How To Get More Customer Reviews On The Top 10 B2B Technology Review Sites

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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.

Making software purchasing decisions is enough to make anyone sweat

                                       No pressure…

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G2 Crowd co-founder Matt Gorniak adds that “G2 Crowd is disrupting the broken, outdated process of buying business software by crowd-sourcing user reviews.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

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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 Automation 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:

  1. The look-and-feel of the product
  2. Ease of use
  3. The onboarding process/implementation
  4. Specific features they love
  5. Results or efficiencies they’ve achieved
  6. The support experience they have
  7. 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.”

 

Jessica from Hero K12 gives suggestions to guide her customers so they don’t have to think too hard when it comes to writing reviews.

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.

        Influitive’s AdvocateHub review request challenge template with G2 Crowd integration

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.

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.

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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.

b2b technology review sites

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:

1) TrustRadius

A site for professionals to share candid opinions on business technology products to guide selection, implementation, and usage decisions.

2) Capterra

Helps you learn how software can improve your business, compare solutions to find what you need, and connect with the right software vendors.

3) Finances Online

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.

5) Gartner Peer Insights

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.

6) GetApp

Helps small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) search, find, compare, and review the best business software solutions and services.

7) IT Central Station

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.

9) Software Advice

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.

10) AppExchange

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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8 Responses to How To Get More Customer Reviews On The Top 10 B2B Technology Review Sites

  1. Liad Guez says:

    Great article. I found IT Central Station to be the best source for enterprise software reviews, way ahead of the curve.

    • Liad Guez says:

      Hi Cassandra! Here are my 3 tips to consider when choosing a review platform:

      1. Market segment: As with any social network, you need to
      make sure the site caters to the audience you care about! So consider
      whether you are targeting SMBs or Enterprises, and choose a site that is
      focussed on your target customer.

      2. Traffic: You want a site that has lots of visitors in order to make a huge impact. I ran a report using compete.com
      to compare a few of the enterprise review sites listed in this post to
      determine which one had the most traffic. It told me that IT Central Station had the most unique visitors among enterprise review sites, so that was the first sign.

      3. Quality of leads: It’s not just numbers, but quality of leads as
      well. Take a look at the people writing the reviews–are these people
      decision makers or just junior folks who are writing reviews to make a
      few bucks? I saw a lot of VPs and even C-level folks on IT Central
      Station. I haven’t spent enough time on the other sites to see if they
      have these decision makers as well, but I think it’s important.

      Hope that helps!
      Liad

  2. Thanks, @liadguez:disqus! Do you have any tips around how companies can determine which review site they should focus their advocates’ energy on?

  3. Daniel Kushner says:

    I can agree to @liadguez:disqus. At my previous job I was purchasing software for the company and used review sites like IT Central Station to validate my purchasing decisions. Found it extremely helpful.

  4. Alejandro Cabral says:

    I am a new yet full G2 Crowd user and I can already say as a platform and community, is really making a big impression out there. I have been on the IT biz for 15 years now, it’s all I do so I’ve come close to many tools as user, administrator, support agent, consultant, etc. For a long time I’ve been gaining knowledge on how to use, market, sell, administer or implement business solutions and even if I’ve exchanged some opinions with peers sometimes, it wasn’t until I found G2 Crowd that I really got to put that knowledge to service. It is amazing how many reviews you can find there, and the fact that it is an open platform, anyone can comment, like, thank, un-like a review or a comment, and even more interesting, it adds the functionality you usually only get through forums: even if you don’t review a solution or product, you can still ask questions around it to other G2 Crowd users.

    It’s all about our experience, not the manufacturers. It is about social media giving us users (and sales reps, and consultants, and engineers) the opportunity not just to “share”, but to actually SHARE our knowledge: you get points when you review, comment, ask or answer questions which helps build up your reputation so it makes it easy to find references and you get to chose whose opinion is of most value to you.

    I really see G2 Crowd setting a new direction when it comes to Social Media as a Service to Business Users…a whole new concept waiting to be exploited.

  5. DTM82 says:

    Thanks, Liad, for your interesting commentary. I have not used IT Central Station, so I cannot speak to the number or quality of reviews and reviewers there. However, I have been a top user this past month at G2 Crowd, so I learned the ins and outs of that site and community.

    My response to your tips would be that you will find certain sections within G2 Crowd that have a good saturation of quality reviews where you can find helpful reviews and lively discussions around certain products, particularly in the CRM space. My thought is that G2 Crowd will have fewer unique visitors because they emphasize (through contests, etc.) going viral by referring friends/colleagues and becoming a “power reviewer” while they will at the same time push the best reviews to the top of the pack and the unhelpful or irrelevant reviews out of the way. As far as quality of leads, I disagree with your point that VPs and C-level folks are the best suited to advise on new products and offerings. Give me a review by a power user any day over one submitted by a VP/C-level person who only sees the output of the offering, and this will have more of an impact on validating my decision to go with or avoid a product! I think the polling of senior folks is more of an old-school approach and misses the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” (to quote Shakespeare) that the ground-level folks experience as they use the products and try to achieve meaningful business outcomes.

    I’d welcome other feedback and thoughts in response…and would encourage people to try out G2 Crowd and share their thoughts as well.

    Cheers,
    Dan

  6. John Martin says:

    Wow, IT Central Station has sure figured out how to hijack the comments in this thread! Congrats to your marketing organization. When I see things like that I can’t help but question if that’s how the whole enterprise is run. It certainly reduces my trust in the platform.

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