When it comes to making an investment in their company, successful business people tend to look at the product or service they’re interested in buying through a skeptical lens. They may ask, “Is the value it’ll bring to my company worth the price? How do I know for sure it’s for me? What guarantee is there that this will solve my specific problem?”
The business proposal is your platform for answering those questions and leaving the prospect confident that you’re the solution they’re looking for. The bulk of your proposal will tell your prospective client all the great ways you can help them do business better...but what if you could show them?
You can; and the vessel is the case study. Case studies are fact-based stories of how your product has relieved pain points for your clients and improved their business. They’re cold, hard proof of your track record as a social media saviour.
Including case studies in your proposal is an effective method of proving you’re the best candidate for the job by showing your worth, building trust, and speaking directly to your reader.
Prove your value
Demonstrating how past customers have increased revenue, expanded awareness of their product or service, or enhanced their profitability in other ways as a direct result of your company is a surefire way to pique the interest of prospective clients.
If your case study subject is comfortable with publicizing the information, include numbers that show exactly how your product or service has benefitted them. For example, if your client says your product has shaved 25% of the hours it used to take to perform a certain task, make sure to include it. Business people are numbers people, and if you can throw some tasty stats their way, you’ll have them licking their lips.
If you want to stand a chance of inking a deal with your prospect, you’ll have to prove that you’re not all talk. Giving examples of how real world companies are using your services with success is a great way to gain the trust of your prospective client. Showing how others are finding your service useful validates what you’re doing and what you can offer. It puts walk into that talk.
Connect with the client
Marketing 101 says to be a successful marketer, you must make your audience feel like you’re speaking directly to them. The same principle applies to business proposals: you want to show how you can solve your prospect’s specific problems. Case studies can help with this.
Gather as much information as you can about your prospective client and their pain points. When compiling your proposal, include a case study from a company that faced similar challenges. Showing how your services relieved another company of the same issues they’re experiencing is a powerful way to connect with your lead on an emotional level and demonstrate that you have the exact solution they need.
How to write a case study
The process for writing case studies isn’t complicated, but it does require some planning and forethought.
Give yourself plenty of time before your proposal is due to get your case studies together. You’re essentially asking your clients to do you a favour by letting you interview them and tell their story, so you’ll want to work around their schedule.
You’ll also have to allow yourself plenty of time to write it up, have it edited, and then formatted to your proposal.
Who should you approach?
As a social media pro, you have an advantage to scoping out clients who would make great case study subjects. Find clients who already advocate for your company by taking a look at who’s engaging with you on Twitter and Facebook. Look for the “I don’t know what I ever did without you!” posts.
Once you find someone that jumps out at you, investigate to see how active they are with your company. If they’re using your product or service regularly and to its fullest potential, you should consider pursuing them for a case study.
Another route is to ask someone on your team who deals with clients regularly for recommendations, like an account manager or customer support rep. They know the clients better than anyone, and should be able to come up with a few names of companies who have benefitted from your services.
It isn’t a great idea to cold email a client about doing a case study if you haven’t interacted with them yourself before. Have someone they’re familiar with at your company warmly introduce you to get your foot in the door.
Once you’ve connected, sell them on the idea by pitching the case study as free public relations for them. They’re not only helping you out, but they’ll also benefit from the exposure of having a positive story written about their business. And being social media experts, you’ll know just how to provide some extra promotion.
Your case study should follow a general formula of: company introduction, the problem they were having, how they found your company, what you’ve done to solve the issue, and a happy ending about how their life is easier and business is better as a result of your service.
You’ll need to ask questions to tease out the information for that storyline. What’s the company’s background? What was your biggest social media pet peeve? How did we help? How have we made your business operate more smoothly? What would happen to your business if you couldn’t access our service anymore?
Be sure to send your client your questions in advance of the interview so they’re prepared to give their best answer.
Writing your case study
Before diving into your case study, come up with a thesis statement to write from.
Example: Sally Smith of Sally’s Catering found it challenging to come up with unique posts each day that would engage her audience. She ended up posting random pictures of sandwiches. We developed a social media strategy for Sally that was inline with her vision and goals, ultimately increasing her social following by 30% in three months.
Remember that your case study is a story and needs a beginning, conflict, resolution, and a tidy ending. You should be able to do this in a few hundred words. Don’t forget to include direct quotes from your subject to bring it to life.
Develop a bank of case studies you can pull from each time you send a proposal. It’s good to have an assortment so you can plug in the ones that relate most directly to your prospect. If you can, include two or three case studies in each proposal.
Case studies are a valuable way to leverage your relationships with existing clients to score new ones. Including testimonials on your services will fortify your proposal, giving you better odds for landing the deal. Share real world stories that prove you’re facilitating growth for your clients, and wait for the calls to start rolling in.
Until now, managing marketing proposals has been a tedious, painful chore. Proposify changes all that. We’re revolutionizing the entire process, from creation to close and every deal-closing moment in between. We’re online business proposal software that gives your team the competitive edge.