How to Obtain Strong Metrics for IT Software Success Stories

January 31, 2019

By Dave Schafer

Kapralcev/Shutterstock.com

Gauging the financial benefits of a new fleet of trucks can be pretty clear cut: you get X miles more per gallon with the new model, or maintenance costs have decreased by X percent. With those numbers, you can easily figure cost savings.

It's similar with an onsite telemedicine clinic, for example: you save X number of hours in lost productivity because workers now go to the in-office clinic rather than drive to the doctor's office, wait their turn, and then drive back. Based on the average salary of employees, that leads to $XXX,XXX in increased productivity per year.

Those metrics can be powerful benefits to build a customer success story around.

But for enterprise IT software solutions, measuring financial benefits gained can be difficult. The increased personalized interactions and faster responses, for example, may have led to a sales bump, but that could just as easily be partly attributed to a sale, a natural run in the marketplace, or an added salesperson.

Your client may be reluctant to make a blanket statement that sales increases are due to the IT solution, which can lead to weak customer success stories. But by laying the groundwork early in the solution implementation process, you can obtain tangible, fresh metrics that allow you to tell a convincing story.

Let's look at how you can do that.

 

Prepare the client for their feature

Mention to your client even before implementation begins that you'd like to eventually feature their successful deployment in a story for marketing purposes. That way, you can start getting approvals, which can sometimes take a while with larger companies. Then, remind them at various stages that you've gotten permission to do a story, and ask for permission again: "Is it still okay if we feature your company in our success story?" The more permissions you get, the less likely it is that there will be issues on the backend.

Also, by establishing up front that you want to do a success story, you can map out when the best time to tell the story will be – not too early, before they've seen real benefits, and not too late, when enthusiasm for the solution has cooled, other business-building initiatives have come to the forefront, or the people who bought in your solution might have left the company.

 

Define the client's goals…

Ask the client early what specific goals they hope to accomplish with your solution. Then focus on just one, two, or three points, depending on the length of your planned story. Otherwise, your story will quickly become too complex and cluttered. Keep a tight, narrow focus for a more powerful story.

Find out what they've done to try to solve the problem(s) in the past. This is Success Story 101, right? But too often, success story writers wait until after the fact to get this information. When that happens, the source at the client's company may not remember the problems as vividly (or at all), and he/she certainly won't feel the urgency they'll feel if you talk to them early.

 

… and collect the current metrics for those goals

Once you know the specific goals your client wants to achieve with your solution, collect the baseline numbers associated with those goals. Those are the current numbers the client is hoping will improve after deploying your solution.

Put those numbers in your pocket (or folder). They'll be important later.

 

Finally, compare before-and-after numbers

Then, be patient. Check in with the client periodically to see how the implementation is going. That will remind the client that you're there and excited to tell their story. Find out what bumps in the road they're experiencing, and how they're getting around them. That can make for compelling opposition and triumphs in your story.

When the implementation is complete and the company has seen benefits from your solution, get the numbers in the same areas as you'd collected earlier. Now you can compare the new numbers to the old numbers without requiring your client source to search his/her brain or give you some generic numbers that aren't as powerful as real, hard numbers.

And, as with the telemedicine example, you can use those numbers to compute dollars saved or simply let the sheer amount of time savings stand on its own. Either way, you've got concrete numbers to hang your success story on – the key to a great story.

By collecting numbers early, setting a clear path for creating a great story, and collecting concrete, tangible information, quotes, and data all throughout the implementation, you'll create more powerful and more convincing success stories.

 

Dave Schafer, Corporate Storyteller, is a freelance B2B content writer who specializes in story-based marketing content.

 


The views and opinions expressed in Marketing Maestros are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.


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