We recently published an eGuide on the future of brand’s futures being powered by trust. That eGuide got us thinking, “What can we do to show how reviews are important for specific verticals?”
While B2C seems to dominate the stimulation of our senses, whether with search engine ads, social media ads, commercials and on billboards, buses and trains, B2B is the bigger eCommerce revenue generator, B2B sellers are beginning to realize that it’s important to adopt some of the techniques that B2C companies have been using for retention and brand growth to begin to pierce our field of vision and mimic the successful consumer purchase model.
So what technique in particular is most effective in sales growth, brand awareness and retention? Customer feedback.
As the B2B marketplace grows exponentially, it is crucial that one company is able to discern itself from its competition.
We’ve included the five best reasons why your B2B company should be collecting consumer feedback to get the most from your sales, marketing, retention and growth efforts.
1 - A bigger cost/commitment
Because of the generally bigger cost and commitment of investing in B2B services, (such as software which may be deployed for an entire organization) a potential buyer will want to know that the solution is both a perfect fit for their needs and the support and service they may require is top-notch.
If a company is looking to invest in a product or service that will potentially be rolled out to hundreds, maybe thousands of workers at once, it is paramount that they make the correct choice. This solution may potentially be the only one they will be able to afford in their budget for the quarter, or possibly the entire year. So where do online reviews fit into this equation?
Well, a potential investor will want more validation that a product/service is perfect than just what is written on your website. They will want to know from others who have gone through the buying process that the money they are about to spend is well worth it. They want to know that they will be getting exactly what they need to make their business work better, without any hiccups along the way.
By citing the experiences of previous customers who are freely posting about their interaction with your company, they are able to gain this crucial information that will influence whether or not your company is the right fit. By collecting and displaying online reviews potential customers gain the trust that is so often not found by simply browsing through the ‘About us’ section of a website.
Yes, a phone call to talk about the services or product is a great step to get more information but a true account from someone who has already gone through the purchasing stage is a primary account of what the potential buyer can expect.
In addition, because these investments are larger decisions, there are generally more stakeholders involved with the purchasing and approval process. Stakeholders who ensure that the product/service fulfills their needs (making sure it works as expected, legal to review the contract, the person signing the check, etc.) are all involved in the process, and they too want to make sure the purchasing decision is a sound one.
What better way for them to see what they can expect than with TONS of reviews from different people in similar roles who allow them to understand how it could work for them too.
2 - Time and implementation
As mentioned earlier briefly, because B2B purchases have a penchant toward bigger costs and commitments, companies are fearful to get stuck with the wrong tool or service, because it’s a huge waste of time, money, effort, resources and planning.
Unlike B2C, the sales cycle of most B2B companies tends to be much longer, with contracts and subscriptions. Reviews are a way to bring real authenticity and trust into a process that could otherwise feel very stale.
By allowing for third party validation to take place with online reviews, companies can ensure that the time they spend researching and implementing their new service or product is time well spent. Many B2B companies rely heavily on the retention of current customers because obtaining new customers is costly and time consuming.
Having accounts of excellent customer service and products continuously being hosted on a profile page like Trustpilot offers, gives consumers a place to check for fresh content and ensure that time is saved and customers are retained.
In addition, customers are willing to voice their opinions for all to see so if there are any problems that may arise with the products or services, the reviews make the potential problems come to the surface that might otherwise go unseen. This allows time for them to be corrected and maintain customers down the line.
3 - User experience can’t be overlooked.
Where technology, user needs and business goals meet you’ll find user experience. Often, the main target of B2B focused companies is functionality and features, with less of a concern generated around the overall user experience.
Some reasons why user experience suffers as a result are the allotted budget and having too many features. User experience is more critical than most think though, and while it is often thought of as “the icing on the cake(...)a nice to-have discipline instead of a ‘must-have’.” (Claxton) What is most shocking about investing in user experience is that “every $1 invested in UX yields a $2 to $100 return.”
By collecting online reviews, a company can get the essential feedback they need to evaluate the status of the success rate of their user experiences. Perhaps some elements of the software are not user friendly, or the site which the consumer uses to access their solution crashes far too often.
Mouser Electronics had this to say concerning their relationship with collecting online reviews through Trustpilot:
Providing an avenue for our customers to leave feedback is a great way to gain insights into our online customer experience. The positive reviews help affirm that our tools and ordering process have value to our customers, while the negative reviews help alert us to areas that may need attention. We also value the interaction we can have with our customers as well as the brand awareness the Trustpilot interface provides.
Reviews are an excellent way to find out what needs improvement and a way to make sure that each dollar spent yields a minimum of double ROI.
4 - Authentic user-generated content.
User-generated content (UGC), is one of the most popular types of content available online presently. When used properly, it can prove to drive sales effectiveness.
Unfortunately, out of uncertainty about how to encourage and use UGC, B2B companies haven’t been as quick to the draw with developing a strategy to put UGC in place. So how do you (the B2B company) get authentic UGC?
Online reviews from websites like Trustpilot allow your brand name to be paired with the words your customers have written about you. As you request more customers to write reviews, more content around your name will be generated, thus boosting your search ranking.
After a consumer has used your products/services, allow them some time to evaluate how well it is working for them and then be sure to send out a request for a review so you can gather feedback to help improve your products/service, engage in conversations with your users that will attract more views and foster loyalty with your customers.
After you have begun to stockpile some great reviews it is time for you to leverage this content in your own blog, social marketing and your email marketing campaigns. It’s a win, win, win.
5 - Ensuring your customers are successful.
Your business grows as your customer base does. If you can make sure to have a fully-integrated customer success component to your brand, your company’s architecture will become stronger and your customers will remain loyal.
To put it simply, your success is dependent on your customer’s success. Your customer service team is constantly gathering great feedback that is more than just a comment on a profile page, they are gathering insights from direct 1-1 contact with current customers.
Making sure your company takes the time to get this valuable feedback exposes you to new customers, new sales and retention. Keep your customers smiling and you’ll be smiling too.
For example, take a look at this quote from VanillaSoft, "Trustpilot has helped us achieve our goal of increasing our click through rate and conversion rate on our ads, helping us to drive additional traffic and revenue from this channel. In just 6 months, we have seen significant increases on our Adword campaigns. Needless to say, our team is very happy!"
Vendors, no matter the industry should be collecting reviews, but in the B2B space in particular, reviews have become more important than ever. If you aren’t capitalizing on feedback from online reviews to boost sales and expand your brand you are truly missing out.
Help prospects trust your brand and be sure you mark your territory in the future of the B2B space.