B2B review sites are growing in popularity as marketers realize the added benefits beyond the promotional aspect of the review itself. Companies such as Marketo and ID Wholesaler have found great success by using positive reviews on channels such as G2 Crowd and TrustPilot to enhance their email marketing and social initiatives. Using that content, they’ve found, can help to seal the deal for buyers.
B2B buyers actively search for reviews to inform them in the buying journey. In fact, 55% of B2B buyers noted that reviews were one of the most important variables in making a purchase decision, according to Demand Gen Report’s 2016 B2B Buyer’s Survey Report.
“[Review] sites are definitely getting more attention from B2B marketers that we talk to, and they are also providing some interesting forms of value,” said Julie Ogilvie, Research Director for SiriusDecisions, in an interview with Demand Gen Report. “A couple of years ago we started to get questions about software review sites. Now, companies are definitely listening and beginning to see these sites as providing value to buyers and representing an opportunity, rather than just seeing them as a potential problem that needs to be monitored and managed.”
The concept of online reviews is also spreading beyond software into services, according to Vinay Bhagat, Founder & CEO of TrustRadius, a business technology review site. Buyers are looking to get as much information about a company and its services as they can, and online review sites have become a destination for both products and services.
G2 Crowd, a peer-to-peer business software review platform, also began collecting B2B service reviews as a “natural extension and complementary piece” to its growing platform.
“It has been difficult for professionals to find authentic and verified reviews of B2B services,” said Adrienne Weissman, CMO of G2 Crowd, in an interview with DGR. “We see that B2B professionals desire the same access to the transparency that real-user reviews provide in the consumer space.”
You Have A Positive Online Review … Now What?
Online reviews benefit all companies in the B2B landscape—big or small—according to Weissman. “No longer is it just these new tech startups or emerging businesses leveraging [review sites] to their advantage,” she said. “We’re starting to see more established, big companies really pivoting and embracing [reviews] as part of their overall strategy and go-to-market plan.”
ID Wholesaler also leverages TrustPilot’s review widgets to incorporate its reviews on PPC ads and landing pages. The company saw a 350% lift in revenue for its ID badge lanyards by putting a widget of reviews on a landing page for a PPC campaign.
Marketo also uses reviews to its benefit. The company’s customer success team leverages G2 Crowd reviews for its sales and marketing teams.
“The reviews and rankings and, ultimately, the research that comes out of all the data we get from G2 Crowd, generates great content for many things in our marketing efforts that we can use in demand generation, product marketing and customer marketing,” said Karen Steele, VP of Corporate Marketing at Marketo, in an interview with DGR. “It’s an incredibly important competitive intelligence tool for us—to understand and look at what our customers think about marketing and other marketing automation solutions in the space. What’s great about it is you’re getting real-time customer information … on how they feel about doing business with Marketo.”
Steele said the company has started to collect online reviews and package the content for their sales teams to present to prospects. The company is also looking at how to package this content for its website and email marketing efforts, and measure its impact.
“When we get a customer review or positive quote—we pull out aspects of that and package it for sales reps to send to prospects,” Steele said. “We pull content that is unique and specific for a particular deal and opportunity, and use an actual quote that came out of reviews.”
A Reliable Source To Fuel Customer Advocacy Programs
Review sites have also enabled B2B influencers to showcase their knowledge of a specific product or service—making these reviews a valuable source of content for advocacy programs.
“It is more and more difficult all the time to source “official” references and case studies as more organizations are creating policies that prohibit this,” said Ogilvie. “Also, buyers find great value in the opinions of their peers. So these peer reviews provide a nice complement to other activities that are part of influencer relations—such as analysts and media.”
For example, Marketo leverages reviews for its customer advocacy program, called The Purple Select Program. Steele said reviews are essential in running the program and offering incentives for its customers to get on board.
“We ask our customers to go to G2 Crowd and review a product or service, and put a small incentive out there because we want their feedback,” said Steele. “It doesn’t take long, and it’s easy. We can get hundreds of ratings and reviews in moments, so it’s incredibly positive to be able to tap the market and customer base and get that kind of feedback so quickly, and then be able to package it for marketing channels."
Steele added that Marketo will be tracking these efforts in terms of efficiency, deal closings and net-new competitive and awareness metrics.
“It’s very much an important part of the Marketo marketing lifecycle, in terms of the way we think about touching customers, learning about what they want from the products, understanding how customers want to interact with us and putting very objective, real-time voice-of-customer (VoC) insights in the market.”