A major issue with case studies is version control. Without a centralised and actively managed collection of case studies inevitably a multitude of local versions start to proliferate and are stored on local drives, email and closed workspaces. Believe us, multiple versions of case studies breed like rabbits.
While some variation in case studies is desirable to target messages to clients, inevitably local versions get adapted and then adapted again. There's a real risk in presenting out of date, unapproved, inaccurate and inconsistent case studies to potential clients. Having a well-managed collection with the right processes in place substantially reduces the problem of version control.
Having a robust process in place for creating case studies also reduces the risk of mistakes. Review and approval steps means you can ensure messages are accurate and have all the sign off you need, including from clients.
Sales and bid teams need to be able to respond quickly to opportunities. An impressive response speed with bang-on relevant case studies not only gives you an edge over competitors but also gives a strong indication of the type of client service they can expect to receive. Whether an informal request for information or a formal tender response, speed is critical and makes a big impression.
A centrally managed system can be designed around ensuring a quick response to clients. The last thing your sales team want to be is wasting time trying to find what they need, especially in a high pressure must-win pitch situation with a deadline looming. That’s a bad time to be scrabbling around in obscure file drives to find a half-remembered slide deck that’s probably out of date anyway.
A key benefit of having a central collection of brilliant case studies is that teams have access to the best material in the optimum format. There will be the right level of consistency in messaging and brand, between different teams and with other marketing material.
In larger organisations or when there are distributed teams everybody should be working from the same source material. Delivering consistent material will help impress clients and provide a more joined-up effort.
To be effective marketing and sales material must resonate with potential clients. The more targeted to an individual client need or situation, the better.
In a managed case study collection, employees will want to be able find case studies by theme in order to target the right opportunities. Investing time to organise your collection of case study assets by themes such as industry sector, products and services illustrated and format can all help staff, clients and prospects all access the right material with minimum effort. It sounds geeky, but it’s essential.
A good case study system has a process to capture compelling case studies reflecting your organisation's great work. Having a more complete set of case studies representing a good cross section of products and services will mean your sales teams are better placed to meet opportunities.
Taking a more ad hoc and informal approach to case studies can result in gaps. Don’t miss out on an excellent opportunity to impress a key target!
Confidence is a largely intangible, highly subjective but absolutely essential asset. It's extra important in pitch situations where each team member needs to be able to talk authoritatively about your company's track record.
If your sales and bids team have confidence that they have the best case studies, credentials and digital assets behind them it can translate into a better pitch. A slick and well-oiled centralised system drives that confidence.
Manage your case studies!
There are multiple benefits for managing your case studies properly. You'll have a more efficient, complete and easily accessible collection. Your case studies are important enough to warrant the investment and effort required to build a system to deliver these benefits.
Over the coming months within the Case Study Academy we'll be writing about best practices and providing practical tips on how to manage and organise your case study collection. Stay tuned!