5 Ways IBM Uses Customer Voice to Power their Marketing Machine

August 13th, 2020

Recently, we sat down with the team at IBM Cloud—Charles Black, Program Director for Worldwide Digital Marketing, and Shannon Cardwell, Program Manager for Inbound Strategy & User Reviews— to discuss how IBM has realized amazing results through a very strategic and deliberate approach to customer reviews. 

Below, we’ll guide you through their 5-step recipe for success:

  1. Get enterprise customers on the record with in-app invitations
  2. Increase share of audience in competitive categories
  3. Turn web pages into engagement & conversion hotspots
  4. Use True Intent data to increase the value of sales opps
  5. Arm sales with reviews to close more deals

#1 Get enterprise customers on the record with in-app invitations

Screenshot of IBM in-app review offer

TrustRadius helps technology brands drive reviews through campaigns, digital events, and embedded strategies. Because IBM wanted an ongoing stream of reviews from engaged users, they focused on embedded sourcing. Embedded sourcing allows organizations to invite users to write a review while they’re in-app/ using the product. 

Using in-app review invitations helped solidify IBM’s method of finding engaged and experienced customers across 20+ IBM Cloud products. While they are still currently in the optimization phase of this program, it has already proven to be highly successful – sourcing 134 reviews and 238 ratings. Their program not only exceeds internal IBM metrics, but TrustRadius best-in-class metrics for CTR, with a 20% CTR for starting a review. 

In-app invitations have led to a continuous flow of product reviews from experienced users. Fresh  review content is important because it provides in-market buyers with the most current product information, so they can make the best purchase decision. 

#2 Increase share of audience in competitive categories

Within just one year, IBM was able to 2X their share of audience in highly competitive categories across 16 products by significantly growing their review presence. Many buyers evaluate products by running a Google search and TrustRadius often appears at the top of search results, so it’s critical to make sure that you’re well represented. In addition to those buyers already researching your product, an active presence on TrustRadius helps you get in front of a highly qualified audience of active buyers evaluating competitive solutions in your category. A strong review presence not only gets you noticed, but helps you express your differentiation, all in the authentic words of your customers.

IBM search results

#3 Turn web pages into engagement & conversion hotspots

Buyers spend a lot of time on a vendor’s pages. Incorporating customer quotes from your reviews into your own digital properties invokes trust and can drive engagement and conversion. IBM improved their on-page engagement and conversion rates by introducing the TrustQuotes for Web to their own landing pages.

IBM TrustRadius widget in action
IBM on TrustRadius stats

Several IBM products saw significant increases in their engagement rate, with some products’ rates even doubling. They also reported notable growth in time spent on page, with as much as a 22% increase in page scroll depth in some cases.

IBM widgets in action

IBM is also experimenting with the widget design on their landing pages, to adapt to the different  buyer types  in the market. By optimizing their review widget for dark mode, they saw a 31% increase in conversion rate for paid users and a 249% increase in conversion rate on orders from net new customers. A key factor in making their use of the widget successful was ensuring each type of buyer was represented in the syndicated quote feed so buyers visiting their site could find people they could relate to, versus just a quote or logo from a prominent brand. It was also critical that the quotes validated key claims. Buyers don’t just want to be told a product works, or even shown a demo, they want key claims to be backed up by testimonials from buyers like them.

#4 Use True Intent data to increase the value of sales opps

Intent data provides signals about companies actively shopping for solutions. It can help sales and marketing teams score leads, identify new prospects, predict pipeline, guide AEs, and identify at risk accounts. TrustRadius True Intent data is based upon buyers actively reading reviews and comparing products, demonstrating serious intent versus general topic interest, per typical intent data providers. True Intent data also provides intelligence on who you’re being compared to, guiding reps as to who to position against.  

Screenshot of IBM intent data details

IBM uses intent data by first ingesting the information and delivering it to the applicable sales teams. Next, the sales teams focus on routing new leads and scaling and optimizing their outreach to buyers. For IBM, utilizing intent data has significantly increased the value of their sales opportunities. It has resulted in larger deal sizes, lower disqualification rates, and higher opportunity-to-lead ratios. Accounts linked to TrustRadius True Intent have had 2X more value than accounts that did not research IBM Cloud products on TrustRadius. 

#5 Arm sales with reviews to close more deals

Screenshot of materials IBM created using TrustRadius reviews with Seismic


You can transform your standard landing pages by linking to reviews that speak to each key claim that you make about your product. Thinking about how you can incorporate reviews into your existing sales and marketing processes, including how you use dedicated sales enablement software, will help mature how your entire organization thinks about the power of reviews.

If you’d like to hear the full conversation with IBM Cloud please check out the on-demand session.

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