How To Write A Killer SaaS Case Study: 6 Key Steps
According to Demand Gen Report, case studies are the most effective type of content when it comes to influencing business-to-business (B2B) buying decisions.
It’s not very surprising, given that case studies provide social proof.
What’s more, they usually involve cold, hard, and undeniable data that supports how effective a SaaS product has been for a particular SaaS client.
So how do you create a content strategy which involves a SaaS case study that’s focused on conversion optimization to turn qualified leads into actual customers?
In this article, we’ll talk about the different steps you need to follow in order to create a winning content strategy that focuses on creating a compelling SaaS case study.
But first, let’s get on the same page about what it is.
What Is A SaaS Case Study?
A SaaS case study is a story by a SaaS company that describes how a particular customer or client was able to use your software to achieve their business goals.
A SaaS case study is usually centered on one company’s growth. The best case study, however, is built around specific challenges that the customer faced, and how your SaaS application helped them overcome those challenges.
It’s important to note that a SaaS case study is different from a customer success story or a testimonial. A success story is more general, while a testimonial focuses on the personal experience of the customer with your SaaS product.
A SaaS case study is data-driven. It has to show how your SaaS application was able to help your customer in a measurable way.
This data could be in the form of increased sales and revenue, higher conversion rates, reduced costs, or improved efficiency in one company’s overall workflow.
Ideally, a SaaS case study should be able to answer the following questions:
- What was the customer’s problem?
- How did your SaaS product help them solve that problem?
- What were the results of them using your SaaS product in a given timeline?
Now that we have a better understanding of what a SaaS case study is, let’s move on to the different steps you need to take in order to create a compelling case study. These following steps can be followed whether you’re a SaaS startup or an established SaaS company.
1) Identify Which Customer You Want To Feature
Obviously, you should feature a customer who has already greatly benefited from your SaaS platform already.
Ultimately, it depends on your target audience.
Generally, your featured customer has to share similarities with your ideal buyer persona in terms of what industry they are in, the size of their company, or what challenges they are facing.
This will make your case study more relatable to your target audience. With close similarities, it would be easier for them to see how your SaaS application can help them achieve their own goals.
2) Reach Out To The Customer And Get Their Approval
Once you’ve identified the ideal customer to feature in your case study, the next step is to reach out to them and get their approval.
Keep in mind that you, as a SaaS founder, will be asking them for sensitive information about their business, so it’s important to build trust with them first.
Here are a few things you can do when asking for your customer’s approval:
Get The Timing Right
The timing of your request is important. You don’t want to reach out too early, as they may not have seen the full benefits of your SaaS product yet.
At the same time, you don’t want to wait too long either. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to get in touch with them and get their approval.
The best time to reach out is usually after they’ve been using your software for 3-6 months and have seen significant results.
Be Upfront About What You Need From Them
Remember that you’re talking to fellow businessmen and professionals. They have to feel that you have a legitimate purpose of why you’re reaching out to them. Beating around the bush will only annoy your customers and hurt your relationship with them.
Instead, be straightforward in explaining why you’re reaching out to them. Tell them that you would like to feature their company in a case study because of how well they have benefited from using your SaaS product.
Moreover, be clear about the type of information you will be asking from them and how long the process will take.
This way, they can make an informed decision about whether or not they want to participate.
Incentives can sweeten the deal and increase the chances of getting your customer’s approval.
Some case study incentives you can offer are exclusive discounts, early access to new features, high priority when it comes to customer support, or a free 1-year upgrade to a higher subscription tier.
You can get creative with your incentives, depending on your pricing model. Offering incentives to them will also surely increase your net promoter score and help you win more prospective customers in the long run.
If you have a usage-based or credit-based pricing model, you can give out free credits or whatever usage “resource” or “currency” you use within your SaaS product.
Pitch It As A Win-Win
Explain to them how this case study will be a win-win for both you and them.
For you, it’s an opportunity to show off your SaaS application’s capabilities to a prospective customer. For them, it’s a chance to show off their success story and attract more customers of their own.
You may also want to offer to do the following things in your request:
Highlight Their Own Services: In addition to featuring your SaaS application, you can also offer to highlight their own product or services in the case study content. This will serve as a valuable form of promotion for them.
Link Back To Their Website: You can also offer to link back to their website from the case study or blog post. This will help them with their search engine optimization efforts and drive more potential traffic to their site.
Distribute The Case Study To Their Own Target Audience: If you have a list of your customer’s target audience, you can offer to distribute the case study to them as well. This will help promote their business even further. For example, by sharing the case study on your social media account and having the right keywords inside your blog post will help your customer’s target audience see your client’s company.
3) Interview Your Customer
Once you have your customer’s approval, it’s time to start conducting an interview. This is where you’ll gather all the information you need for your case study.
You may ask your customer to have the interview face to face, through a phone call, or a video conference.
Now, the most important part of an interview is the questions. And when you’re interviewing for a case study, it’s crucial to ask the right ones.
The goal of your questions should be to elicit detailed answers that will help you build your relationship with your customer and tell a compelling story.
With those goals in mind, your questions should be divided into four parts: ice breakers, the challenges, the solution, and the results.
Ice Breaker Questions
Ice breakers are questions that help your customer feel comfortable and get them talking. These can be personal questions about their business or their experience with your software.
Here are some examples of ice breaker questions you can ask:
- What do you love about working in your company?
- What are your goals within the company?
- What are your company’s overall goals?
Questions About Their Challenges
Challenges are the problems that your customer was facing before they started using your SaaS application.
It’s important to understand what these were so you can show how your software helped solve them.
Here are some examples of challenge questions you can ask:
- What were the main challenges you faced before using our software?
- How did these challenges impact your business?
- What processes or workflows were most affected by these challenges?
Questions About The Solution
The solution is, of course, your SaaS application. You’ll want to understand how they use it and what features they find most valuable.
You might also want to ask about how they found out about it, what made them decide to try it, and what their overall experience has been like.
Here are some examples of questions you can ask about the solution:
- How does our SaaS application fit into your overall workflow?
- What specific features do you use and why?
- How has our software helped you solve your challenges?
Questions About The Results
Results are the positive outcomes that your customer has experienced since using your SaaS product. These could be things like increased productivity, lower costs, higher revenue, optimized growth strategy, or happier employees.
Below are some examples of results questions you can ask:
- What specific benefits have you seen since using our software?
- How has our SaaS application helped you achieve your goals?
- How has our software impacted your bottom line?
Additional Interview Tips
Here are a few additional tips to keep in mind when conducting your interview:
- Ask follow-up questions: If your customer says something that you find interesting, make sure to dig deeper.
- Encourage them to provide specific examples: The more concrete details they can give you, the better.
- Don’t lead the witness: It’s important to let your customer do most of the talking. If you start leading the conversation, you might not get the honest answers you’re looking for.
- Find opportunities to get exact quotes: These can be very powerful in your case study. If your customer says something especially impactful, make sure to ask if you can quote them on it.
4) Write Your SaaS Case Study
Now that you’ve gathered all the information you need, it’s time to start putting your case study together.
The first step is to outline your case study. This will help you organize your thoughts and make sure you don’t forget anything important.
There are a lot of possible case study templates you can use. But yours should have the following key elements:
- Executive Summary
- The Challenge(s):
- The Solution
- The Results
- Call To Action
Let’s talk about some key things there.
The Headline and Subhead
These are the first things people will see, so you want to make sure they’re attention-grabbing and accurately reflect the contents of your case study.
The headline should be short, clear, and to the point.
Your headline should contain three things: the name of your customer, the SaaS platform they used, and the result you want to present.
Here are some examples you may want to follow:
- “StoreHub Boost Conversion Rates by 20% With HubSpot”
- “How a Typeform cut an agency’s lead-to-client time by 40%”
- “Drift Uses Gong’s Goldmine Of Data To Increase Sales Productivity”
The Executive Summary
The executive summary is a brief overview of your case study. It should be around 2 or 3 sentences long.
This should include the main points of your story. It has to explain what your customer did and highlight some key results.
But remember that it’s just a quick overview. Don’t give away all the information in one go. Your executive summary can also be useful to leave your readers wanting to learn more.
Think of it as an elevator pitch for your case study. If someone only had time to read this one section, what would you want them to know?
One tip about crafting your executive summary is to focus on making the customer look good.
They’re the star of the show, after all. And remember that you want your target audience to identify with them.
Let’s take a look at another case study example from Databox:
Danielle Best of ClearPivot shares how Databox has saved her team 40 hours per month in client reporting and allowed them to have more meaningful discussions with clients around performance.
Notice how it’s all about Danielle and her team? Observe how it focuses on what ClearPivot (the customer) did and what they achieved rather than the features offered by Databox (the solution).
Of course, you still need to mention your SaaS solution. But make sure you keep the focus on your customer.
This section is all about what your customer was struggling with before they found your SaaS product.
You want to be as specific as possible here. Again, encourage your customer to give you concrete examples and real data if they have it.
The more relatable their challenges are, the easier it will be for your target audience to empathize with them. And the more likely they are to see themselves in a similar situation.
Remember, you’re trying to show that your SaaS application can solve a specific problem that people have. So the more specific you can be, the better.
Now, you may want to highlight multiple challenges. There are different ways to present them.
One great example is this case study by Keap where they enumerated the challenges that were faced by their customer. Their challenges were listed as: Challenge 1: SaaS usage and spend; Challenge 2: SaaS compliance and security; Challenge 3: IT efficiency and productivity.
Notice that the case study presents each challenge one by one, each starting with a general topic and then providing more detailed explanations below it.
This can set the tone and give your readers a “promise” to show how each challenge has been addressed by your SaaS solution.
It’s also a great way to keep your case study organized and easy to read.
This is where you talk about the implementation of your SaaS product.
What was the plan to address each challenge using your SaaS product?
What business processes or workflows were put in place?
What configurations or settings were used?
What integrations were set up?
Essentially, you want to give your readers a behind-the-scenes look at how your SaaS product was used to achieve the results in the section above.
Again, you’ll want to be as specific as possible. Use concrete examples and data where you can. It’ll be important for statistical purposes. And if necessary, include screenshots or images to help illustrate your points.
This section is also a great opportunity to show off any unique features of your SaaS application that may have been crucial in helping the customer achieve their desired results.
This is where you get to talk about all the amazing results your customer achieved thanks to your SaaS product.
Some things you can use to make a strong case for your results include numbers and statistics, value statements, and testimonials.
Statistics: The most credible way to say that your SaaS product works is to provide cold hard data. Include any relevant statistics that show how your SaaS product has helped the customer achieve their desired results.
Value statements: A value statement is a short, specific sentence that communicates the tangible benefits of using your product. They’re often used in sales and marketing collateral, but they can also be very useful in case studies.
For example, you might say “Our SaaS product helped the customer increase their conversion rate by X%”. Or “The customer was able to save X number of hours per week thanks to our automated workflow feature.”
Testimonials: Customer testimonials are another great way to add credibility to your case study. If you have a quote from the customer talking about how happy they are with your product, make sure to include it here.
Case Study Conclusion
Once you’ve presented all the relevant information, it’s time to wrap things up with a conclusion.
The conclusion should do two things:
- Summarize the key points of the case study
- Leave the reader with a strong impression of your SaaS product
You don’t need to write a long, drawn-out conclusion. A few sentences will suffice. Just make sure that you hit those two key points.
Call To Action (CTA)
Last but not least, don’t forget to include a strong CTA at the end of your case study.
Your CTA could be something like “Learn more about how our SaaS product can help you achieve similar results” or “Get started with a free trial of our SaaS product today!”
The important thing is that you give your readers a clear next step to take if they’re interested in learning more about your product.
5) Ask For Your Customer’s Final Approval
Once you’ve written the case study, it’s time to send it over to your customer for approval. This is important for two things:
- To make sure that everything in your case study is accurate; and
- To maintain good customer relations
Here are some tips for requesting your customer’s final approval:
Remind them of your case study’s purpose: Help them understand how their approval will benefit both you and their organization.
Say that you value their feedback: In the spirit of maintaining good relations with your customer, make sure to let them know that you value their feedback and take it seriously.
Give them a reasonable deadline: Be respectful of your customer’s time and give them a reasonable deadline for approving the case study. A week or two is usually plenty of time.
Adjust case study content as needed: If your customer requests any changes, be sure to make the necessary adjustments.
Thank them in advance: End on a positive note by thanking them in advance for their help with the case study.
6) Promote Your Case Study
Once you have your customer’s approval, it’s time to start promoting your case study.
Here are some ideas on how to get started:
Add It To Your Website
The first place to promote your case study is on your own website. You can add it as a blog post or a new entry in your knowledge base.
Wherever you may post your case study, make sure it’s easy for your website visitors to find. We also advise that you make sure that you have the right keywords in your content for search engine optimization purposes and link related posts as well. Your case study is an important part of your funnel, so make sure that your website visitors are exposed to a highly valuable content.
If you have the budget, you may want to consider using Google ads to promote your case study to a wider audience.
Share It On Social Media
Social media is a great way to spread the word about your case study. Share it on all of your company’s social media channels and encourage employees to do the same.
Include It In Your Email Marketing Campaigns
If you have an email list, make sure to include a link to your case study in your next email marketing campaign. You could also create a dedicated email campaign specifically for promoting the case study.
Submit It To Directories And Forums
There are a number of websites that accept and showcase user-submitted case studies. Do some research to find the most relevant ones for your business and submit your case study.
Send It To Your Sales Team
Remember that your case study can be powerful tools to drive your leads’ buying decisions. Give copies of your case study to your marketers and sales reps and encourage them to use it when communicating with qualified leads.
Final Thoughts About Creating A SaaS Case Study
As a SaaS provider, you must know the power of a SaaS case study as a content marketing and sales tool. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can create a case study that’s both informative and persuasive.
But don’t forget that a case study is just one piece of your marketing puzzle.
Be sure to promote it as part of an overall marketing strategy. The most effective target audiences for case studies are usually those who are at the bottom of the SaaS sales funnel. These are people who are already interested in your SaaS Solution but are still deciding whether or not your product is the best choice.
By promoting your case study to the right people, you can maximize its impact and help close more deals.
Want more guides and tips on growing your SaaS business? Visit our blog here.