CMS Authors: Mehdi Daoudi, Rishi Bhargava, Harry Trott, Xenia von Wedel, Carmen Gonzalez

Related Topics: CMS

CMS: Article

Getting Short-Listed & Winning Work: Include Case Studies in Each Proposal

Add customer success stories for punch in your sales proposals

It's clear that customer case studies and success stories are integral to the sales process. But how many organizations actually use them in every proposal?

According to Robyn Haydon, Australian proposal-writing expert and author of the book The Shredder Test, companies don't integrate customer evidence nearly enough in actual sales proposals. But those that do, see the payoff.

"I know that a lot of my clients get short-listed because they have pushed hard to include evidence in their proposals, and case studies are really part of that," she said.

How do you bring your customer stories into your sales proposals?

Here, Haydon shares her tips from years of consulting with organizations on how to create bids, pitches and sales proposals that get results.

What is the role of a customer case study in a proposal?

Haydon: The customer case study provides proof or evidence that you can do for a new customer what you say you can. It shows evidence of what you have done before by showing results for other customers. A lot of proposals that I review after the fact - that are not successful - seem to be missing that.

How many case studies do you recommend a company include in a proposal?

Haydon: It's about the number of claims you want to make. Maybe there are three - it's important to match specific evidence to each of these claims. For example. ‘extensive experience' is often something a company wants to claim. To do that, it's best to provide at least 2-3 good case studies relevant to the client and their industry, where you spell out in detail what you did and what the results were, and then go on to show a longer list of other similar projects that prove the ‘extensive' claim.

You recommend including a "vignette" of the customer's story in the body of the proposal and then the full case study at the back. How long should vignettes be?

Haydon: Two to three sentences, but a lot goes into getting those sentences right. It can't just be off the top of your head. You need good material before summarizing it. Then the full case study may have a lot of technical description or photos to be included in the back.

In some industries, including just a vignette is enough, especially in competitive tendering where the objective is to get shortlisted. Give them enough information to show results and get them interested enough to want to know more.

How important is it that customer evidence in proposals has actual customer names?

Haydon: It's almost essential in a proposal to have customer names. You can't always publicly name companies that you work with, but it's worth the effort to get permission to share those names in internal documents like proposals. If you can't include hard results, then there are other ways of representing the results of your work, even if not in actual dollars saved.

Any anecdotes of a company seeing better results using case studies in proposals?

Haydon: One company I worked with didn't have any government business and was going after that. We looked at what they did for private-sector clients and adapted case study materials to show that the way they worked in the private sector would be applicable to government. Now almost 100% of their revenue is from government business.

Other tips for organizations thinking of adding case studies to their proposals?

Haydon: It's something that companies need to take seriously. It's quite a big job and an important job - not something that should be an afterthought. You have to set up an internal project to collect these materials. It's not OK to say, ‘we have two weeks, what can we pull out of a hat?'

Customers want to buy sure things. That's why case studies are so important. You have been there and done it before and you can do it again.

More Stories By Casey Hibbard

Casey Hibbard is the founder and president of Compelling Cases, Inc. and author of "Stories That Sell: Turn Satisfied Customers into Your Most Powerful Sales & Marketing Asset." She has helped dozens of companies create and manage nearly 500 customer case studies and success stories over the past decade. Casey is featured in numerous books, articles, and teleclasses. She consults with organizations one-on-one and conducts online customer-story classes.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...
A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to great conferences, helping you discover new conferences and increase your return on investment.
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICOHOLDER named "Media Sponsor" of Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO. ICOHOLDER gives detailed information and help the community to invest in the trusty projects. Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO has opened its Call for Papers. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPOalso offers sp...
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IoT Global Network has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The IoT Global Network is a platform where you can connect with industry experts and network across the IoT community to build the successful IoT business of the future.
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.