Case studies are stories: your customers have overcome a challenge with your product, and they’re able to speak to how great life is now that Widget 2.0 has automated billing or captured more of their inventory. So what goes into a good story? The anatomy of a great case study includes:

A Challenge

This section of the case study details how your customer was struggling and how frustrating the old solution or old way of doing things was.

Smith Manufacturing couldn’t keep track of the machines on its shop floor that needed maintenance. The floor supervisors attempted to keep a spreadsheet updated, but that was nearly impossible with everything else that was happening in day-to-day business. As a result, machines would break down and be out of commission, causing Smith Manufacturing to miss deadlines or, at the very least, have workers standing around idle while someone scrambled to look for parts.

A Search for a Solution

In this section, you’ll lay the groundwork for your company’s products.

Smith Manufacturing’s IT Director, along with the senior supervisors, made a list of requirements that any kind of materials management program would require: easy to use, easy to access. They made a list of “nice to haves” like sensors.

The Solution Itself

Here’s where you distinguish your company from every other software provider in existence.

ACME Software’s Widget 2.0, Manufacturing Edition, proved to meet these requirements thanks to a browser-based interface, custom dashboards, and integration with sensors. As a bonus, the cost was comparable to other SaaS offerings, but what made ACME really stand out was how the company seemed to really get what Smith’s problems were.

The Results

The results ideally will have numbers attached to them – but in any case, will show some ROI with the product.

Since implementing Widget 2.0 ME, Smith Manufacturing has been able to keep track of the status of all its machinery and proactively maintain them. There have been no unexpected breakdowns, which the company estimates has saved it $70,000 annually just in rush repair fees.

More Elements

Of course, case studies have other elements: advice to prospective buyers is one I really enjoy using if I can get a good quote out of the customer. There’s also a hero, and it’s surprisingly not your company. It’s your customer. It’s hard to remember that, but the customer is the hero because the idea behind case studies is for prospects in the same boat to identify with the hero and want to be that hero. Who doesn’t want to be the IT Director that saved the company thousands a month?