Guest post by Jaren Nichols.
New business owners know that a review has the potential to make or break their business. A disgruntled customer is every business owner’s worst nightmare, and with scathing reviews spreading on social media faster than you can say “damage control,” companies need to stay on top of their game.
It’s widely known that reviews are both important and impactful for B2C businesses, and understanding how to handle reviews is an essential piece of business know-how. Not as many people realize, however, that reviews have increasing influence for B2B companies—and their importance is only going to grow.
Here’s why reviews are starting to matter more and more when it comes to B2B.
The Difficulty with Case Studies
In the past, testimonials and case studies were essential when it came to B2B companies. Engaging case studies were the core of B2B content marketing, filling it with jargon and wowing the target company with statistics, data and graphs indicating your success.
But while case studies can be a great way to tell stories to your potential clients—demonstrating your clients’ success—these aren’t always the most effective form of B2B marketing.
While a naive customer might not be clued up, other businesses certainly are, and they will be aware how easy it is to make success sound better than it is. They will know that the case study has been created with an agenda and any too-good-to-be-true statistics should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Reviews on the other hand, rarely have a lead-generating agenda. Customers write reviews because they are either happy, or unhappy, and they want to tell others about their experience. B2B reviews can convey a huge amount of information about your services and products. Plus, they won’t need to be updated, unlike case studies which may only be relevant for a finite period of time.
The Rise of Business Solutions Platforms
Platforms such as Capterra and G2 Crowd are changing the way B2B companies market their product or services. G2 Crowd attempts to help businesses find the best business software, listing companies who provide everything from analytics software to CMS and hosting providers.
G2 Crowd uses algorithms to identify fraudulent reviews. This means that people who review their own products or services positively (or buy reviews), while writing negative reviews for their competitors’ products will be caught and the reviews removed.
Independent platforms such as these allow B2B companies to build their review profiles. Companies searching for the right business solutions are able to objectively assess what works best for their business and ensure they reach out to the right vendor.
Today, case studies and testimonials are not enough—reviews really give businesses a competitive edge. It’s important to remember that B2B buyers are consumers too. In fact, surveys have indicated that reviews are one of the most important deal clinchers for both businesses and the individual customer.
With so many businesses wanting to do the same thing, it’s essential to stand out from your competitors. A wealth of online reviews will make a business look bigger. In essence, the more online reviews you have, the more reputable you are. These reviews don’t have to be on your website. A profile on a third-party platform like the ones already mentioned can have more of an impact, especially if your business is placed alongside others but has the edge of a slightly higher rating.
When it comes to B2B marketing, there is no single most effective way to build your brand. The short answer? A bit of everything! However, ensuring you provide a service or product that your clients will want to praise you for is one of the best ways to get the reviews flooding in and continuing to make sales. Provide something of a good quality and focus on the customer experience; it’ll pay off in the long run.
About the author: Jaren Nichols is Chief Operating Officer at ZipBooks Online Accounting Software, a modern accounting solution for small businesses. Jaren was previously a Product Manager at Google and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.