Prospect: “Can you show me some examples of past work?”
Sales person: “Sure, I will send you some later this week.”
Now, it is a mad scramble to quickly come up with case studies and client references that are relevant to the opportunity. Being more reactive than proactive with regards to evidence is suddenly a huge regret.
A better strategy is to constantly collect information and data that will help you prepare for this moment and keep a pulse on your customer satisfaction. Important steps are:
- Collect win/loss notes from sales representatives. Why did you win the deal? Identifying your differentiators–especially ones that other clients saw—is a key piece of any piece of evidence. The loss notes may not help with evidence but they will identify areas for improvement.
- Collect summaries. What was the customer need? How did your product or service fill that need? Readers/prospects need to be able to identify with the customer in your evidence for it to be relevant.
- Conduct regular customer satisfaction research. Talking to your customers about their experience wins you brownie points and gives you the opportunity to identify who would make a good reference/case study. You can also gather direct quotes and inquire about the impact or results of your product or service. You will want to make a special effort to gather any notes on measurable results/benefits. Once you have this information it is easy to craft a case study or testimonial and revisit the client to seek an approval.
If you want to take your evidence strategy to the next level use a tool to store the information you collect (such as SalesForce, SharePoint or Excel) and make it easily searchable.
Comments welcome! How do you collect customer evidence? Do you have any questions/suggestions about how to do each of these steps?
By Stephanie Vanterpool, Research Director