«Return to Blog List Happy Customers Tell Their Stories – Live and In Person

As you’ve heard here before, a customer’s story can be used for much more than just collateral or for website content. Live presentations are one of the hottest ways to showcase customer stories – and all the more powerful when the happy customer does the presenting.

Picture a customer contact speaking before a room full of peers at an industry conference, talking about his/her successes, and how, by the way, the customer uses solutions from certain vendors to help make it happen. What better way for a company to get an endorsement from a reliable source, in front of a roomful of potential customers?

In just the past two months, I’ve helped clients capture customer stories four times to be presented at industry events.

How does it work and what do you need to take into consideration?

First, the presentation development (PowerPoint or other) can happen before the vendor creates a case study, or after…

speak to doc

From speaking presentation to a written/video case study

Often, a speaking opportunity comes before a written or video case study. Here’s how this might play out.

The vendor company might take the lead, providing details to the customer about the speaking opportunity, getting the customer’s commitment, helping create an abstract for the event for the customer to consider and helping manage timelines. 

The vendor often does a lot of the heavy lifting in creating the presentation, in hopes that that legwork will help earn (and keep) a mention of the vendor’s solution in the presentation.

The process is then similar to creating a case study: you would need to gather background from internal vendor contacts first, and then collect information from the customer. In discussion with customer contacts, talk about themes and angles that the customer might want to highlight and what to avoid.

Before the event, the presentation will likely need be approved by the customer’s organization. If so, you’ve got content from a satisfied customer that can likely be turned into other forms of customer story collateral, if the customer agrees.


From written/video case study to presentation

Or the speaking opportunity may come AFTER the vendor has documented the customer’s story in a case study – making the presentation development easier.

Here, start with a touch-base meeting with the customer to determine the angle or theme for the presentation, and again, what can be included or left out. The actual case study may just be one part – even one slide – of the greater presentation. But it’s still high-profile, contextual exposure.

Regardless of which direction you approach this, here are 4 things to keep in mind: 

  1. Keep the focus on the customer’s success, not your product/service – Know that a presentation is not intended to be a stand-alone customer case study just about the vendor’s solutions. It’s an opportunity for the customer contact to showcase and educate about success in some area, with the vendor benefitting from additional exposure.
  2. Collaborate closely with the customer on themes – For one recent client project, the customer contact offered some creative ideas for ways to package the presentation, as did the vendor. It was a productive collaboration that resulted in a presentation that pleased – and provided positive exposure for – both sides.
  3. Think ahead about other uses – Live presentations can pave the way for documented vendor case studies on some of the biggest organizations, which are typically shy about being named in public stories.
    The live presentation can open the door to these other opportunities. For that reason, try to get details into the presentation slides or notes that you want to use for other purposes, if possible.
    For example, for one recent project, my client wanted to get certain key messages about the company/solution into either the slides or presentation notes because the entire presentation would be run past the customer’s legal and corporate communications teams. If it was all approved, the vendor could then more easily use that information in the future in other materials.
  4. Decide who’s doing what – Who will create the abstract? The outline? And then the actual presentation slides?
    It can be done in a variety of ways. Sometimes the customer contact and his/her team want to take ownership of the slide creation or maybe they want the vendor to draft a first pass and then they take it from there.
    Either way, a collaboration is best. If the vendor company is active in the process, it can get a few of its desired messages into the presentation more easily. But above all, stay focused first on showcasing the customer and his/her success, with vendor key messages coming second.

When you help your customers use success story information in a variety of formats, you provide multiple opportunities for both of you to shine. 

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