In B2B marketing, few strategies are as powerful and effective as customer stories. The science of customer stories allows you to create captivating narratives that showcase the impact of a product or service and act as a catalyst for trust, credibility, and customer buy-in.
But have you ever wondered what it takes to create compelling customer stories and unlock their true potential? In this episode of the Predictable B2B Success podcast, host Vinay Koshy and guest Joel Klettke delved deep into the “science of customer stories,” offering invaluable insights, practical tips, and a blueprint for success.
Customer stories are more than just marketing collateral—they are windows into the minds and experiences of those who have benefited from your company’s offerings. Understanding the intricacies of crafting these stories and harnessing their persuasive power is crucial for B2B success. Joel Klettke, an expert in case study programs and the founder of Case Study Buddy, shared his wealth of experience and expertise in this episode, shedding light on the art and science behind successful customer storytelling.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the key takeaways from the episode and uncover the step-by-step process to create customer stories that resonate, foster trust, and drive business growth. From contextualizing requests and capturing the right narratives to maximizing distribution and involving cross-functional teams, we’ll unravel the science of customer stories and learn how to harness their full potential throughout the buyer’s journey. So, prepare to embark on a captivating journey into the world of customer stories as we uncover the essential elements for predictable B2B success.
Watch the episode
About Joel Klettke
Joel Klettke is a copywriter who ventured into customer success stories when a board member of a company he was working with recommended him for a project. Despite having no prior experience in this area, Joel embraced learning and growing in a new field. As he delved into the process, he discovered the various disciplines involved in creating compelling customer stories, including interviewing, coordinating, and strong writing skills.
Inspired by the lack of a team-based company specializing in this domain, Joel saw the potential to offer a valuable service and decided to establish Case Study Buddy. Recognizing the universal demand for customer success stories among B2B companies, he set out to build a team and become a leader in this space. Joel’s journey is driven by a passion for taking on challenges and creating a successful business.
Mastering the Art and Science of Customer Success Stories: Insights from Joel Klettke
In a world where B2B companies constantly strive to succeed, one key challenge is gaining customer buy-in. In this episode of Predictable B2B Success, host Vinay Koshy engages in an insightful conversation with guest Joel Klettke, a renowned expert in creating customer success stories. Joel shares his experiences, strategies, and lessons learned, providing valuable tips for crafting captivating success stories that resonate with customers. This post will summarize the episode’s highlights and explore the key takeaways for B2B companies looking to leverage the science of customer success stories.
1. The Art of Effective Communication:
Joel addresses the importance of presenting requests to customers in a specific and contextual manner. He suggests that personalized, well-structured asks are more likely to elicit positive responses than generic ones. Companies can establish a collaborative and trusting relationship with their clients by assuring customers that they have control over the narrative and can review and revise the content.
2. Utilizing Anonymity for Sensitive Industries:
For industries like cybersecurity, maintaining anonymity becomes crucial, allowing for exploring specific details without compromising security measures. Joel emphasizes the value of deep exploration in customer success stories and how anonymity can be a powerful tool in uncovering insights and building trust.
3. Harnessing Higher Authority:
In certain situations, legal or public relations restrictions can hamper storytelling. However, a request from a higher authority within an organization can alleviate such barriers. Joel explains how leveraging internal support from higher-ranking individuals can help overcome obstacles and provide a platform for customer success stories to thrive.
4. The Journey of Creating Customer Success Stories:
Joel shares his personal experiences, starting with his work as a copywriter for a hosting company. This led him to accept the challenge of crafting a customer success story for Pingboard, a company outside his domain. In doing so, he discovered various storytelling approaches, realizing that developing customer success stories requires a combination of discipline, interviewing skills, coordination, and strong writing abilities.
5. The Birth of Case Study Buddy:
The need for a dedicated team specializing in creating customer success stories sparked an innovative idea in Joel’s mind. He recognized the demand for such stories in B2B companies and founded Case Study Buddy. His goal was to assist businesses in generating customer success stories and establish a standardized and repeatable step-by-step process to optimize their storytelling efforts.
6. Maximizing the Impact of Customer Success Stories:
Joel discusses the often overlooked aspect of distributing customer success stories. These stories can be valuable tools utilized throughout the buyer’s journey. By repurposing and creating purpose-built assets tailored to different journey stages, companies can elevate the impact of their customer success stories. Additionally, revisiting and updating customer stories is an ongoing practice, ensuring their relevancy and resonance.
7. Encouraging Customer Participation:
The success of case study programs heavily relies on intentional strategy and active conversations with customers. Joel highlights the significance of treating customer success stories as living and dynamic elements rather than one-time events. By involving customers in the narrative and granting them control, participants are more likely to embrace the opportunity and share their experiences with others.
8. Empowering Customers to Share:
It is critical to make it easy for customers to share the final version of their success stories. Joel suggests providing collateral such as social imagery, PDFs, and one-sheets to encourage sharing. Additionally, customer advisory boards and reference programs can foster ongoing relationships and create a sense of community, increasing the likelihood of customers sharing their stories.
9. Mutual Benefits for Individuals and Companies:
Participating in customer success stories can yield tangible benefits for individuals and companies. Companies gain exposure and demonstrate how their solutions can make a positive impact. Individuals are recognized for their intelligence, decision-making skills, and achievements. By framing participation as an opportunity to evangelize their work, offering positive exposure, and providing access to new features or opportunities, companies can motivate individuals to share their success stories.
10. Orchestrating a Successful Case Study Program:
Joel emphasizes the collaborative nature of case study programs, which cannot be solely tasked to the marketing department. Recognizing the importance of customer marketing and advocacy roles, companies must actively seek out and curate their success stories. By aligning the efforts of leadership, sales, customer success managers, account representatives, and marketing teams, companies can create a centralized source of truth, clearly define goals, and bridge any coverage gaps in storytelling.
Mastering the Art and Science of Customer Storytelling: Insights and Actionable Takeaways from Joel Klettke
Let’s delve into the main themes discussed in the episode and provide actionable steps to help you master the art of customer storytelling.
1. The Power of Context in Communication:
One of the challenges companies face is capturing and passing on the context from customer interactions. Klettke highlights the importance of incorporating questions about challenges and standout experiences in surveys to capture context. Additionally, he suggests mapping out regular communication with customers and assigning individuals to capture and document context. Creating a central source of truth and standardized methods for gathering context across teams ensures consistent and impactful storytelling.
Implement a systematic approach to capture and document customer context. Design surveys that address challenges and standout experiences. Assign dedicated individuals to capture and document context, creating a central source of truth for your storytelling efforts.
2. The Repeatable Process of Creating Customer Success Stories:
Klettke shares his journey of creating a customer success story for Pingboard, which inspired him to form Case Study Buddy. He emphasizes that creating customer success stories is difficult but can be achieved through a repeatable, step-by-step process. Companies can become leaders in the customer storytelling space by researching the process, understanding different storytelling approaches, and building a team.
Invest in understanding the process of creating customer success stories. Research best practices, explore various storytelling approaches, and build a team specializing in customer storytelling.
3. Leveraging Customer Stories Throughout the Buyer’s Journey:
Distribution is a crucial yet often overlooked aspect of customer storytelling. Klettke highlights the importance of repurposing and building purpose-built assets for different stages of the buyer’s journey. Companies can ensure their relevance and maximize their impact by updating and revisiting customer stories.
Develop a strategic distribution plan for your customer stories. Repurpose the content for different stages of the buyer’s journey and regularly update and revisit stories to keep them fresh and relevant.
4. Making it Easier for Customers to Share:
Klettke emphasizes the need to make it easy for customers to share the final version of a customer success story. Provide collateral such as social imagery, PDFs, and one sheet that customers can easily share. Establish customer advisory boards and reference programs to foster an ongoing relationship and increase the likelihood of sharing.
Create shareable collateral for your customer success stories. Develop social imagery, PDFs, and one sheets that customers can easily share. Establish customer advisory boards and reference programs to maintain an ongoing relationship with your customers and encourage sharing.
5. Incentivizing Customer Participation:
To encourage customers to participate in customer storytelling efforts, Klettke suggests reframing the request as, “Can we feature you?” This mindset shift focuses on the potential benefits for both parties. Companies can emphasize positive exposure, links to their website, and access to new features or opportunities as incentives for customer participation.
Reframe your request for customer participation as an opportunity to feature them. Highlight the benefits of positive exposure, links to their website, and access to new features or opportunities.
6. Breaking Down Silos for Successful Customer Storytelling:
Customer storytelling should be a team effort involving various departments within the organization. Klettke emphasizes the importance of collaboration between leadership, sales, customer success managers, account representatives, and marketing teams. By bridging gaps and fostering conversations, companies can curate and generate their own case study stories.
Facilitate collaboration between different departments involved in customer storytelling. Encourage conversations, structured discussions, and engagement with sales, customer success managers, and other teams to understand their needs and goals.
Leverage the science of customer stories:
Customer storytelling is essential to B2B success, enabling companies to showcase their impact and build trust with potential customers. By incorporating the insights and actionable takeaways from Joel Klettke’s interview in this episode, B2B companies can master the art of customer storytelling and drive predictable success. Embrace the power of context, follow a repeatable process, leverage stories throughout the buyer’s journey, make sharing easy for customers, incentivize participation, and break down silos to create compelling customer success stories that resonate and drive business growth.
Some areas we explore in this episode include:
- The challenge of getting customer buy-in
- The importance of presenting requests in a specific and contextual manner
- Assuring customers of control and the opportunity to review and revise
- The value of anonymity in sensitive industries like cybersecurity
- How a request from a higher authority can overcome restrictions
- Capturing and passing on context from customer interactions
- The process of creating a customer success story
- The science of customer stories
- The importance of distribution and repurposing customer stories
- The benefits of storytelling for individuals and companies
- The steps and teamwork involved in creating case studies
- And much, much more.
Listen to the episode
Related links and resources
- Check out Case Study Buddy
- Learn from Anthony Butler – How to Use Primal Storytelling to Move Your Customers And Drive Growth
- Learn more from Joe Davy – 7+ Customer Engagement Marketing Strategies to Make You a Pipeline Hero
- Learn from Sam Shepler – 9+ Proven Ways to Create a Successful Customer Driven Marketing Strategy
- Learn from Todd Caponi – How To Build Trust With Customers: 9 Rules To Abide By
- Check out the article – 3 Experts On Content Marketing and Stories To Grow Your Business
- Check out the article – 8 Principles of Modern Content Marketing That Should Shape Your Blogging Strategy
Connect with Joel Klettke
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