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Standout Traits for a Great Partner Case Study (With Examples)

It’s no surprise that partner case studies are a wee bit of a struggle to produce. Getting your customers to agree to a case study is one thing; getting your customer and your partner to agree to a case study is a miracle. On top of the fact that the partnerships world is still such a gray area for partner managers everywhere (let alone their leadership), partner case studies in SaaS are a rare sighting in the wild (think: the bat-eared fox. Do you even know what that is? 😝)

partner-case-studies-crossbeamSo, knowing what can set your partner case study apart — you know, once your customer’s seen the results and you’ve got all the relevant stakeholders on board — is kind of like a guessing game. Take this list, for example: I checked upwards of 100 websites and the examples stop before we even hit the 15-mark (to note: there were also some partner case studies not worth mentioning. We’ll save those for a different post). 

So, think of this roundup as snapshots of the elusive partner case studies that lurk in the depths of the SaaS ecosystem — a co-marketing material still so new that, just maybe, by producing one of your own, you’ll be ahead of the curve already. 

Below, we offer some partner case study standout traits, followed by a collection of examples located in (butler voice) the gallery, and a checklist for rolling out your own case study program.

 

1. Wow your readers by placing the results in the title.

While the rest of your case study should give the reader context, the results are what matter most to your potential buyers and their leadership teams. So, put the results at the top! SugarCRM kicks off its case study with Kyloe Partners and Bullhorn by sharing how they doubled lead-gen campaigns while cutting 60% of their customer’s workload.

Our suggestion: if someone were to ask you “What is the most impressive part of this case study?”, what is the first thing you’d say? That’s your headline.

partner-case-studies-crossbeam-kyloe-partners-titleFrom SugarCRM’s case study with Kyloe Partners and Bullhorn

 

2. Make the metrics obvious. 

If your customer has observed more than one area of growth, that’s awesome. Draw the reader’s eyes right to the numbers. In Facebook’s case study with Zapier and Wicked Good Cupcakes, they placed their metrics in a standalone box that makes the numbers the most important information on the page.

partner-case-studies-crossbeam-metricsFrom Facebook’s case study with Zapier and Wicked Good Cupcakes

Meanwhile, Acquia’s case study with Third and Grove and King Arthur Baking Company features their results point-blank in a standalone line that reads “Results.” (Say what?)

partner-case-studies-crossbeam-king-arthur-baking-resultFrom Acquia’s case study with King Arthur Baking Company and Third and Grove

 

3. Define the customer’s use case or challenge. 

It’s likely that your customers can use your integration for multiple use cases, so be clear about what this particular customer’s use case is from the start. In Microsoft Azure’s case study with Sourced Group and a Canadian bank, they clearly list out the challenge, the solution, and the result in three brief columns.

partner-case-studies-crossbeam-sourced_groupFrom Microsoft Azure’s case study with Sourced Group and a Canadian bank 

They also dive deeper into the bank’s challenges with a numbered list.

partner-case-studies-crossbeam-challengeFrom Microsoft Azure’s case study with Sourced Group and a Canadian bank 

 

4. Define the audience or market. 

Your customers will want to know how you’ve solved challenges they’re facing internally or that their customers may be facing. Make an easy connection for them by pointing out the specific audience or market the case study applies to. 

Greenlight Guru’s case study with Rook Quality Systems explicitly describes how RQS’s clientele of medical professionals informs RQS’s product investments. 

partner-case-studies-crossbeam-audience-1From Greenlight Guru’s case study with Rook Quality Systems

 

5. Get customer quotes.

Tableau’s case study with AWS and ride-hailing app FREE NOW includes quotes from FREE NOW’s Head of Analytics showing how indispensable Tableau has been, in tandem with AWS, for their team’s daily operations. 

Tip: Repurpose your customer quotes by including them on your website, in press releases, and even in your outbound sales outreach. 

partner-case-studies-crossbeam-tableau-quoteFrom Tableau Software’s case study with AWS and FREE NOW

 

6. Put the results in perspective: Include a timeframe. 

Growth metrics don’t mean anything if they’re not tied to a before and after. Include the exact timeframe your analysis fits into.

And yes, Facebook’s case study with Zapier and Wicked Good Cupcakes is, indeed, cupcake-themed!

partner-case-studies-crossbeam-facebook-zapier-timeframe-1From Facebook’s case study with Zapier and Wicked Good Cupcakes

 

7. Get partner quotes.

You have quotes from your shared customer, why not also include a quote from your partner? Partner quotes can be especially useful for agencies who want to prove the value of their services to their customers and software vendors.

Cisco’s case study with Matternet and Stratus Information Systems includes quotes from individuals from Stratus Information Systems and Matternet — each of whom found the other to be invaluable while implementing Cisco’s software. 

partner-case-studies-crossbeam-stratus-information-quote-2

partner-case-studies-crossbeam-stratus-information-quoteFrom Cisco’s case study with Matternet and Stratus Information Systems

 

8. Add personal stories.

Including brief personal stories can give extra life to an otherwise data-heavy document (think: the people behind the products and, more specifically, the customer service that makes working with a SaaS company so customer-friendly).

SugarCRM’s case study with Kyloe Partners and Bullhorn shares a meet-cute-ish story detailing how Kyloe Partners’ co-founder and director and Bullhorn’s co-founder met back in the day (Can’t you just see it in a movie?). 

partner-case-studies-crossbeam-kyloe-partnersFrom SugarCRM’s case study with Kyloe Partners and Bullhorn

 

9. Show them the people behind the product. 

Did I mention a big part of SaaS is that last “S”? It’s all about the service.

Greenlight Guru's case study with Rook Quality Systems talks about how much RQS values the company because of its relationship with GG employees. 

partner-case-studies-crossbeam-greenlight_guru-teamFrom Greenlight Guru's case study with Rook Quality Systems

 

10. Avoid the “wall of text” effect. 

Grab your designer (Hi, Nick!), and develop a creative way to organize the benefits or data you’re showcasing in the case study.

Braze’s case study with Segment, Amplitude, and IBM includes a graphic displaying their in-platform activities. 

partner-case-studies-crossbeam-visualFrom Braze’s case study with Segment, Amplitude, and IBM

And Acquia’s case study with Third and Grove and King Arthur Baking Company includes the stakeholders, situation, challenge, solution, and results neatly laid out — bringing the good stuff front and center. 

partner-case-studies-crossbeam-king-arthur-baking-acquiaFrom Acquia’s case study with King Arthur Baking Company and Third and Grove

 

11. Create video content.

For an extra special case study, and if your customer’s on board for the extra time commitment, consider creating a video. 

ActiveCampaign’s case study with Salesforce and the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, includes a video at the top that dives into what the MSI team’s work days look like, the challenges they experience, and how the ActiveCampaign-Salesforce integration has helped them. 

If you’re curious, we picked apart ActiveCampaign’s entire co-marketing playbook for getting to #1 in Salesforce’s marketing automation AppExchange.

From ActiveCampaign’s case study with Salesforce and the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago 

Sensyne includes a case study video on their website, existing outside of their official case study with Microsoft and Cognizant, explaining how they’ve deployed patient monitoring capabilities during COVID-19. 

From Cognizant’s case study with Microsoft and Sensyne Health (video case study on Sensyne Health’s website) 

 

12. Talk up your partners.

Include context about your partners, and talk them up. This case study should make you and your partner shine! 

Tip: Include your partner case studies on the customer success section of your website and your partner page. It’s not just your potential customers reading these case studies, it’s also your potential partners. 

Amazon Web Services’ case study with Deluxe Entertainment Services and Capgemini features a description of Deluxe Entertainment Services in a standalone section on the right.

partner-case-studies-crossbeam-aws copyFrom AWS’ case study with Deluxe Entertainment Services and Capgemini

 

13. Include a CTA.

‘Nuff said.

partner-case-studies-crossbeam-CTAFrom Acquia’s case study with Third and Grove and King Arthur Baking Company 

 

14. Create ancillary content that promotes your case studies. 

Braze’s article in their Perspectives magazine links directly to their case study with Segment, Amplitude, and IBM.

partner-case-studies-crossbeam-blog-post-1Excerpt from a blog post promoting Braze’s case study with Segment, Amplitude, and IBM

 

If you’re developing partner case studies for the first time, or if you want to give your existing case studies a second life, check out our partner case study gallery below to gander everything we’ve mentioned thus far in a big picture view.

Partner Case Study Gallery: 

And now, a collection of examples to help inspire your own work.

1. Facebook, Zapier, and Wicked Good Cupcakes

Read the case study.

partner-case-studies-crossbeam-facebook-zapier-1

2. Braze, Segment, Amplitude, and IBM

Read the full case study.

partner-case-study-crossbeam-braze-excerpt

3. Greenlight Guru and Rook Quality Systems

Read the case study.

partner-case-studies-crossbeam-greenlight_guru-1

4. SugarCRM, Kyloe Partners, and Bullhorn

Read the case study

partner-case-study-crossbeam-sugarcrm-1
partner-case-study-crossbeam-sugarcrm-2

 

5. WPengine, BCF Agency, and Orangetheory Fitness 

Read the case study.

partner-case-study-crossbeam-wpengine

 

6. ActiveCampaign, Salesforce, and the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

Read the full case study

partner-case-study-crossbeam-activecampaign

 

7. Microsoft Azure, Sourced Group, and a Canadian bank

Read the case study

partner-case-studies-crossbeam-Microsoft Azure

 

8. Cisco, Matternet, and Stratus Information Systems

Read the case study.

partner-case-studies-crossbeam-Cisco

 

 

9. AWS, Deluxe Entertainment Services, and Capgemini 

Read the case study.

partner-case-studies-crossbeam-AWS

10. Boomi and Workiva

This case study is a little different. In Dell Boomi’s case study with Workiva, they talk about how Workiva’s developers use Boomi to develop integrations for a variety of customers. 

Read the case study

partner-case-studies-crossbeam-workiva-1-1

partner-case-studies-crossbeam-workiva-2-1
partner-case-studies-crossbeam-workiva-3-1

 

11. Tableau Software, AWS, and FREE NOW 

Read the full case study

partner-case-study-crossbeam-tableau-free_now

12. Acquia, Third and Grove, King Arthur Baking Company

Read the case study.

partner-case-study-crossbeam-king-arthur-baking

13. Cognizant, Microsoft, and Sensyne Health

Read the case study.

partner-case-studies-crossbeam-cognizant-0
partner-case-studies-crossbeam-cognizant-1-1

partner-case-studies-crossbeam-cognizant-2-1

partner-case-studies-crossbeam-cognizant-3-1

Your Partner Case Study Checklist

Great, you have the fundamentals. But what now? To rollout successful case studies you’ll need to make a few decisions: Considerations for planning your partner case study strategy: 

  • Will you develop joint case studies with some of your early adopters before going live with a given integration? (hint: case studies like this can help strengthen your press release and make the case for other customers interested in adopting) 
  • Which customers do you have the best relationship with, who may be interested in participating in a case study?
  • Is it okay to reach out to the above customers, or will it cause friction in their relationship with your sales or marketing team? (e.g. your team has already sent that customer a number of asks in the past month. Enough is enough!) 
  • Are there specific use cases you’re looking to amplify through the case study? (e.g. an increase in revenue vs. a better leads to opportunities rate) 
  • Will your case studies be more like a blog post-like or a fact-sheet-like? (note: Braze publishes case studies in their magazine, Perspectives
  • Will you create video case studies in addition to written case studies (like Cognizant’s case study with Microsoft and Sensyne Health)? 
  • How long will your case studies be? (ActiveCampaign and Salesforce’s case study with Museum of Science and Industry is quite extensive while Acquia, Third and Grove, and King Arthur Baking Company’s case study spans a single page.

Considerations for distributing your partner case studies:

  • Where will your case studies live? Will they be gated with the goal of lead-gen? Or will they be available to the public? (Tip: If you make your case studies publicly available, you may want to consider a “Download PDF” button anyway so readers can pass the case study along to their team, just like Microsoft Azure does) 
  • Will your case studies exist as standalone, downloadable documents, as dedicated pages on your site, or another format entirely?
  • Will you pull quotes or pieces of analysis from your case studies as previews for a case study homepage — or for elsewhere on your site/marketing materials? (You’ll want to let your customer know your plans ahead of time)
  • Will you use your case studies in nurture sequences to drive engagement with your leads?
  • Will your case studies be part of a bigger campaign with the participating partner?

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Want to take more steps to source and execute top partnerships (and all the co-marketing assets that come along with them)? Get our Partner Playbook👇.