The Do’s and Don’ts of Using Reviews to Drive Demand
ICYMI: Marketing Prof’s How to Use Customer Reviews to Drive Demand webinar
Marketing Profs, an educational platform for modern marketers, recently hosted an on-demand webinar titled, “How to Use Customer Reviews to Drive Demand,” which featured guest speakers Harsha Kalapala, Director of Product Marketing at TrustRadius, the most trusted review platform, and Erin Christopher, Director of Demand Generation at Totango, a customer success platform.
The way buyers make decisions has changed
As a result of the pandemic, consumers moved the majority of their buying decisions online, and B2B is no exception. In TrustRadius’ 2021 B2B Buying Disconnect survey, we learned the way buyers make purchase decisions has drastically changed, and part of that is attributed to generational differences. This recent study reported that 59% of tech buyers are millennials (age 25-39), 40% begin their software buying journey with a simple online search, and 57% are on their way to a purchasing decision before ever speaking with a sales representative.
This begs the question, how are millennial buyers discovering and evaluating new products? Of the 1,134 technology buyers and vendors surveyed in this recent report, 58% reported their top source of discovery as word of mouth. During a time of reduced travel, remote work environments, and social distancing, this consisted primarily of online peer reviews.
“When we think about buyers, we need to recognize that a millennial buyer is taking what they know to be true in their consumer world and projecting that expectation onto B2B. It’s crucial we think about that, which is why reviews are so important.” Erin Christopher, Director of Demand Generation at Totango
Do meet customers where they are in the buyer’s journey
In the webinar, How to Use Customer Reviews to Drive Demand, Erin Christopher and Harsha Kalapala talk about why it’s so important for B2B companies to meet customers where they are in the buying journey.
“I think it’s about learning and being nontraditional and willing to look at where people are getting their information and then getting creative.” Erin Christopher, Director of Demand Generation at Totango
Intent data is an important asset to inform the buyer’s journey. Topical third-party signals indicate lower-intent customers and downstream intent signals from review platforms surface higher-intent, or customers closer to making a purchase. How do you determine high-intent signals on a review platform? The more content available to customers to engage with that is related to your product (as is the case with TrustRadius’ review platform over other review platforms), the more valuable their intent signals.
When referencing the valuable information you get as a result of intent data, Erin Christopher speaks of the buyer’s journey as a flywheel, because she believes there is no beginning or end to the cyclical and nuanced journey. You can catch customers at every stage and meet them where they are to provide the valuable information they need to make a decision.
Erin states the lowest hanging fruit in terms of engaging and capturing in-market prospects are those that research you on review platforms. She believes intent data generated by these customers informs vendors about what they’re interested in and which competitors they’re considering.
Don’t exhaust your sales team
There’s a clear distinction between lead generation and demand generation. Lead generation is focused on the number of leads whereas demand generation is focused on the quality of leads. When you create goals around a numerical target, you lose sight of quality.
Erin states she doesn’t focus on hitting lead goals because she doesn’t want to pump leads into an inefficient system. “It just doesn’t make sense,” says Erin. It comes down to the question, wouldn’t you rather have 13 out of 100 leads convert than 10 out of 1,000? And who doesn’t want to save costs and run more efficiently?
“[Hearing from real people] doesn’t just drive demand, it drives win rate. It means you’re going to close more deals. At the end of the day, we’re revenue marketers, and that’s what we’re here to do.” Erin Christopher, Director of Demand Generation at Totango
Demand generation or focusing on quality leads requires you to zero in on high-intent customers, but how do you do that? With downstream intent data. When you retrieve intent data from a review platform with rich content and deep insights, it helps tailor the conversation around what they’re interested in or looking for and makes it less of a cold call.
“The things you can find in [buyer] intent data are super interesting. It’s not just about ‘who’s looking at me’ or ‘they’re looking at these other companies.’ It’s which category are they looking at me for…are they looking at me in Customer Success or Customer Journey Analytics?” Erin Christopher, Director of Demand Generation at Totango
Do elevate the Voice of Customer to drive advocacy and adoption
As a demand gen or revenue marketer, it’s important to instill confidence in your prospects by using your current customer’s voice. “That’s exactly what reviews do,” says Erin, “I leverage reviews everywhere.” You can elevate VoC on your home page, competitor pages, landing pages, demo pages, and the list goes on.
“We leverage reviews in upsells, product reviews, product updates … there’s so many places I can’t name them all.” Erin Christopher, Director of Demand Generation at Totango
Do develop a multi-review platform strategy
Reviews are an excellent vehicle for third-party validation and social proof across your marketing and sales funnel. Regardless of your goals, you’ll want to make sure your products are represented on all reputable review sites that are relevant to your target market.
As you can see in the graph below, not all of your prospective customers reside on one review platform, and neither should you. In our recent blog, How to Choose the Right B2B Review Platform, we walk you through things to look for and identify strategies for building out a large and diverse base of customer reviews on at least one platform—a place where your target audience does most of their research.
Totango saw top-performing ads with customer proof:
- CTR was improved 14x by using TrustRadius content in their ads
- CPC was reduced to 1/4 of the cost
- 3 enterprise opportunities were produced in just 3 weeks