B2B customer reviews are a product research priority for 49% of buyers, finds a recent study. While product demos are still the No. 1 information source for B2B customers, product reviews are escaping their B2C categorization and influencing B2B purchases left and right.
“The 2018 B2B Buying Disconnect,” research released on April 19 by TrustRadius, says that “nothing beats first-hand insights from peers with similar use cases and pain points.”
As TrustRadius CEO Vinay Bhagat puts it in a message to Target Marketing on May 11:
"Analysts are the Kim Kardashians of the B2B world. Buyers are still interested in what analyst[s] have to say, but ultimately they want to hear from people like themselves. Their peers and others users are more relatable and provide a trusted view into what it is like to actually use these complex technology products."
Based on the research, here’s what B2B marketers can do:
Collect B2B Customer Reviews
B2B buyers will appreciate having the resources they’re seeking all in one place, instead of having to hunt for them. But they will hunt for — and find — them if they must.
TrustRadius cites this comment from a research respondent:
"The way we can now communicate via the Internet, sharing our thoughts and experiences without a filter, has a big impact on the buying process," said survey participant Scott Rosen, VP of technology at Guardian Credit Union. His team recently made a six-figure investment in IT infrastructure, and he ranked user reviews and references as the most influential and trustworthy resources.
The research finds this preference for user reviews is a shift, up to No. 2 this year vs. No. 5 last year, partly because Millennials now dominate B2B product buying committees.
A tip to get moving on this trend is to request reviews from customers. TrustRadius says 84% of those surveyed would provide reviews, but few B2B companies are requesting them. Only 22% said they’d written such reviews.
Be as Transparent as Possible in Product Descriptions
TrustRadius found B2B customers appreciate it when vendors don’t waste their time with fake and shallow reviews.
The findings say:
“Candor is directly linked to influence. When vendors do relinquish control of the message, they are rewarded. Only 23% of buyers said the vendor was highly influential in their purchasing decision, and those vendors were twice as likely to embrace authenticity than the rest. Of the buyers who worked with a very influential vendor, 56% said the vendor was upfront about product limitations (vs. 31% of buyers with less influential vendors), 50% said the vendor provided customer evidence like reviews and case studies (vs. 27%) and 42% said they were connected with customer references (vs. 20%).”
What do you think, marketers?
Please respond in the comments section below.
Related story: 6 Methods of Building User-Generated Content