How To Get More Customer Reviews On The Top 10 B2B Technology Review Sites
Before you buy a new laptop or smartphone, what’s the first thing you do? If you’re like most people, you Google it and see what people have to say about different models online.
These online reviews are usually seen as the best source of unbiased information. After all, why would reviewers be anything but brutally honest? People who have bought something want to hold brands accountable for delivering on their promises, and they want to impart this wisdom to prospective buyers like them.
While this phenomenon has been well-noted in the B2C world for years, its prominence in B2B buying journeys is quickly rising. Many rating and review sites dedicated to enterprise software have launched in recent years, giving users a platform to praise (or trash) solutions they’ve used.
The Yelp-ification of the enterprise
In a recent ZenDesk survey, 90% of both B2C and B2B customers of mid-sized companies who had seen online reviews said that the positive ones influenced their buying decisions.
“The stakes are much higher for business software decisions than most consumer purchases,” says TrustRadius CEO Vinay Bhagat. Unlike consumer purchases, B2B software buys often involve many stakeholders and usually represent a significant recurring expense to an organization—not to mention that the success of the business often hinges on effective technology.
Software comparison sites have become an invaluable resource for B2B tech buyers who want to be sure that they’ll make the right decision. And B2B review websites are working hard to source legitimate reviews from enterprise users.
“TrustRadius is focused on collecting rich, actionable insights you can trust,” says Vinay. All reviewers answer a series of questions, commonly rating a product on multiple dimensions and explaining their use case. Then each review is vetted by a researcher before it’s published.”
G2 Crowd co-founder Matt Gorniak adds that “G2 Crowd is disrupting the broken, outdated process of buying business software by crowd-sourcing user reviews. Based on these authentic, unbiased reviews as well as social data, the Grid (G2 Crowd’s alternative to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant) charts vendors on customer satisfaction and scale to help companies pick the right software for their needs.”
Still not convinced you need to take control of your standings on review sites? Consider this: like a restaurant goer who found a fly in their soup, your customers are significantly more likely to post a review when they’ve had a bad experience than a good one.
While you can’t make negative reviews go away, you can offset them with more positive ones to bring up your average rating and visibility on these sites.
How to generate authentic B2B customer reviews
While many companies tend to think of these reviews as a happy accident, marketing leaders are increasingly developing a formal strategy to maximize the number of reviews they get from their happiest customers. Where traditional marketing fails, advocate marketing picks up the slack.
How can you get more positive ratings online for your company?
Here are the top strategies successful customer and advocate marketers are using to get reviews from their customer advocates.
1) Don’t wait for customers to read your mind—just ask!
Many of your customers love your product, but they just haven’t gone out of their way to write a review. Simply asking might give them the nudge they need to sit down and do it.
“Say something along the lines of how important they are to you as a customer, that you want to make them happy, and that their feedback would make you happy,” suggests WebPT’s Customer Marketing Specialist Emily Ely.
2) Don’t beg for favours; explain the value of writing reviews instead
Many customers actually enjoy writing reviews. Think about it—people like to have their opinions heard, especially when they feel that those opinions are valued and have the potential to influence change.
If you can make your customers truly feel that their feedback is valuable to your company, most of them will help. People also enjoy feeling like they’re helping their peers make good decisions.
You can tap into these psychological needs to motivate them to advocate for you. “Let them know that their reviews will be part of product development and they have a say in the direction,” says Christina Zuniga, Marketing Technology Manager at InTouch Health. You can also outline the benefits to their personal brand if they’re seen giving advice on respected review sites.
3) Approach only your best customers
Instead of blanketing your entire database with a request for a review, be strategic and ask customers who you know can write knowledgeable and honest reviews based on their experience with your platform.
Brittney Collier, Marketing Communications Specialist at Billtrust, uses an advocate marketing program to gauge which customers are ripe for a review.
“For example, the first stage in your challenge can ask whether the client or customer feels they’ve had a positive experience. If most people say yes, you can add a stage to ask them to review your product or service,” says Brittney.
4) Ask customers at the right time in their journey
“Make your ask at strategic times, so you don’t wear out your advocates,” advises Jessica Mitchell, Customer Marketing Manager at Hero K12.
Customer A has just renewed your services and has bought tickets to your annual conference. Customer B, on the other hand, has just had technical issues and is at risk of churning. Who should you ask for a review? It’s a no-brainer.
Time your review requests at the right time in the customer journey, or with specific marketing campaigns when your customer advocates will be engaged for the highest quality reviews.
5) Don’t put words in your customers’ mouths—encourage them to be genuine instead
Prospects can smell a phony review from a mile away. This reflects very poorly on your company (and got one company fined over $1 million dollars). That’s why it’s better to “let them write what they want to write,” explains Emily.
Don’t tell customers to write a positive review, or feed them phrases your marketing team wrote. Just ask them to be honest and thorough. You may even get feedback that will inspire you to improve your product or education.
6) Guide your customers to write about what matters
While you certainly never want to put words in a customer’s mouth, sometimes a few suggestions will help customers know exactly what to write about. Many won’t know what they should include, so offering suggestions will help them write the most robust review possible.
For example, you can suggest they write about:
- The look-and-feel of the product
- Ease of use
- The onboarding process/implementation
- Specific features they love
- Results or efficiencies they’ve achieved
- The support experience they have
- Strategic help they get from customer success/account reps
“It is important to not only ask for the review, but to frame the customer’s mindset on what sort of items are valuable to cover during their review,” says Cache Walker, Customer Advocacy Manager at Ivanti. “Bland reviews can be a lackluster product of customers hurrying to just complete the task. I ask them to consider how our product has helped them be more efficient or eliminate a problem.”
7) Capitalize on in-person events to capture positive sentiments
Many advocate marketers ask customers live at industry trade shows or events for reviews. This is a good strategy for capturing the contagious positive energy of an in-person event. “We had a booth at our user conference that we used to generate 200+ reviews in three days,” says Cache.
8) Systematize your strategy with advocate marketing software
You can also activate your customer advocates online using dedicated advocate marketing software. (If you’re choosing an advocate marketing software for the first time, here are 10 features you should look for.)
Influitive’s AdvocateHub uses a seamless gamified approach where you can request reviews through your own branded advocate community, and automatically verify when customers have written them. You can also join Experience VIP to learn about the advocate marketing process and experience our platform at the same time.
9) Thank advocates for their help
After you’ve sourced some high quality reviews from your customer advocates, your job isn’t over yet! Advocate marketing is about nurturing a reciprocal and mutually beneficial relationship. So you must find a way to recognize those who take the time to write reviews.
This can be as simple as a handwritten thank you note or recognition on social media. We like to publicly thank our advocates by tagging them in a tweet that expresses our gratitude and shows highlights of the review.
We love the variety of ways Christina from @InTouchHealth is using the AdvocateHub, like “Promoting new content, letting your best customers learn about your newest offerings, & getting your best references in one place.” https://t.co/vcyuSyfiNU pic.twitter.com/VVfpR3GIdg
— Influitive (@influitive) December 12, 2017
This will make them more likely to review you again in the future, or take on bigger advocacy requests, like sharing their successes in a case study or referring peers to your company.
Which B2B review sites are best for your business?
Now that you know all the strategies and tactics for collecting reviews, it’s time to try them out for yourself. The last piece of the puzzle is deciding which technology reviews sites to go after.
Numerous business technology rating websites have sprung up in recent years, some catering to everyone and others focused on specific niches.
The important thing to remember is you don’t need to ask each of your advocates to post a review on every single website—start with the few that are best for your business, mobilize your advocates to post one review each, and go from there.
Here’s a list—by no means exhaustive—of 10 great sites to help get you started:
A site for professionals to share candid opinions on business technology products to guide selection, implementation, and usage decisions.
Helps you learn how software can improve your business, compare solutions to find what you need, and connect with the right software vendors.
A site for B2B, SaaS, and financial professionals to offer insights, reviews, and solutions for business owners, as well as provide sellers opportunities to find clients.
4) G2 Crowd
Enterprise technology buyers, investors, and analysts use the site to compare and select the best software based on peer reviews and synthesized social data.
Verified reviews from the IT community that will help you learn from your peers, hear from real voices, and choose the right software for your company.
Helps small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) search, find, compare, and review the best business software solutions and services.
Enterprise technology decision makers around the world use the site to read reviews, build vendor shortlists, and consult with peers and experts.
8) SaaS Genius
Customize your search to find the right software for you with reviews, guides, and blogs about the product, and get personalized matches.
Software Advice helps buyers choose the right software by offering detailed reviews, comparisons, and research to assist organizations in finding products that best fit their current and future needs.
Salesforce’s marketplace of business applications and consulting partners where you can find, evaluate, and install solutions for every department and industry.
This blog was originally published on July 17, 2013, then updated and republished on December 12, 2017.
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