The Power of Customer Success Stories
What is the profile of your ideal customer? Success stories about your ideal customers make great sales tools. Based on these most successful profiles, you may need to re-segment to focus your promotional and sales energies on these ideal personas.
Success stories are perhaps the most valued contributions from product marketing, especially when servicing risk-averse buyers. Sales people love ‘em; so do customers. A success story explains a single client’s before and after scenario—and they’re usually loaded with quotes from both buyers and influencers. Success stories help potential buyers reduce their perception of risk.
You want to find the successes that best resonate with your target buyers. We generally expect those with direct client contact—primarily sales and support teams—to identify clients who would be the target for a success story. The ideal candidates are those organizations with a similar profile to your target clients. And let’s admit it: a write-up for well-known company will likely out-perform one for a client with little visibility. A success story with Tesla will perform better than a story about a small auto shop.
Here’s a simple outline:
- The Company. Include details such as name, industry, number of employees and/or customers. Here you’ll want to call out any aspects that will help potential customers identify with the successful client.
- The Problem (before your product). Define a few key scenarios, providing any available metrics such as decreased year-over-year results, wait time, delays, confusion.
- The Solution (with your solution). Define the scope and implementation, what product capabilities were installed and implemented and any other relevant information such as team size, number of records, or process steps.
- The Results (after your solution). Explain their success with as many metrics as possible. Increased [something] by %%, decreased [something else] by %%.
- The Call to Action. What do you want people to do next? Perhaps set up a call, download a self-assessment, or sign up for a webinar.
While success stories are great for promotion, they also help with defining the ideal customer profile. Why is this customer successful? What makes them ideal for your product? And how can insights about this customer inform your plans in the future?
Look at aspects that make a “good” customer and those of a “bad” customer. Aspects that reveal a bad customer might be levels of required customization, demands for excessive discounts, and lack of interest in being a reference. My worst customers have been focused entirely on their needs, refusing to acknowledge that our product had to address the needs of the market, not just of one customer.
With these insights, you can update your personas to align more closely with the attributes of a good customer. Revisit all your marketing materials with this new persona in mind and you’re likely to find myriad ways to improve the way you develop and deliver products.
Successful customers provide the insights that help hone your message, focus your sales teams, and refine your product. Add customer success stories to your product marketing playbook.