push people back to the signup page. They took leads who had come in, not ultimately converted them in there, and they use their stories repeatedly to go, Hey, we’re still around, and people are still winning with us. And this is still a decision worth making. And they saw some solid lift from their remarketing campaigns when they when they took that tack. So, you know, I think there’s lots of opportunity. But for it to be effective, it’s not about shot gunning a bunch of success is that you have to use it like a scalpel and really understand, what were they looking for that they didn’t see? Or they didn’t get or they didn’t have time to achieve? And then how can we bring that gently back to being top of mind? So you know, the knowledge of the customer makes an enormous difference.

Christian Klepp  28:41

Absolutely, absolutely. I was just gonna say that it needs to be handled on a case by case basis, right. Like it means the salespeople need to understand like, what stage was that customer at? What problems were they facing? Because otherwise, it’s just going to be a spray-and-pray approach. Right, which is not what you were recommending, by the way. Okay, fantastic. Well, we get to the point in the conversation, where we talk about actionable tips, and you have talked about some things that were actionable. But if somebody were listening to this conversation, right, that you and I are having today, who’s a B2B marketer, what are some of the things that they can do right now? Right, not in six months or a year, like what they can do right now, to improve the way they use case studies and video testimonials.

Joel Klettke  29:30

I think one of the very first things you can do is go look at what you already have. So look at, you know, we’ll start with this tip, and then we’ll move on. Look at what you already have. Look at what you have released to do and consider how could I break apart what I already have into subsets of assets that I could deploy in some of the ways we’ve been talking about? Go look at your written pieces, go look at your video, and ask yourself, Am I deploying this on social? Am I deploying this in ads? Am I deploying this in cold outreach? And those are kind of the three lowest hanging fruit. Am I deploying this in… the other one is either nurture or just even if you have a company newsletter, and if you’re not, carve out, you know, one afternoon or give yourself you know, one week of focus to just review those stories. And here’s exactly what to do. Summarize the longer pieces into things like one sheets, so that you’ve got this more succinct asset for sales that works well for outreach. Summarize those one sheets into quotes that you can deploy in remarketing or an ads or on social. And then summarize it into blurbs or those same quotes that you can deploy in newsletters and that type of thing. Take the assets you already have and look at how could I carve this down even further. Rather than that we always want to go bigger, like, how can I make it bigger? This case for the opposite direction? How could I carve this up into smaller assets that I could test out using a different ways whether that’s a LinkedIn carousel full of quotes, a one sheet, summary version. That type of thing. Those are some very simple campaigns. And one of my favorites, is if you have even let’s say, you have six stories, or four stories, think about could I do a quarterly customer feature? Could I turn this into like a quarterly customer feature or a monthly customer feature at best on social and why I like that tactic is because when you start to publish with a regular cadence celebrating your clients, it gives you something to point to say, look, talking about KPIs is normal. Here’s an incentive for you future person, I’m trying to get involved, we have this feature, and it makes our clients look really good. And it draws attention to the great work you’re doing. So those are some very practical things, I think on an operational level, which isn’t as sexy but like the impact is like 10x, one of the simplest things you could do right now today is start to stand up just a little bit of an SOP, right? We mentioned earlier marketers are dependent on other teams to get these done. Those other teams are often reticent to participate, because they don’t see that there’s a plan or there’s no place for them to go with a central source of truth on like, what do we do in here? What kinds of stories are we looking for? What’s the criteria? So even if all you did was again, carve out an afternoon or two, and start to put together okay, here’s our SOP. Here is, for example, the audience we’re going after, here are the types of stories that we feel aligned with this quarter or this year’s business revenue goals. Here’s the kind of the criteria, we look forward to establish that, yes, this is a win worth talking about so that it’s shared so that other teams go, Oh, I’ve got something like that, well, I’ve got something like that. And then here, you know, here is a quick template for making the ask, so that those teams feel empowered. And you can take some of the things I talked about earlier, where it’s, you know, be very specific, why them, why now, show that there’s a process here, the steps we’ll go through. If you put together just a simple SOP, doesn’t have to be complete, doesn’t have to be perfect, but a central source of truth on the types of stories you want to tell, who you want to tell them to. And then if you can put together a simple template for making the ask that will help you kind of mobilize your teams internally so that you can even do this in the first place. So the one tip, break it down, summarize that, if you’ve already got stories and things go on, if you’re like I don’t have anything there. The simple thing you can do is SOP, put a little template to the ask. And then to cap it off, just book a call with your sales leader or book a call with someone on that side to say, how can we make this worth your time and produce something that will work for you. And even though it doesn’t feel like progress, because it’s all internal. Having that conversation today will benefit you tomorrow and the next month and further on. So those are two very simple things that you can do to either leverage what you’ve got or start to get more in the door.

Christian Klepp  34:11

Fantastic, fantastic tips. And once again, to your point, it’s a collaborative approach, right? This is like going the opposite direction of functioning in a silo or as I like to say, you know, you’re in an art gallery and you just seclude yourself there for two or three weeks and then presto, here’s the masterpiece, right, so. Moving on to the next question, love it or hate it my friend, metrics. How can B2B marketers prove that what they’re doing is working? So what metrics should they be paying attention to?

Joel Klettke  34:42

Yeah, I think I’ll start by saying the one you shouldn’t look at because it’s never gonna be in your favor. Direct conversions. It doesn’t really function that way where someone sees one case study and goes oh my gosh, you know, I’ve got to sign up right now. Doesn’t happen yet, especially when that case study is framed up in more of a direct response kind of sales letter kind of way. But we’ve talked about a lot of different channels that you could potentially deploy these on. And therein lies, what kind of metrics you should be measuring. Let’s say you deploy this on remarketing, well, how do these campaigns perform against the remarketing campaigns in terms of driving interest, driving clicks, driving potential demos. If you’re running ad campaigns benchmark against existing ad campaigns, again, what kind of clicks are we getting? What kind of activity is that person doing after clicking through? Do we see increased interest increased contacts to sales? One of the trickiest places to assign a metric, but one of the most important places to try to assign a metric is how effective is your sales team, with or without these assets? And one of the ways you can come at that – I can’t take credit for this. But I read someone else sharing this is benchmark with your sales team before having these assets. And after ask them, okay, can you give me a sense of how confident in these different scenarios you are that a deal will close? Is it 60% 70% 40%? What does that look like? And then after you’ve supplied them with these assets, after you’ve built these out, go back in a couple months and say, Okay, how confident are you that these will close now? Is it higher? Is it 75-80 %? That’s a way of saying, okay, the sales team feels more confident with these assets, they feel like they’re more likely to close deals, you know, it takes something very nebulous and turns it into something more tangible. I think, in addition, you know, it’s, you can look at if you’re running these, you know, as part of cold outreach, for example, what does our positive response rate look like, when we include social proof like this or stories like this relative to when we don’t? What does our close rate, you know, look like on that cold outreach when we do or when we don’t? So I think the key thing with customer stories as collateral is benchmarking against the opposite scenario, benchmarking against when they’re not used when they’re not being leveraged. And then there are some other things like how they performance campaigns, you can look at how much you know, traffic or interest is being driven. But just be cautious with those metrics, because it’s not… with some content, it’s a volume game, if you produce what’s meant to be the ultimate guide to x y z, and you’re meaning for it to rank really well and, and drive a lot interest, well, then it’s appropriate to look at as driving a lot of traffic. But case studies, it’s not about traffic. And so the final kind of way to look at this is can you track and if you’re a HubSpot user, for example, you can… other platforms will make this possible. Can you track assisted conversions? Can you track, you know, journeys, where case studies were part of that journey? And how do those journeys convert relative to those that don’t. And we’ve had a client where we produced over 50 assets for them in the year, they looked at just 12 of those assets. They looked at the entirety of you know, when those assets were included in a purchase decision, and they were able to say, hey, you know, we can’t we can’t rightfully say, Oh, this these drove X amount of revenue, but well we can say for them is these 12 Stories or 8 stories, I forget what it was, they assisted in driving over 2 million in new annual recurring revenue. So looking at where they’re starting to be leveraged as part of that journey, as opposed to an endpoint in and of themselves. So lots of different ways to look at it, depending on how you’re deploying it. But those are some of the most effective that we’ve seen.

Christian Klepp  38:40

Fantastic, fantastic. Well, that’s quite the list. And again, it’s to your point, it depends on the channel depends on the format, a lot of factors involved, right? Okay. Joel, get up on your soapbox. Um, what is the status quo in your area of expertise that you passionately disagree with? And why?

Joel Klettke  39:02

Yeah, I think the status quo is case studies are an afterthought. They’re not prioritized, they’re not given the processes they deserve. They’re not given the thought they deserve. Most case studies are an afterthought. And as a result, you see a lot of very boring, dry, muddled kitchen sinks, awful stories out there, that it’s it’s banging the symbols on how great we are. And it’s not really intentional stories told with a plan. I think that’s what I’m most passionate about trying to change is showing people hey, you map out a content calendar for the entire year. You spend time thinking through okay, the types of content we’re going to tell here and how will the play you do that for everything else but your customer stories, and then you just expect the customer stories to materialize on their own, be captured perfectly, soar through approvals because that’s like, possible. You know, there’s no thought or care or proactive attention given to these. And I think when we as marketers stopped doing that, and we start to look at customer stories, not as these happy accidents, but as something that we can engineer to be inevitable. Something we can build a process around something we can be strategic about something we can be creative with. That’s when the best of the best companies start to just crush their competition. Mutiny, for example, they’ve got a moat at this point. They’ve got better stories than anybody else in their space. You look at someone like HubSpot, and they’ve got so many stories in so many different areas. They’ve got switcher stories, partner stories, they’ve got a certain number of sales seat stories for any sales or marketing scenario that they face. They’re very intentional about this quarter these are the coverage gaps. Next quarter, these are the coverage gaps. You know, they move in lockstep and they execute in a way that the average company won’t. And so I think, going from this position of being reactive templated formulaic, just trying to keep up to steering the boat instead of being pulled behind it. You know, I think that’s the future. And I think the best of the best companies are going to be the ones that embrace that, and start putting some real time, attention, budget, people thought into the way that they come at these.

Christian Klepp  41:34

Mic drop all the week, is what the answer was. Thank you so much, Joel. And fantastic conversation today. Thanks again, for coming on and sharing your experience and expertise with the audience. Please, quick introduce yourself and how folks out there can get in touch with you.

Joel Klettke  41:50

Yeah, so I am co-founder of Case Study Buddy. We are a company that works with B2B companies to solve all of the problems inherent in doing customer stories. We want to try to help our clients be more strategic, be more intentional. But where we really shine is in that whole capture and storytelling and deliverable of launch-ready assets. So been around for over seven years, I’ve got a fantastic team. You can check us out at CaseStudyBuddy.com. And whether you’re interested in working with us or not, you’ll find a blog there full of practical, actionable, go-do-this type of tips that you can apply on your own. For me, personally, I’m always happy to connect on LinkedIn. I’m not always quick to respond, but I do always try to respond. And always happy to jam on these tpes of challenges. You know, I’ve had a lot of time to just focus on these issues and doing this well. And I’m always excited to share.

Christian Klepp  42:45

Fantastic, fantastic. I mean, if I may say so, you were pretty quick to respond when I sent you a message on LinkedIn. But um, Joel, thank you so much. Once again. Take care stay safe and talk to you soon.

Joel Klettke  42:58

Cheers. Thank you.

Christian Klepp  42:59

Bye for now.


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