When it comes to deciding which vendor to partner with, the fastest and generally easiest final step of the purchase process is to see what others have to say about the product or service being considered. Reviews, both good and bad, help shape the opinion of a product with a special sense of trust that is hard to gather from an internal perspective alone. Buyers aren’t hiding the fact that they want reviewer input. In fact, a B2B Buyer’s Survey by Demand Gen Report states that 84% of buyers seek input from existing users when considering purchasing.
Simply put, buyers put trust in reviews, and so should marketers. Reviews offer incredible value across marketing functions including:
- Competitive insights to support sales enablement
- Content that can feed demand generation programs
- Objective validation to use during buying processes
- Even insight into the most highly valued/missed product capabilities to feed product strategy
Now there’s even more of a reason to pay attention to review services – account based marketing (ABM). Early success with ABM has marketers looking for ways to scale and grow their ABM programs. Online reviews offer three critical areas of opportunity:
- Selecting accounts – All the programming in the world won’t be successful if the right accounts are not selected to focus upon. Part of the selection process is prioritizing accounts in part based on their likelihood of purchase. Using only internal data to make that assessment is error-prone because we only see when an account has interacted with us.
- Identifying triggers to automate sales & marketing actions – Account based strategies may always have an element of manual effort, however, to scale success marketers must find meaningful behavior they can track and use to trigger marketing and sales actions.
- Building trust across the buying committee – To do this we must recognize that businesses of all types are operating in a trust crisis. According to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, trust in businesses has dropped 10% in just 12 months. It’s not enough to have a strong value proposition and direct it at a set of strategically selected accounts. We have to build trust with our buyers who have become increasingly more skeptical of vendor claims.
Reviews can play a vital part in addressing all three of those challenges at scale helping your business:
- Get added to a short list of vendors being considered at your targeted accounts
- Signal when a targeted company spikes interest in your offer category or you as a brand
- Help buyers build confidence in you across the buying journey by using review content to offset objections
- Improve campaign conversion rates by showcasing on-page social proof
- Inform product/service delivery decisions that will best align with target account needs
Best of all, using reviews isn’t very daunting. For example, with a simple audit, you’ll find places on your existing landing pages where you can sprinkle in user reviews syndicated from third-party services. When doing so consider the buyer’s perspective and avoid the temptation to treat them as you would a testimonial quote. Having reviews that are all stellar and perfect would look biased. No product or service is perfect, people like to know what they’re getting and offering the whole story goes a long way to building trust.
Having a negative review doesn’t mean no one will buy from you, and a positive review doesn’t always guarantee new sales but honest reviews offer a critical extra push that, when acted upon appropriately, can help boost your ability to influence buyers in important ways.
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