Case Studies 101: A Primer For Managed Service Providers

Posted By Paul Holmes on April 5, 2022

What is a case study, anyway?

In a nutshell, case studies are in-depth stories with real-world examples of how your company implemented a solution for a customer.

A case study is not a commercial, an advertisement or a piece of promotional fluff. It's an in-depth look at what happened when you worked with one of your clients, how you solved their problems, and the results you helped them achieve.

To give you an idea of the end result, here are some examples of case study headlines:

  • Downtime Disaster (Almost) Strikes - How We Avoided Catastrophe For Customer 'A'.
  • How We Slashed Costs by 34% For Customer 'B'.
  • A Tale of Two Cities - How We Harmonised Processes For Customer 'C' Across Twin Sites.

(Do those sound tempting? If so, then your customers are likely to read them too. And they'll see the MSP as the hero).

Although case studies should be less salesy than promotional content, they need to be compelling enough to keep the reader's attention, illustrate the value of your services and include a CTA to move the prospect towards signing up with you.

Why case studies are important

You know that as a Managed Service Provider, you're a critical ally for any business, and your customer wants to know they're making the right decision when partnering with you. This means building trust in you and your services is vital when persuading leads to sign up with you.

Those leads want to know the results of working with you well before signing up. They don't want to waste precious time and may go online, search for reviews and cross-examine your reputation before they even contact you. Leaving your site increases the risk of them signing up for a competitor and means you might miss out on a customer before you even knew they were a prospect.

A case study lets you take hold of the narrative and allows potential customers to see how your company has helped similar organisations achieve their business goals and overcome challenges. This visibility gives them confidence in your ability to help their organisation.

Case studies are invaluable because they:

  • Highlight your expertise.
  • Show the value of your services.
  • Demonstrate that you have a proven track record of success.
  • Provide valuable insights into how your services have helped your clients and solved your clients' problems.
  • Allow you to differentiate your company from your competitors.
  • Give you credibility, which can help you gain trust, inspire and motivate your customers.

Case studies smooth the path by showing off your skills, building that all-important trust in your services, and making it easy for customers to say yes to you.

How case studies help Managed Service Providers sell their services

As an MSP, you know that the value of your services goes way beyond dollars and cents. By delivering a high-quality service experience, you can build your customers' trust and give them a reason to stick with you for the long haul. But how do you get your potential customers to see what makes you stand out from your competitors and choose to go with you?

Too many MSPs focus on the features of their products rather than the benefits of the services they deliver. And those benefits don't have to be measurable, such as revenue or time saved. Just as important on a human level are trust, reliability and security. Don't underestimate the value those can bring and how powerful they are at swaying your prospects. If you want to beat the competition, then demonstrating the value of those benefits is the key to unlocking more sales.

This is where case studies come in. A well-crafted case study helps you build trust by providing clients with evidence of the benefits you bring and how those benefits make a difference in the lives of real people.

Case studies also help you stand out from your competitors. By sharing case studies on your website, you'll offer a potential customer a look at your past work and previous successes - a perspective that many of your competitors may not be able to provide. This depth of content allows you to show potential customers why they should choose you over the competition.

When you show a prospect that your services will be worth their investment, they're much more likely to convert into a long-term, profitable customer.

Elements of a compelling case study

When it comes to writing a compelling case study, your goal is to guide readers from recognising their problem to understanding what the solution looks like - and how it will apply to them.

Here are the elements that each case study you write should include:

  • A clear problem that needs solving. The first thing your prospect needs to identify is the problem that needs solving and how this impacts your client. Why was your client looking for a solution? What was at risk if your client didn't do something? How did this impact their bottom line? You need to make sure the reader can relate to it. If they don't empathise with your customer's problem, why would they read any further?
  • Describe the solution. This is where you show your prospect how successful you have been at solving the same problem that they have. Tell them how you solved your client's problem and describe what steps you took to address and correct the issue. Were there any obstacles along the way, and how did you overcome them? The problem should be specific enough so that your prospects know exactly why your solution worked for this particular situation and customer.
  • Describe the benefits and results. The most critical part of a case study is explaining how your service or product positively impacted your client. What were the results? How did things change or improve after using your services? What did a successful outcome look like for your client? What are the long-term benefits that your customer sees from using your services? Are their processes more efficient now? Are they far more secure against cyber-attacks? Was there an increase in time saved for these clients after you automated processes with your software? To emphasise and prove the results, include statistics or data in this section wherever possible.
  • Taking the next step. Make it easy for your prospect to progress through a clear CTA. Reinforce what problems can be solved by using your services and clearly describe what comes next when signing up. Keep it short, hassle-free and actionable.

Bonus points:

  • Include quotes from the client. Nothing beats hearing positive feedback directly from one of your clients. It goes a long way toward removing any remaining objections and doubt prospects may have about working with you. Choose words that illustrate just how satisfied they are with working with you - like "exceeded expectations," "outstanding," "professionalism", etc., and have them quote your company directly.

Common case study pitfalls to avoid

There are a few common mistakes to avoid when creating your case studies. Here are some pitfalls and how to get around them:

  • Fluff/filler. Resist the urge to put in "fluff" or filler content that doesn't add value to the case study. For example, suppose you have a section on "The Journey So Far" that details what type of company the customer is and their location. In that case, it's likely not valuable information and you can cut it. Instead, consider adding a brief customer quote or statistics about their growth since working with your company.
  • Using technical jargon or acronyms. When writing case studies for MSPs, it's essential not to use technical jargon or acronyms unless necessary - and even then, you should explain it so that anyone reading would know what it means (like bolding and linking to another page or glossary of terms). Also, make sure you clarify any industry jargon so that readers outside of technology understand your story.
  • Too many words in general. Keep your sentences concise while still providing all the necessary details. Case studies with lots of text can turn readers off from completing them. Try using bullets and italics for quick points whenever possible instead of long paragraphs - it will help keep those eyes scanning and engaged throughout rather than getting overwhelmed by big blocks of text.
  • Don't make your case study too short, either! Case studies should provide sufficient information about both companies and how they worked together successfully. Otherwise, you risk the case study appearing incomplete. Don't leave your readers looking for more detail as they're considering the all-important decision on whether you are the right for them.

Case studies are an excellent tool for persuading your customers.

Case studies are one of the most powerful selling tools any managed service provider can use. They're an excellent way to persuade your prospects because they show how your services have already worked for other companies, which can help you overcome your prospects' objections to buying.

A case study doesn't have to be long or complicated - it just needs to tell a story about a customer who benefited from your services. Make sure you detail your customer's initial problem, what made it great for your customer, the benefits your company delivered (including metrics where possible), and how you helped them achieve their goals.

Think of them as a tool in your arsenal that proves you're the right Managed Service Provider for your target clients and sets you apart from your competitors. You can use them to:

  • Build trust with a prospective client.
  • Clearly communicate how your services benefit your customers.
  • Demonstrate your value.
  • Advertise your MSP expertise and give you credibility.
  • Demonstrate how you solve various problems that often come up for your customers.
  • Gives your prospects a chance to learn from someone else's experience.

Case studies showcase the experience of your real-world clients, are far more effective than other marketing content, and generate new business as no other marketing tactic can.

They're invaluable for any managed service provider - so why not leverage case studies and invigorate your marketing tactics today?

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