Jack Horner and Nathan Myhrvold cornered the market on T-rex skeletons. From 1999 until 2008, their expeditions discovered 9 Tyrannosaurus specimens. That might not seem like a lot. Until you realize only 18 skeletons were found in the 100-year period from 1909 until 1999.
Finding 9 skeletons in 9 years was phenomenal.
Before Horner and Myhrvold’s discoveries, people assumed dinosaur skeletons were rare. That’s not the case.
What was happening was a faulty method of searching. People looking for dinosaur bones weren’t looking hard enough. Horner and Myhrvold changed that system. Their improved method inspired budding paleontologists around the world. It fired up dinosaur hunters to work smarter.
Searching for bones is hot, dry work.
So is selling. Any kind of selling. Sales managers are always on the lookout for ways to stimulate their staff. In reality, they may be sitting on a chest full of treasure: a wealth of case studies.
Case studies fire up your sales staff in three ways:
- Appreciation of client problems.
- Understanding product nuances.
- Accelerating sales.
Let’s start with #1: Appreciation of client problems
Your staff probably thinks they understand client problems. But do they? Do they know how a typical project plays out? Do they understand the different challenges each customer faces?
Each customer’s situation is unique. These particular factors are what case studies highlight. They give your staff an appreciation and empathy for the various problems faced by your customers.
Case studies help your sales staff “personalize” their approach for each company.
This is more important than ever, as shown by the 2018 B2B Buyers Survey. Of those surveyed:
“62% noted a desire for sales to demonstrate experience with or knowledge of their industry. . . More than half (64%) of respondents noted that one of the most important variables when evaluating solution providers was a sales team that demonstrated knowledge of their company and had insights into their problems.”2018 B2B Buyers Survey Report
The best way to gain knowledge for each industry and company is to understand your product nuances.
2. Understanding product nuances
Each customer uses your product in their own way. Case studies reveal these different uses. Each case study provides a peek into real-world practices. Many times a case study will show ways to use your product that isn’t in any sales manual. Sometimes a case study will discuss implementation challenges. Or perhaps the customer was at first dissatisfied and used your excellent customer service department.
Reading case studies as part of ongoing sales training keeps your staff stay current on real-life issues. Case studies demonstrate the benefits of what you sell. This brings up the question of how many case studies you need.
You can never have too many case studies.
A good rule of thumb is to have a case study for every industry you target. Its also good to have case studies that talk about implementation, add-on features, and customer service. If that’s too complex, think about the size of your company. If you’re a small firm, start with 4-6 case studies a year. If your company is larger, you might want to produce a case study every month or so.
Besides educating your staff, case studies can also motivate them.
3 Accelerating sales
First, case studies are fun to read. They’re written from your customers’ points of view and use their own words. Usually case studies have pictures, which make them enjoyable to scan.
Secondly, case studies give social proof. Learning how real people use your product improves understanding of the benefits you offer.
These two things let others see your solution through the eyes of customers in different situations. This helps your staff be “sold” on what you do. This understanding can create a core of evangelists.
Evangelists don’t work for money.
They work to help people – which is a much better motivator. This means your staff will work smarter, faster, and longer. They won’t be bringing in sales. They’ll be changing customers’ lives.
Jack Horner and Nathan Myhrvold changed the system paleontologists use for finding dinosaur bones. You can do the same with staff training. You can fire them up with case studies.
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