As you grow new business areas like Managed Services, Document Solutions, Production Print or Wide Format one of the most valuable tools you can have are case studies. Let’s face it -- everyone knows and trusts you as a great provider of copiers. And, the value proposition for a copier or printer is fairly simple.
The trust you have for office equipment may not immediately translate into these new business areas. Just because you have serviced someone’s copiers for 20 years doesn’t mean they will trust you with their network support or workflow software.
At the same time, the value propositions for these new areas is more complex than a value proposition for a copier. Your clients understand what they are buying when they buy a copier (for the most part...) but they may not understand the full value proposition of a cloud-based document management system or a managed network security package.
Reason 1: Building Trust
To build trust and explain the value proposition, the best tools you can have are case studies from current customers. Why? Case studies imply you are credible and trustworthy. If one company trusts you in this area, shouldn’t others?
Reason 2: Making Complex Concepts Understandable
Case studies also help make complex concepts seem more understandable. For example, a potential client may not understand the complexities of scanning and automatically indexing a document. But they can understand a story about how an accounts receivable department scans and stores all of their inbound checks and receipts, reducing their costs, creating a secure backup and enabling faster audits.
In the case of managed network services, they may not be able to understand the intricacies of network technology, but they can understand a story about a company owner that now rests easy knowing her network is secured to protect customer’s credit information and users can stay productive with help desk support.
These stories form the foundation for the conversations that your sales people have with prospects. If they don’t have good stories to tell, salespeople will resort to talking about speeds and feeds or bits and bytes. When that happens, eyes glaze over and sales never get closed. Make sure your sales team is armed with real-world stories about how your managed services, document solutions or other new initiatives are helping other companies.
Bonus Reason: So You Can Understand Why People Buy
The final reason you need to write case studies is to understand why people buy. When I do a case study for a dealership, I’ll typically call the sales person first to get the scoop on why the client signed up. Then, I’ll call the client and ask them why they bought into the product, solution or service. Nine times out of ten what the client tells me is different than what the sales rep said. Typically, the sales rep will say that they bought because of the ROI on a lower cost per page or something similar. Without fault, the client will give me a long list of benefits that they are enjoying from the product, service or solution. When I ask if they are tracking how much they are saving, most of them have no idea. They signed up and are happy for benefits that the sales person isn’t even aware of.
Writing case studies will help open your eyes to the true value of the products, services and solutions you sell. You’ll see the benefits through the eyes of your clients. This can have a powerful impact in improving the effectiveness of your sales and marketing message.
Whatever you do, make sure to invest the time to interview the people who buy into your new initiatives like managed services or document solutions. Find out why they buy. Write it up. Capture it on video. You’ll be surprised at what you learn and you’ll create powerful competitive advantage.