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Three Steps to Getting B2B Client Endorsements

April 21, 2011  

There's nothing like a good case study from a happy client to prove your worth in a public endorsement. But if you're like a lot of B2B marketers, getting clients to agree to let you tell their success stories can be like pulling teeth. As Paul McKeon puts it in a recent article at MarketingProfs, "In the face of hard resistance from clients, most B2B marketers manage to publish only a smattering of case studies."

What's a B2B firm to do? McKeon suggests you focus on the benefits to your clients of telling their stories, because the value of case studies is not so apparent to them. "You are asking your clients for a big favor: a public endorsement. In return, they may perceive nothing but competitive, legal, and branding risks," he notes.

McKeon offers a list of steps to take to craft a mutually beneficial case study program. Among them:


Nurture the relationship early. "To identify a case study opportunity early, case study winners have strong communications with their colleagues in sales and customer service," he writes. But, he adds, wait until "the client is in a position to endorse you" before you ask for permission.

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Comments

  • by Nick Stamoulis Fri Apr 22, 2011 via web

    Great advice! A case study or testimonial is worth a lot to any company, but especially a B2B company. I think that writing the case study to glorify them is a great way to convince a client help you. It doesn't appear as self-serving because they get something out of it. It's more of a partnership than a buyer-seller relationship.

  • by David Kamm Fri Apr 22, 2011 via web

    Excellent advice, Paul. I agree 100% with this approach and general philosophy. For those interested, a while ago I wrote a 3-part blog series on B2B case studies here:

    www.ibeamconsulting.com/the-iblog/b2b-customer-case-studies-insights-and-tips-part-3

    I think it fits well with the ideas in Paul's post.

  • by Luis Portiansky Fri Apr 22, 2011 via web

    Extremely useful strategies for marketers to follow. I often hear the lament from fellow B2B marketers that their clients wont endorse a case study - Paul's specific recommendations can work when carefully implemented.
    I would also make sure I collected positive feedback, syndications of the content and all PR opportunities & report back to the client. I've found that last step generally paves the way for future endorsement requests.

  • by Michael Webster Mon Apr 25, 2011 via web

    If I were the client, I would worry about the FTC's rule on advertising, advertorials, and endorsements.

    A short to the point testimonial appearing on a relevant third party site is going to be just as useful. It is the third party's problem then to be compliant.

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