In the information age, the power goes to the buyer.
Few of us are willing to spend money without knowing the quality of the product we’re purchasing. Before we send our credit card information, we search Google, talk to our friends, and then we check Yelp before visiting that new restaurant, or we read reviews on Amazon before buying that new toaster oven.
Customer reviews have long influenced consumer decisions, and it’s now clear that customer reviews have just as much impact on B2B buyers.
According to Forrester, 90% of B2B purchases begin with online research; and in a recent study from G2 Crowd, we see that 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to make a purchase after reading a trusted review.
If you’re not already using customer reviews while researching a potential B2B purchase – or if you already are – here are four tips to help you make the most of these real-world test cases.
4 Tips to Make The Most of B2B Customer-Reviews.
1) Read current reviews. A review from two months ago is more useful than a review that’s two years old – don’t forget that businesses change, issues get addressed, and new versions get released.
2) Look for length. It’s easy for a reviewer to pick a star-value to rate a business, but it takes time and thought for that same reviewer to go into details about what they liked and what they didn’t like. Skip the short answers and look for reviews of substance.
3) Read a diverse set of reviews. Most customer-review sites will identify the job title and industry of a reviewer, which is useful in deciding whether a review will relate to your business’s needs or not. However, don’t fall into the trap of reading only like-minded reviews, as this will not give you a full understanding of the product or business. Different roles and industries provide different perspectives and are likely to comment on a wider range of issues and aspects than, say, a handful of IT engineers from large financial institutions.
4) Use well-known B2B-focused customer-review sites. These sites are far more likely to screen their reviews and to include reviewers who care about providing good information on the products and businesses you’re interested in.
Why Customer Reviews Are Important
Customer reviews have become critical to the B2B purchasing experience. So much so, in fact, that a 2018 report from TrustRadius listed customer reviews as being more important than vendor websites and sales representatives, second only to product demos. Buyers trust their peers and colleagues more than advertisements and sales reps.
And, don’t forget, customer reviews are a two-way road: businesses use feedback to improve their products and services.
How You Can Help
Take a few minutes to read these useful customer reviews, before visiting a site like Gartner Peer Insights or Capterra to share your own story about a product, service, or business you have experience with. Then, tell your co-workers and friends to do the same; share your story on social media. When we all participate in a vibrant B2B customer-review environment, we all benefit.