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How to get clients to give you a case study

Both sales and marketing (who knows, one day we might decide they are the same thing), depends a great deal on case studies – proof that you can deliver what you say you can deliver.

As an ex journalist and now consultant to technology companies – big, small and starter – I calculate that I have been responsible for around 4,000 of these.

So let’s agree they are important. You can tell the market you are marvellous, but they will only give you a short window in which to prove it.

Problem is, looking across many hundreds of vendors over many years, they all have one thing in common – they can never get enough case studies because their clients won’t agree to them.

But then the pack divides into those who can’t get a single case study out of a customer and those who can get plenty. What’s different about the two packs?

Some that struggle claim that their solution operates in a tricky sector – like security – or that their clients don’t want to give away competitive advantage by telling the whole world.

I’ve rarely found that these excuses stand up. You don’t have to give away the code and competitive advantage is largely a chimera. What I have found is that some vendors simply don’t have good or close relationships with their clients.

It’s not that they don’t do a sterling job, it’s just that they do not invest in the relationship much past the contract signing.

Some have a formal process for account management but what that can often mean is junior people spend time with other junior people. The senior decision makers are often ignored. Or, the vendor will go LinkedIn crazy, as if a syndicated piece of content is somehow a substitute for a one to one connection.

If people buy from people as we all agree, vendors need to spend more time with the right people and ask the right questions that will create a closer bond of interdependence. Then, asking for and getting the case study becomes a lot easier.


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