«return to Tip of the Month ListingThe Sales-Ready Customer Examples Reps Need

By Casey Hibbard

Sales reps need customer references and examples to influence every sales deal. So what happens when they don’t have customer stories in formats they can readily use? They create their own.

These “rogue” reps know what they need, and assemble it on the fly. But that means they’re…

1. Taking time away from actual selling
2. Creating materials that may not match the rest of the company’s marketing and sales collateral
What should be in a rep’s ready-to-go sales toolkit?

• Brief summaries of customer stories
Reps need to drop brief customer examples and anecdotes into emails, voice mails, conversations and proposals.

Give them a short summary of every customer case study in less than 100 words. Include who the customer is, what they do, their main challenge, how the solution solves it and the primary results metrics. I promise, you can do all that in 100 words.

Here’s how…

Customer: A California school district

Challenge: When the district learned it would lose 10% of its funding, it had to find innovative ways of cutting costs while maintaining a high level of service.

Solution: The move to a new storage solution reduces costs and frees time for the resource-constrained network team.

Primary results: Cut costs in half upfront and ongoing; savings of 10 hours/week on management time; 2-3X the storage performance of before

Reps can quickly read this overview and drop stats into their emails, voice mails, discussions and proposals.

• A longer version of the case study
Customers and reps both need the longer back story to understand what the solution looks like in the customer’s environment and how they realized results. This can be a written version, video or both.

• A sales slide
Summarize a customer’s story on a single slide. Capture all the information above, slap the customer’s logo on there (with permission) and include a powerful customer quote. Reps can then slide this right into their presentations, and marketing teams can share them in social channels.

Salesforce.com does this well by using minimal text, and by highlighting results and an individual at the customer company.

The days of ONLY creating a long-form case study are over. Reps and their prospects also need customer examples they can digest in seconds.