B2B Marketers, It’s Time to Put Your Reviews and Testimonials to Work!
June 16, 2020
- Marketing •
Aden Andrus• June 16, 2020
Reviews and testimonials…when it comes to buying products or services, we all love to check ’em, but we often forget to use them for our own businesses.
This is especially unfortunate for B2B businesses, because B2B customers are even more likely to check reviews than B2C customers.
And the worst part of all? Most of your current customers are probably more than happy to leave you a good review or testimonial.
It’s a huge missed opportunity—one that we see all of the time here at Disruptive Advertising.
So, in this article, we’re going to talk about how to make the most of all that untapped potential. Sound like a plan? Let’s get started.
Do B2B Customer Reviews Matter?
Think back to the last time you signed off on a product or hired a contractor to perform a service for your business.
Odds are, you probably checked out the Better Business Bureau®, looked up online ratings or read a few review articles. Maybe you even called up a buddy to see if they had a recommendation.
Most B2B purchases are a big deal. Even if your key decisionmakers don’t have to get approval from an executive or a board of directors to buy what you’re selling, they’re still going to do their research. There’s a lot of money (and often time) at stake, so your customers want to feel confident that they’re making the right decision.
No one wants to be the guy or gal who wasted hundreds or thousands of dollars on a crappy product or service.
So, if anything, reviews and testimonials are even more important for B2B businesses than they are for B2C businesses. And they’re pretty important for B2C businesses, too.
You want your prospective customers to feel good about buying from your business. To do that, though, you need great reviews and testimonials.
Do Customer Reviews Impact B2B Sales?
Reviews and testimonials not only help prospects feel comfortable with buying from you, but they also often play a key role in convincing potential customers to consider your business in the first place.
As a result, your online reviews and testimonials are an important part of your overall marketing and sales funnel. If you aren’t actively cultivating and using positive reviews, it can affect every aspect of your funnel.
For example, if you feature testimonials on a sidebar on your blog, your free content may be more effective at building trust. Reviews on a landing page for protected content can increase the likelihood that someone will fill out your form. Including case studies in emails shows off the value of your business…and so on.
In our experience, online reviews, ratings, case studies and testimonials have a strong positive impact on our B2B clients’ revenue streams. The more positive reviews their business has, the easier (and more affordable) it is to land new clients.
Here are a few reasons why:
- Increased lead volume. People simply pay more attention to businesses with lots of positive reviews. It’s a social signal that says, “this business is trustworthy, so you should give it a shot”. Often, this results in more leads from cheaper sources.
- Decreased lead cost. Even from a paid advertising perspective, good reviews increase customer trust and shorten the research and sales cycle. This increases clickthrough rates and lowers the cost of conversion.
- Improved conversion rates. The better your reviews are, the more likely people are to give your business a chance. They’re happy to sign up for free trials or other offers…and more likely to convert afterward.
- Decreased impact of negative reviews. As powerful as good reviews are, bad ones can have an even bigger impact on your business. And, no matter how good you are at what you do, you’ll eventually make someone mad and end up with a bad review. If you have a large number of positive reviews, though, you can offset the impact of your poor reviews and protect your business and marketing funnel.
Choosing Your Target Review Sites
When most people think about building an online review portfolio, they immediately think of sites like Amazon, Yelp, TripAdvisor or Angie’s list. If you’re running a B2C business, these are great options.
B2B businesses, however, need to approach things differently.
When it comes to B2B reviews, the trick is to figure out what sources your customers turn to for advice. Some places, like Google Reviews or Facebook Reviews, are a go-to for almost every industry.
However, in each industry, there are a variety of other resources that your customers may also be checking. Here are just a few possibilities:
- Software review sites or directories
- Industry-specific websites
- Professional resources (blogs, forums, etc)
- Vendor review sites
In addition to these types of sites, you may also want to invest in paid online directories. These sites recommend different businesses as potential providers to site visitors.
Most of these sites will allow you to pay to have your business show up at the top of their listings. That’s nice, but if you don’t have great reviews to back up your position on the site, it will feel a bit off to your prospective customers.
For this reason, if you’re considering investing in some sort of pay-per-click or pay-per-lead directory, it’s a good idea to try and build a solid portfolio of reviews on the site (where possible).
In general, it’s fairly easy to put together a list of places where reviews would be valuable. Just think about things from your customer’s perspective and start searching online. You may be surprised at what turns up.
Getting Great Customer Reviews
So, what’s the best way to build a strong portfolio of reviews across your top sites? Just ask!
About 70% of customers are willing to leave a review…if you ask them to.
If that’s the case, why do so many B2B businesses have so few reviews? Well, if you don’t ask for reviews, the majority of people won’t bother to leave. The only people who will are the ones who are unhappy and motivated enough to let the world know.
This is why it’s so critical to make asking for a review part of your internal process.
You can’t wait around for your customers to get excited enough about your business to leave a review. Some will, but most won’t. If you want reviews, you have to put yourself out there and ask for them.
Here are a few easy ways to approach this:
- New customers. Once your customers have had a chance to try your product, set up your software or work with your team, send them an email asking them for feedback. If they seem happy, send them a review link and ask them if they’d be willing to review your business.
- Existing customers. Add a review request link at the bottom of your newsletter emails. If you want, you can couple this to some sort of drawing to further incentivize people to respond.
- Customer support. Whenever your customer support feels like they did a great job, have them ask for a review. Or even better, send them an automated email asking that points them to a specific review site and asks for a review.
Basically, anytime your customers have a positive interaction with your business, that’s a great opportunity to ask for a review. As you aren’t too heavy-handed and keep track of which businesses have left reviews, most of your customers will usually respond positively.
If they don’t, it’s a good sign that something is wrong…which is a great opportunity to step in and fix things before you lose the customer.
Take Advantage Your Reviews and Testimonials
Once you’ve got a decent number of reviews, you need to use them! As we mentioned earlier, reviews and testimonials can add value to almost any aspect of your funnel.
For example, the Spiegel Research Center found that displaying positive reviews increased conversion rates by 190% for lower-cost products and a whopping 380% for higher-priced products.
G2 Crowd reported that 92% of buyers were more likely to purchase a product or service after reading a trusted review. However, only 43% of businesses were using reviews in their marketing strategy.
The key takeaway here? Use your reviews anywhere and everywhere that it makes sense.
Landing pages. Your website. Email drip campaigns. Social media. Ad copy. Sales collateral. Newsletters. If it doesn’t deliver results, you can always get rid of it, but reviews are so powerful that it’s almost always worth testing them in every part of your funnel.
Your reviews might not be your main selling point, but once you have a good set of reviews, they’re a great way to build confidence and increase your odds of turning a prospect into a paying customer.
For B2B businesses, reviews are an incredibly powerful—and yet incredibly underused—way to get better results from marketing and sales. It’s time to fix that.
Your customers love your business and they’re happy to tell the world. All you have to do is ask.
Once you do, you’ll have all kinds of great social proof to use in your funnel. Take advantage of your reviews. Share them with the world. Let your customers do the selling for you!
Oh, and if you’d like some specific recommendations on how to get and use reviews in your marketing, let us know here or in the comments. We’d love to help!
How do you get reviews from your B2B customers? How do they affect your business? Leave your thoughts in the comments.