How to Use Customer Success Stories to Keep Your Funnel Flowing
B2B buyers love customer success stories. Why? Because stories demonstrate exactly how a brand’s products and solutions work in the real world. They build trust with buyers who want to be able to envision for themselves how your solutions can help them achieve results.
Customer success stories benefit brands themselves, too, by building connections with prospects (who are mostly doing their own research before ever contacting you) and getting them into your funnel.
In this article, we’re going to walk through exactly why customer success stories are so impactful, how to develop them, and specific ways you can use them to keep your funnel flowing.
Let’s get started.
- Customer success stories are a form of social proof — they build trust by demonstrating how your solutions have worked for other customers.
- Always emphasize pain points and transformation to make potential buyers feel connected to your story.
- Customer success stories keep funnels full when they’re created at high volume, cover all customer segments, include the customer’s perspective, and are amplified across channels.
What are customer success stories?
Customer success stories are just what they sound like: stories that demonstrate how customers have succeeded using your brand’s products and services.
They’re one of the most effective forms of social proof — content that builds trust in your brand because it shows that your current customers are happy. Other examples of social proof content include reviews, testimonials, or public recommendations (like social media posts).
For B2B buyers whose purchase will require a significant investment, social proof is a critical part of the purchase decision. More than 90% of B2B buyers are more likely to buy a product after reading a trusted review, and 70% seek out reviews during their research.
Customer success stories are like a long-form version of a customer review. They can be even more trustworthy than reviews because of the detail they include, and, when done right, the customer testimonials included within (more on that later).
When you hear the term “customer success stories” you might think of case studies, but it’s important to clarify that they aren’t exactly the same. Case studies serve a similar purpose to customer success stories in that they aim to demonstrate real examples of customer success. But they’re often long, technical, and numbers-focused.
Customer success stories, on the other hand, inspire using storytelling. They’re really effective during the consideration stage of the sales funnel, when customers know what they need but are considering multiple brands that are able to provide it.
They aim to evoke emotion in your potential customers that makes them feel connected through shared experiences — they can relate to the challenges faced by the customers in your stories, and they can see that you’re capable of solving them.
How to Create an Effective Customer Success Story
Focus on Pain Points
Pain points are the specific challenges a company experiences that leads to them seeking a solution. They’re a critical component of making that all-important connection we mentioned before. Too often, brands focus on features and solutions without showing that they really understand the problem. Given that there is rarely one single solution to a problem, this can be a big miss that leads buyers in your funnel to look elsewhere.
Here’s a simple example that demonstrates the concept of pain points:
While the exact context may vary, it’s likely that your customers experience very similar pain points. Setting the stage in your customer success stories by focusing on pain points first helps your buyers immediately relate and want to see how things resolve (aka they’ll keep reading until the end).
The people who read customer success stories want to see results. They don’t necessarily care about the exact details of the solution. Those details are typically better shared later in the sales process when a sales rep can speak to each prospect’s unique situation.
In the case of customer success stories, it’s better to focus on showing transformation. In other words, after you’ve set the stage by emphasizing pain points, be sure to show exactly how your brand helped the customer transform.
Ask yourself questions like:
- What pain points have been completely eliminated?
- What can the customer do now that they couldn’t before?
- How have our customers’ jobs been made easier?
- How are our customers able to serve their customers better as a result?
- Are there specific data points that show these results?
These questions and more help you focus on the transformation rather than the (sometimes boring) details about solution implementation.
Include Your Customers Perspective
Including your customer’s perspective in your customer success stories is a critical part of their ability to build trust with your audience. After all, people expect brands to highlight how their products and services are awesome. But when you show it through a customer’s experience and testimonials, the buyers in your funnel can envision how your solutions will work for them in similar ways.
The way you include your customer’s perspective might look different depending on how you tell your customer success story. If you’re making a video, for example, you might do an on-camera interview with someone from your customer’s organization. If you’re writing your customer success story, a quote or testimonial about their experience can be impactful.
Here’s an example from Salesforce:
Keep it Concise
Like most forms of content marketing, it’s best practice to keep things concise. This doesn’t necessarily mean your customer success stories need to be short. It just means that they should not include meaningless details.
Be sure every part of your customer success story contributes to demonstrating your brand’s positive impact. Superfluous text and extra fluff only serves as a distraction from the important points.
Using Customer Success Stories to Fill Your Funnel
Create them at High Volume
Creating customer success stories frequently and at high volume is a great way to demonstrate that you have tons of happy customers. It shows potential customers that your customer success stories aren’t a one-off occurrence — they can be confident that their companies will experience similar results.
To create a high volume of customer success stories, you’ll need to put processes in place for finding subjects and developing the stories themselves.
Many brands incorporate a question like “Would you be willing to be featured in a customer success story?” into their customer feedback surveys. This is a great way to automate the recruitment process and be sure that the customers you approach will be willing participants.
Partner With Customers on Developing the Story
Developing customer success stories is best done in full partnership with the customer being featured. You always want to be sure you have their permission to feature them in the first place. Once you do, take time to interview them, have conversations, and ask for data points that will make your story impactful.
Most happy customers are willing to participate in these kinds of exercises. Keep in mind that some may want to stay anonymous, and it’s up to you if you want to include anonymous customer success stories in your strategy (many companies do, and their stories are still quite effective).
Cover Every Audience Segment
Think about your ideal customer profiles and buyer personas. Do your customer success stories represent them completely? If not, you should widen your scope. Remember: you want the readers of your customer success stories to be able to relate — to envision themselves in the shoes of your happy customers. In order for that to happen, they need to be represented.
Regularly review your library of customer success stories to be sure they cover a variety of your product and service offerings, customer segments, and buying decision makers.
Don’t waste the connections your customer success stories create with potential buyers by failing to tell them what to do next. Every story should include a simple, clear, prominent, and relevant call to action that your customer can do right there on the page they’re already on.
Amplify Customer Success Stories Across Channels
Last but not least — be your own best promoter! Publishing customer success stories on your website is a great first step, but it shouldn’t be the only one. Share every story on your brand’s social media pages. Ask employees who were involved in your customer’s transformation to share it on theirs, too. Your customer may even be willing to share it themselves.
Amplify customer success stories through your outbound efforts (email especially) and make them part of your sales enablement content library. The more your stories are shared, the more impactful they’ll be — but it’s up to you to give them the platforms.
Revboss’s outbound email software and lead generation services are custom-built for startups, consultancies, marketing agencies, and other B2B organizations. Schedule a quick call with us and find out how we can help you win more clients.