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Success Story vs Case Study

Customer Success Story vs. Case Study vs. Testimonial

By now, most B2B sales and marketers know that content about you customer success is the most powerful content a B2B company can create.

Prospects are far more likely to trust and engage with Success Stories or Case Studies than just reading marketing promo materials.

There are broadly three forms this content can create: Customer Success Stories, Case Studies, and Testimonials.

Testimonial

A testimonial is a client going on record expressing they are happy with your company and your brand.

This is the easiest content to create, and a good first step.

Testimonials do not need to contain details. You can even get a testimonial from a client that may not be 100% satisfied with 100% of your offering. The goal is just to get some documentation that they are happy with you as a vendor.

Testimonials take the form of quotes (written or video), with basic context and detail. They are simply a customer acknowledging they are a happy client.

It is really important for a testimonial that you have the following:

  1. A headshot of the person who provides the testimonial
  2. That person’s official job title
  3. The logo of their company
  4. Their written permission for you to USE their name, picture, company logo, and testimonial!

Here is an example of one of our customer’s testimonials:

testimonial sample - shawn odaniels

Customer Success Story

The next level is the customer success story. This is a client saying they like you, and providing some details for WHY they like you, what your company did well, and why they might recommend you.

A Customer Success Story is usually a short video, or a 1 page PDF. It will contain details like “we saved 20% on our shipping cost”.

This content shows that you have a client that can point to specific reasons for why they are happy, and will go on record saying so.

Here is an example of one of our own Customer Success Stories:

customer success story example

Case Study

Finally, there is the Case Study. The King of B2B content and proof of success.

Case Studies contain everything described previously, but with a whole lot more context.

A Case Study shows the client likes you, why, and why it matters to them. It proves the business case for the relationship.

A Case Study allows you to document what the client was dealing with, what you do for them and why it works well, and finally, why it really matters to them.

Best practices for Case Studies is to follow some version of Problem – Situation – Results.

When they work well, a Case Study explains what the client was struggling with before working with you (The Problem or Situation), how you fixed or improved it (The Solution), and what impact it had (The Results).

A great Case Study allow the reader (hopefully your prospect) to really understand how your solution works for another organization.

They can vary in length from anywhere from 500, to as many as 1,500 words. Great Case Studies leverage quotes through the text, and often use visuals to illustrate let points.

You can check out some samples of Case Studies here.

Creating Case Studies well is a complicated, in-depth process. You have to find a willing client, get their permission, and set-up and prepare for an interview. And that is all BEFORE you even start writing or designing anything. Check out our guide on preparing for a Case Study here.

Julian Lumpkin

Julian has focused his career on B2B sales and sales management, specifically bringing new technologies to market. After years as an elite sales rep, he began leading teams, specifically focused on coaching sales reps on how to be direct, credible, and respected throughout the sales process. Julian conceived of and designed SuccessKit when running an 18 person sales-team at Axial, a b2b startup, as a way to help sales reps have better conversations by utilizing customer success examples and other content more effectively.

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