The Hidden Power Of Case Studies With Joel Klettke: The Important Role They Play In Your Sales Process

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In this episode of The Agency Accelerator, Rob is joined by guest Joel Klettke to discuss the hidden power of case studies in the sales process. Joel shares valuable insights on how customer stories can support your new business, the different formats to deploy them, and their importance in winning, upselling and retaining clients. We also delve into the value of creating compelling anonymous case studies, the key elements of a successful case study, and the strategic use of case studies throughout the buyer's journey.

Topics Covered In This Episode:

[02:43] Case studies are critical for agencies as they demonstrate skills, differentiate from competitors, and provide proof of value

[08:12] How do get clients to agree to a case study and when should you ask for them?

[14:12] Joel’s view on anonymous case studies (if a client doesn't want you to use their name)

[17:00] How can you get clients to share their ROI and metrics with you?

[21:19] How do we drive the approval process and ensure we don’t stall at this stage?

[25:29] Different levels of content repurposing: nibble, bite, snack, meal, buffet

[29:38] How many case studies should you aim for? 

[32:16] What advice would Joel give his younger self, just starting out in business?

Quotations

“There are a few assets more powerful at demonstrating how you think, how you treat clients, how you work through problems than a case study. When everyone's making similar promises, it really comes down to your proof and your ability to show that thinking and values in action." — Joel Klettke
"When considering how many case studies you need,, try to look at it through the lens of who you're trying to appeal to and what stories will be most relatable for them.." — Joel Klettke

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 Full Episode Transcription

Rob Da Costa [00:00:00]:

Case studies have got a really important part to play in the sales process. They're not necessarily something that you do at the end of a project and just stick them on your website or use them in their proposal, but there are so many other ways to use them and also ways to make sure that you get your case study finished and approved, and that's what we're talking about in today's episode. And I'm excited to have with me case study expert Joel Klettke, and we'll be digging into everything that I've just talked about, why case studies can be dynamic and updated, whether anonymous case studies are worthwhile or away of time. And also Joel's gonna share his concept of nibble, bite snack, milk, and buffet. You might be surprised at some of the answers to the questions as I was. So let's jump into today's episode and dig into everything about case studies. I'm Rob Acosta, and this is the agency accelerator podcast. As someone who has stood in your shoes, having started grown and sold my own agency, and adjust how it feels in the ups and downs of agency life. So this podcast aims to ease your journey just a little sharing mine and my guests' experiences and advice as you navigate your way to growing a profitable, sustainable, and enjoyable business. Hey, everybody, and welcome to this week's agency accelerator podcast. Now this week, we are diving into the topic of case studies and why you should really be focused on getting case studies and testimonials and how they are gonna help in your sales process. And I am really excited to be joined by Joel Klee today, and Joel specializes in the art of creating compelling case studies. And he has seen obviously firsthand how case studies can make a profound impact on your agency's growth and your client's success. And as the founder of case study buddy. He's helped numerous agencies navigate intricacies of case study creation, ensuring that the case study stories resonate with the target audience. So I'm really excited to jump into this topic and learn the wise and the house of case studies. So first of all, Joel, welcome to the show, and thank you so for joining us today.

Joel Klettke [00:02:13]:

Yeah. Thank you for the opportunity to share. I'm really excited to dive into some of the pragmatic

Rob Da Costa [00:02:18]:

and practical bits of getting these things done well. Fantastic. So let me start with the big question or 3 questions, actually, which is let's give a bit of context. Why are case studies so important? And where do you think they fit in the sales process and how can they help move the prospects along that buyer's journey from one stage to the next

Joel Klettke [00:02:43]:

I think starting with why they're so important, especially for agencies, we know that within agencies, the number one reason, for example, agencies tend to get fired is not just results. It's also communication. There's this huge relationship element to how you work with clients, how you deal with them, and what the experience is like, of course, the ROI. is important, but that experience is critical. And there are few assets more powerful at demonstrating how you think, how you treat clients, and how you work through problems than a case study. I think what also makes case studies, and customer stories, really valuing, valuable and important is the fact that they are the ultimate differentiator. When you look at agency messaging, it can be very ubiquitous. Everybody's promising to you know, treat their clients like they're not just enough another number. Everyone's promising, you know, depending on your vertical whitehead links or the best in PPC or the best in copy it. When everyone's making similar promises, it really comes down to your proof and it comes down to your ability to show that thinking and show that, those values in action. It's one thing to say you care about your customers. It's another thing to demonstrate that. I think beyond that, when you boil it down, when people are evaluating agencies or any B2B service They wanna know that someone just like them made the decision that they're debating and got the result that they're looking for and that they enjoyed that experience. And again, customer stories are very powerful, but the other reason. These are so important, especially in economic times like these as they can be used so many different ways across the buyer's journey. So this ties into that second question. Where do they fit in the sales and marketing journey? And I think there's a big misconception that there are only these end of a journey that when someone has already come in and you've had some conversations, so we'll just lob them the case study and close the deal. But I think that is really understating the potential impact. We seeing clients in the agency space use these very well for things like cold outreach and penetrating new markets and appealing to different types of roles within an organization. You can imagine the CMO at a company or CTO or even just a founder in a smaller business. They might all be looking for different things. we've seen clients use these very well in remarketing and in ads and generating interest. We've seen them work very well in long sales cycles in maintaining that interest and having a reason to follow up and check in. Now we've also seen them be very effective in things like nurturing and upselling and even retention. Just doing a really great job of reminding customers what you're doing for others, and where the potential impact for them could be. And so I really think these can span the entire sales and marketing journey when they're done strategically

Rob Da Costa [00:05:31]:

and with intention, which is something every agency, regardless of size or resources or means every agency has the opportunity to think differently about how they come at this. And that's honestly half the battle. Fantastic. Well, there's some really good insights that I just wanna pick up on a couple of those things. So first of all, I think it's a really good shout to say we shouldn't just use case studies at the end of the buyer's journey. And I think that's where people typically well, I think there's two places they use, and one is they put them on their website. And second of all is they probably include them in a proposal or right at the end of that journey. And, clearly, they're missing a trick if that's the only place they think they can be used. And the other thing I wanted to say is that I think using case studies for retention is such a great idea because a client might just buy one service from you, but they only see you as an expert in that service. So now you're sharing a case study where you provide a different service to another client just like them, and that kind of gives that 3rd party endorsement that actually, yeah, they could do that for me as well. So I think those are 2 really good things that we should all be thinking about, and not just thinking about them at the end of the sales process.

Joel Klettke [00:06:39]:

Yeah. I mean, when you think of how often an account typically comes in, as you're saying, for one thing, and then you try to find this natural opportunity, you know a service could be right for them, but you don't just wanna put that recommendation in a report. How do you breathe life into that recommendation? How do you make it real, make it tangible? How do you show them the opportunity? And that's where a customer story can work really well and bringing that in and having the ability to deploy that in different formats too, whether that's a video, whether that's a one-sheet version, whether that's a deep dive. I think the other thing that gets lost in the tango a little bit is that we don't just have to tell these stories one way in one place. We can have a shorter version, a longer version, and a multimedia version, and that can all work at different stages too. If you're doing cold outreach, someone might be looking for something more concise. Don't have their permission to give them something long and detailed just yet. If you've been with a client for for some time, then, hey, maybe that video acts almost like a reference call, almost like being able to say Hey. You could talk to this person or here's what they would have to say about. So I think you're keying right into it, especially for agencies that upselling that nurturing, that retention opportunity is really substantial.

Rob Da Costa [00:07:50]:

Great. And that sort of brings us to the next question, which is, well, 1st of all, many agencies are struggling to get clients to say yes to participating in a case study. So I'm interested to know what your recommendations are for that. But more broadly, at what stage in the client journey should I actually ask the client? Should it only be right at the end of a project, or should it can it be somewhere else?

Joel Klettke [00:08:12]:

Yeah. Let's talk about the buy-in piece of that first, and then we'll that'll bring us naturally to that second question. So I think You have to think about this through the lens of a client's perspective. We believe and we've seen that a no typically comes out of a few places. One is fear, fear of what's going to be disclosed. How am I going to be presented? will you be releasing sensitive details that I'm not comfortable with? and the answer to fear is to give them a sense of control to make sure that when you're making this ask, you're positioning in such a way that they know you'll have an opportunity to review everything. Nothing goes live without your review and approval. And the other piece of that that the trick that we've seen worked quite well is when you make that initial ask Be specific. Be specific about what parts of the relationship you're hoping to talk about and mention that in the ask. So when you reach out, another small tidbit will come out in what I'm about to say, but say, could we feature you? Could we share your success in a story? We, even though it's in our name, case study buddy, I don't like the words case study. It sounds very clinical. It sounds very cold. It sounds very take instead of a mutual sort of shared success. So can we feature you and then mention this is the component of the relationship? These are the numbers we'd ideally like to share. Nothing goes live without your approval. So fear is one thing that kills these. The other thing that could kill these is convenience. Wondering how long will this take me. What is the process? What is involved? Because just like you, people are busy. They have many priorities. Things competing for their time. And depending on the size of the client you're working with, they might also have to get buy-in from their boss or others to review and take the time. So how do we counter this inconvenience perception? We come up with a process. And so being able to come to them and articulate clearly, here's what's involved. It's gonna take no more than an hour all in of your time. That gives them a clear opportunity to go, okay. That's manageable. And one of the small tidbits I'll add to this is something you can do as an agency is have a bit of like a case study 101 deck or like a single slide. We call it a pitch packet that just outlines Here's the process. You always have control. here are the quick steps involved, and make sure you can hold to the promise that you'll take no more than an hour to an hour and a half of the time, and that should include the interview plus time to review a draft. So the the final thing that can kill buy-in is the question of what's in it for me. Why should I scratch your back If you have a good relationship with the client, this actually comes up far less new things, but people are often afraid of and asking, oh, asking them to do a favour. They're not gonna wanna do that. People block a lot of their own shots, but Yes. Some clients may wonder, okay. Well, if I do this for you, what's coming back my way? Sometimes thanks is all they need. Other times you might consider, okay, is there, some level of, you know, you can look at things like discounting or bonusing in a service or bonusing hours in a month. If that's appropriate for the relationship, just be sure that if you do that, you do disclose that in the story. It doesn't have to be rocket Science. It's gonna be a single line. Just say, this client will was offered this in exchange for the story. but often things isn't enough where you can look for something as simple as buying them a coffee for their time or or gifting them the gear that, you know, you've, you've filmed the interview on, though, a mic and a ring like that kind of thing. But fear and convenience and what's in it for me tend to kill it. And that's sort of, you know, how to counter that. when it comes to the question, I believe that the second question was, where now I've lost my train of thought? What was that second question? The second question was where in the relationship with the client should you ask for the case? Yes. There'll only be at the end of a project or can there be somewhere else? Yes. It can be somewhere else. So I think you wanna think strategically about the types of stories you're telling and who you're trying to appeal to. And so it also depends on your offering and what you're doing, but for example, I'll borrow from the software world and there'll be parallels for an agency. Some software companies have a lengthy implementation process. There's a fair amount of time that they go through to onboard somebody and to get things set up and get adoption. And software companies, for example, they might tell stories just about successful implementations. they might not even get to the point where the person's an active user and I'm going. They may pause at that point and interview them and capture that story there. I think from the agency standpoint. You can tell stories about kind of the onboarding and strategic process, but I think what's most valuable if we sit in the seat of a prospect What we're trying to understand is how will you treat me? How do you think through problems and how do you solve the dilemmas that I have? So even if it's not at the end of the project. I think you wanna wait until there's some sort of tangible return that you can point to until the person's been with you long enough. that they could testify to it. Yes. I've been treated. Well, yes. I haven't heard. Yes. We are seeing some ROI. So I think it's a little bit different for the agency room that, yes, you do wanna wait until you've got some sort of outcome to point to. It doesn't have to be a metric. It doesn't have to be a KPI. It could be a relational thing. often that's at the end of the project, but it's a very lengthy project, if you've got, say, a midway 6-month point and things are really trending up, hey, things might be right there to tell a story of that early transition. And the great thing about case studies, customer stories, you can always update them. They they they are a moment in time, but you can always add to that story. Come back later. I love the idea even the timeline of the customer relationship. Here's where they began and over time, you're continually updating. So I think, you know, wait till you've got some tangibles, but you don't have to wait for the perfect moment because often it will never come.

Rob Da Costa [00:13:48]:

Yeah. Good advice. And it's really interesting the parallel between getting an asking a client to be a case study and building a partnership because I teach my clients a lot about building a partnership and the concerns that your potential partner might have and how to make that relationship work, and it's very similar to what you've just described with, asking for a case study. What's your view on clients that say yes to a case study, but don't want their name mentioned? So they're willing to do a case study, but it needs to be anonymous because I always feel like they're a bit of a waste of time, but I'm not sure that's a fair assumption. What's your view on that?

Joel Klettke [00:14:25]:

Yeah. I think what's surprising is anonymous stories can actually be a gift in many cases. A lot of people have the mindset, well, it's logo or bust. If we can't name the company or the individual. What's the point? That's really common. But, for example, we've done for one company over 75 different anonymous stories. They're in a sensitive space, cyber security. You can imagine there's maybe not a lot of people lining up to say we've had a breach, or this is part of our top-secret stack. but I think the mentality to go in with is you can still tell a very compelling, very believable, anonymized story there just need to be some trust elements in there. There still needs to be a clear narrative arc. And in some cases, it's the expectation if you work with clients in a very sensitive space. So you work with government or cybersecurity, HIPAA compliance, whatever it might be. Other prospects will understand the fact that someone didn't want to go on the record. So to tell a really powerful anonymous story, here are some of the things that you can do. Number 1, focus on preserving the individual quotes. You can take their name out of it. You could maintain their title you can scrub out details that are personally identifying but don't lose those quotes. bring those quotes in. That is the specificity that is very hard to fake. It's that flavour that makes it real. Consider the fact that if someone is willing to go on the record and they know they'll be anonymized, they might actually be more comfortable going in-depth about things like metrics, KPIs, the stuff that other clients who are named might be more resistant to. So if someone is willing to go anonymous, that is your opportunity to say, Given that this is anonymous, are you okay with us disclosing some of these things and strategic items that maybe otherwise you wouldn't want out there and you'll be surprised so often they say, That's fine. If we're not gonna be named, then what's it to us? No no problem at all. So anonymous story still can be powerful and they can be a gift in that. They can be very detailed very strategic and go really deep on some of the more sensitive aspects. So I don't think they're a waste of time. I just think they need to be done

Rob Da Costa [00:16:27]:

correctly and done well and done with the mindset of telling the story in a compelling way. Great. That's really interesting. One of the things I love about this podcast is that I interview people that change my thinking. So thank you for that. That was good. Now talking of metrics, obviously, metrics can play a really important role in a case study to make it more compelling and more believable, but it they can also be really difficult to actually get from the client. So how can agencies go about gathering those metrics and showcasing them in the case study?

Joel Klettke [00:17:00]:

Yeah. I'm gonna break this into two parts today and in the future. because today you're limited to the relationship you have, and the conversations you've had in the future. There's lots you can do to be proactive about this. So For today, the way to come at this is when you make the ask of your client, don't wait till they're on the call to be asking them about metrics. You can imagine we live in a world where we we kind of imagine people know what the drop of a hat, the impact we're having in those numbers. We imagine people meticulously track and and keep track of the ROI. That's not always the case. In fact, that's actually the exception and not the rule. So when you make the ask, present the types of metrics you'd like to speak about and give them a little bit of homework because everyone wants to come on a call and sound prepared and sound smart and sound eloquent. And so by planting that seed beforehand, that gives them the opportunity to prepare or to say, we actually don't have those or we're not comfortable sharing those in the latter with when someone says, we're not comfortable sharing that. There are still things you can do, you can ask them, okay, could we find a bit of a proxy metric? Could we go for a broader range or could we include can we take that number and frame it through a lens that is not sensitive? If they say we don't have those things, you can look for ways to kind of arrive at a safe and mutually agreeable estimate. So for example, one is let's say something you've done as an agency saves them. an incredible amount of time because they work with you. They don't have to hire someone internally to do X Y Zed. Well, what you might do is say Alright. you know, let's look at what might the average salary for someone doing that might be. And you can do a little bit of math with the customer to say, Here's what the impact looks like. Here's what you would have had to spend doing it in-house. Can we arrive at something like that? So you can do some mental math like that. The only thing is don't do that alone. Don't do that in isolation and then come back and say, here's a metric. It should be a discussion, that you talked about. Now what do you do when there are no metrics? because you will run into that situation. So we you wanna feature a client, but they say, you know, we really don't have anything at all. We haven't been tracking. We don't have metrics. We can't do proxies. Well, remember at the hop of the call, I said, so many issues in agency relationships come from the relationship part, that partnership piece that you've stressed, Robert, is so important. Tell the story of that partnership. You can have the results be anecdotal. You can have the results not be as precise, but focus that story then on the concerns, the pain points other prospects will have again communication. Do they report proactively? Are they innovating for me? Do I feel like I'm looked after? Are they strategizing with me, working with me? So think about the things that people will be looking for as prospects. So that's today. Now in the future, some things that you can do that I think every agency should be doing is making metrics visible and obvious. We think we put them in reports and there they are, but be proactive about bringing those up. make sure you have a cadence of calls with customers and make k p talking about KPIs and ROI normal. frequent and normal. There should be an ongoing dialogue. And the other piece that we advise is from the moment someone comes in. In most discovery calls, we're doing this. We're just not documented, but asking about their goals, what they want to achieve, what success looks like for them, and then continue that thread. Bring it up every time you meet, how are we tracking against this? How is your ROI looking? By having this proactive and ongoing discussion, it encourages your client to make tracking their problem, to make knowing their ROI, their problem. And so you can build this kind of symbiotic very proactive relationship together that encourages them to know their numbers

Rob Da Costa [00:20:44]:

and reminds them of those numbers throughout the relationship. Yeah. I mean, I mean, that's just great advice for longer-term customer retention and also making sure the client's focusing on the right thing. Cause if you understand what good looks like and what success looks like and you're all focused on delivering that. They're much more likely to be happy than them having one set of metrics in their head and you having other. So good advice. Now So I've done this. I've got the case study draft, and I now send it over to the client. How do we make sure that the whole thing just doesn't die deaf because it gets lost in sort of some black hole of wait went for their approval and then it doesn't matter what you do? You just can't get it back. How do we overcome this and ensure that the case study actually gets finished?

Joel Klettke [00:21:29]:

Yeah. So here too is where being proactive makes a huge difference. Expectation setting creates and solves all of the toughest issues in case studies, bad expectations, create all of the issues, right expectations, fix all or most of them. So the first thing is from the moment you start engaging with the client on this, you want to give it a deadline. You wanna say we would love to have this live by x date just so that they know here is the window we're operating on? You don't wanna make them feel forced or rushed, but just let them know, hey. Of course, you're gonna have an opportunity to review, but we're targeting this publish date. So you can just plant that seed passively in the beginning. The next thing that's most important is velocity is everything. The faster you can move from the point of the interview to the draft that they see the more likely this ever goes live. You can imagine, again, it's a bit like a Jenga tower. You're taking things priorities from one place, and putting them in another your priority will get buried if it takes you a month to get them a draft. So strong, we recommend you do everything in your power to get something over to them within 5 business days or less from the point of the interview to 1st draft. That is a healthy, safe window that makes sure they stay engaged. When you've sent it across, you want to be polite, but persistent. You don't wanna badger them, but you wanna make sure that you are checking in frequently if you haven't heard back. This is not the time to be timid obviously wanna be sensitive. but when you've sent something across, make sure number one that it's easy to access. This is in a format that's easy to get feedback on. So something like a Google doc where all they need to do is comment. That's good precedence. Make sure they know that, hey, you don't have to line at it. Just tell me what you'd like to see changed will do all the heavy lifting. That makes it easy for them to go, okay? This is not a big chore. and then remind them periodically. So you know, it's not unreasonable to be following up with them in the early going, a cadence of once every 3 days or so. And then if you still have not heard back, you'll pick up the phone. get on a call. Is there something, is there an issue in the story? Is there a stake who's not bought in? having that visibility into where things might be going, or it gives you the ability to help them and to navigate through that and to make it really easy for them. So those are some of the things you can do to make sure. The other thing that commonly kills stories, again, this is being proactive, but it's it's a big mistake. that a lot of agencies and all B2B companies make is don't make your customer look like an idiot in the story. so often we we've been told, oh, well, if we can dramatize this if we can make the gulf between where they were and where they got to even more dramatic, if we can emphasize that, then the story will be better. But what happens is that well-intentioned effort honestly can make a lot of clients look like a damsel or dude in distress rather than an informed and wise person who made a smart decision and got a great result. So number, you know, a really common reason that the story gets rejected is because you have put the client in whether you intended to or not, a light that makes them look foolish. So when you write those challenges sections, give them agency

Rob Da Costa [00:24:41]:

make them look smart. Yeah. That's -- You don't have to play that up. That's such good advice. And I think that's probably why a lot of times clients will say no to case studies because they're worried about that. So that's good advice. I also like your plight in persistence because when we're talking about sales, we always talk about polite persistence and patience. So the same thing applies here. You know, don't give up. If you're not gonna pursue it, then don't start it in the first place. Now once it's approved once it's written and it's approved, obviously, we're gonna agree with a client how it's how where it's gonna be used. But from a sales and marketing perspective, besides what you said earlier, have you got we we're gonna stick it on our website? We're gonna use it in our proposals, but Have you got any other suggestions on how from a sales and marketing perspective we can use the case studies in different ways we can cut them up?

Joel Klettke [00:25:29]:

Yeah. So a very easy framework that everyone can understand here, nibble, bite, snack meal buffet. When we think about repurposing this, we want to think about the appetite for information that different prospects will have. How hungry are they for information? How much can they stomach at this point? Because we won't that opens up a world of possibilities. When we talk about something like a nibble, we might be talking about turning it into a graphic for a social post. You might take a great pull quote from the piece, share that on your LinkedIn, or share that on Twitter wherever else you're active. You know, you might bring those testimonials onto your sales pages. That's one very small way of leveraging what you've just done. You could bring a sound bite into your cold outreach sequence, things like that. When we talk about a bite, this is something a little bit more than a nipple. That's where having, say, a very high-level version of the story as, say, a LinkedIn carousel could be compelling or, a very simple one sheet that you use in hold outreach. That can be very compelling. when we talk about something like a snack, this is where you might put it together in a slide deck that you present. live on a call or you use as a leave-behind in a meeting. You might have something printed out for trade shows that you leave behind. If you're a in a space or an industry where people often come to these live events, having something you can leave them with that's beautifully designed. That can be very interesting. when we talk about a meal, that is sort of the full-blown, deep version of the piece. So that's where you wanna have your thinking, your strategy on display. that can live on your site. that can also be sent out in a newsletter. You can have an internal client newsletter, and share that with them. That's another place where you can deploy these. Now when we talk about buffet, this is when you've got many meals. You've told many stories. A lot of people stop at where we've got these individual stories. We share them in different places. But a buffet is taking those stores and now you can create net new things out of those. So a roundup post of your top successes of the year or a nuclear deck, we call it, where you take a bunch of one-sheets, and put them all together. Now you've got this incredible asset you can leave behind after sales calls. Some other ideas for ways you can deploy these. We've seen them be successful in remarketing ads. So when someone's come to your site, checked out a particular service page. Hey. Why not serve them a story relevant to that? we've seen them work well. I was recently pointed out to me. For example, you can take the audio from the interview. And a lot of, I recently learned YouTube is I think the number 2 podcasts, place people listen to podcasts so they have it running in the background with audio. You could take the audio from that interview, and turn that into a little bit of a sponsored ad to a podcast. So you can even leverage it there. But across the entire buyer journey, when you think about where your sales and marketing activity falls naturally, is it cold outreach? Have one sheet? Is it ads? Or remarketing have that there? Is it in your nurture sequences? Is it in your retention? There are many, many different ways to leverage these stories from from video to written to these audio pieces and then don't forget to, you can combine them. When you have a written piece on your site, there's nothing stopping you from accompanying that with a video or even again, take the audio from that in an interview that you can use on social as an audiogram or whatever. Embedd that right alongside the quote so someone can now push play and hear those wonderful things being said about you and your agency as well. So many, many different ways to repurpose. And that Nimblebyte snack meal buffet framework makes it a pretty easy kind of thing though, hey. Where might we try this out?

Rob Da Costa [00:29:05]:

Great. Love that. I love that. I've written that down nimble bite snack meal buffet. So, a good one to think of. And I guess The point you've made is one that we need to bear in mind with all our marketing, which is you need to have this joined-up thinking of not seeing things in one dimension, but actually thinking how many different ways I've got this piece of content, how many different ways can I use it rather than thinking I need to create hundreds of pieces of content. Talking of which, my last quest question before we wrap this up is Well, and this maybe isn't the answer to this may be unfair because it might be how long it's a piece of string, but how many case studies? If I'm a small to midsize agency, I've been around a few years, how many case studies should I aim for?

Joel Klettke [00:29:42]:

Yeah. I think to flip the question on the side, I think it's an ongoing thing. when we wanna try to quantify I think you want to think through, okay, just quantifying how many industries do I sell into? And is industry an appropriate way of you know, framing a vertical? Will will people in those industries wanna see themselves in these stories? How many roles do I sell into? You know, again, do you sell into CMOs and CTOs at in-house companies do you sell into founders? Do you sell to engineers? Kind of mapping out who the different roles are also gives a sense of, okay, it would be really good to have a story featuring a person like them. and rather than, you know, I mentioned earlier, like, we've done 70 over 70 or 80 anonymous stories for one company, but that is an enterprise size company with a huge client base. You cannot, as a smaller agency, expect your win rate to be anything close to that. You simply may not have that many clients, and that's okay. But rather than look at this purely through the lens of, well, I've got 3 and I'm, now I'm set, or I've got 5 or I've got 1, try to look at it through the lens of who am I trying to appeal to and what stories are gonna be most relatable for them. Another way of thinking through it is what are the common objections you run into? And could you have a story for each of those? or if you're in a very competitive vertical, who do I constantly get compared to? Can you tell switcher stories of people who came from another agency to you? So it's less about the raw number and more about What types of stories are gonna enable you to run the kinds of campaigns or have the kinds of discussions or closes off the kinds of objections you're seeing in sales and marketing funnels. So, you know, start with 1. If you're overwhelmed by all of that, just start with 1. Start by aiming for 1. And over time, as you refine your process, your way of asking as you get better and better at getting buy-in, you'll start to see things open up in terms of what types of stories could I tell who's on the receiving end. How is that gonna enable me and my business and revenue goals beyond just here's another win? Tell a story with intention.

Rob Da Costa [00:31:42]:

Great. Such good advice. I really like the idea of thinking about how you can use case studies to overcome objections because Funnily enough, that's a conversation I was having this morning with a client, not about case studies, but about overcoming objections, and they are a really good way of doing it. So really insightful, Joel, Joel, and we could go on talking for ages, but I'm conscious of trying to keep our episodes to 30 minutes. So let me ask you the last question before I ask you about whether people can find out more about you which is if you could go back in time and give your younger self just starting out in business a piece of advice, what would it be?

Joel Klettke [00:32:16]:

Yeah. To ask for help. You know, I really I had this attitude when I started, this posture of wanting to look competent, wanting to look capable, and wanting to be those things. And so I had a hard time being vulnerable with others and admitting that I needed help, or I couldn't figure something out. I always had them and tell you that, oh, I can figure it out. I can put my nose down. I can muscle through. And often I could, it's not that the talent Wasn't there or the skills couldn't be learned, but I wasted so much time by not simply being vulnerable asking for help admitting that others no more than me and could teach me and not putting myself in a place to learn from those who are further on. So that's what I would tell myself is, hey. Get over yourself, kid, and ask for help. You're gonna move faster, and you're gonna

Rob Da Costa [00:33:04]:

avoid stepping on some serious, you know, landlines in the process. let me ask you a follow-up question to that, which I sometimes ask my guests, is would your younger self listen to you?

Joel Klettke [00:33:15]:

you know, I think I think I'd still be pretty hard-headed. You know what? Again, I was so entrenched in that idea of wanting to be able to do it. I know there's no question. But I'd need to, you know what? I'd need to make a heck of a pitch, but I think I could get myself to listen.

Rob Da Costa [00:33:35]:

We don't we we have nothing to prove, yet we feel we do, and that means that we feel like we have to be Superman or superwoman and figure it out ourselves. And, of course, we don't. Now if people want to find out more about you, Joel, or your business, where would the best place for them to go be?

Joel Klettke [00:33:50]:

Yeah. So you can check out case study buddy.com. We've got a blog there full of advice and insight. Go do it yourself type of stuff. Even if you have no intention of ever working with us, you'll walk away with something that makes your own process. better. So do check that out. We also have a newsletter you can sign up for there, and it's twice a month. We share ideas, examples, insights, and things you can go and apply. I hate fluff pieces, so I always try to make it pragmatic. So there's that for me. feel free to connect on LinkedIn. I don't always reply quickly. I do always reply. So Always happy to jam on ideas or,

Rob Da Costa [00:34:25]:

share. So, yeah, those are the 2 best places. Fantastic. Well, I'll make sure we include both of those links in our show notes and just wanted to say, a big thank you for giving up part of your morning to join us today and sharing your insights and wisdom around case studies. So pretty much appreciate your time.

Joel Klettke [00:34:42]:

Yeah. Thank you for the opportunity.

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