What’s the best way to create a customer success story? Customer success stories communicate best practice and ‘what has worked’ to your sales channels. Their purpose is to arm salespeople with examples of sales success and encourage them to do more of the same.

A customer success story is not:

If done correctly, a customer success story will immediately appeal to salespeople and enable them to successfully apply the embedded learning to their own sales situations. So you should take a different approach – one that is both sales-orientated and honest.

Decide the use case

Most complex solutions have multiple use cases or areas of application. Every success story you write should focus on one particular use case. Ideally, you should create success stories that cover the use in a range of vertical markets or geographies. So, choose a customer that extends your coverage. If possible, select a customer that has publicly stated how the customer’s organisation has benefited, or intends to benefit, from your solution. You may already have this as a case study.

Talk to the salesperson

If the salesperson who led the sale is still available, arrange a call to get the inside story. Research the customer and the use case, so that you start with a good background understanding. Salespeople are busy – limit the call to no more than 30 minutes and stick to that timeframe.

Structure the discussion

Explain that you will be asking questions under three main headings: What was the customer’s challenge? How did the sales organisation address that challenge and win the deal? What customer benefits have been achieved, or are planned to be achieved, and how did it or will it help us win more business? Once you have the key information, ask open questions to get insights and tips; these are often invaluable to other salespeople.

Keep it short

Write up the customer success story using those three main headings: Challenge, Response, Results – between 250 and 350 words. Ideally, include a customer quote at the end. Make sure that the way the salesperson fought off the competition and won the deal comes through loud and clear.

Make it accessible

Ensure that salespeople know what customer success stories are available and how to find them. If you have a Sales Enablement platform or Content Management system, ensure you index (or tag) the success stories by product, use case, vertical and geography. And ensure they are kept fresh – you should have a process for withdrawing any that are past their use-by date.

That’s how to create a customer success story; now sit back and watch those new deals come in!