The Importance of Online Reviews: Leveraging B2B Software Reviews Part 1
If you are a software company, you need to read this!
While reviews have long been recognized as an important part of the consumer industry, B2B has lagged a bit behind. As the business world shifts and consumers of all types become more social, and more involved in groups, forums, and the like, online review sites have become the newest (and arguably most powerful) form of word-of-mouth advertising.
Software Advice, a leading online software review site, recently conducted a survey to determine buyer behavior and the effectiveness of online reviews. The survey was conducted in collaboration with Research Now, and included results from 386 business to business (B2B) software buyers.
In this 3-part blog series we'll review some key findings of the report, and show you why if you haven't been focusing on online reviews as part of your customer strategy, you need to start now!
First and foremost, online reviews are just as important for B2B companies as they are for B2C - a whopping 75% of buyers consult online reviews before purchasing business software.
According to the research, B2B software buyers are 65% more likely to consult reviews now than they were 5 years ago - that's a huge increase in a short amount of time.
In fact, not a single respondent out of the 386 businesses surveyed said that reviews were not valuable at all. 68% of buyers said reading online reviews was either very valuable, or extremely valuable - and a further 29% rated it as moderately valuable. At TeamSupport we talk a lot about being customer focused or customer-centric, and this is a perfect example of listening to your customers - if reviews are important to them, then they'd better be important to you as well.
Another interesting finding is that buyers typically look to review sites early in their purchasing journey, 63% of buyers will consult online reviews right at the beginning of the process when they're building their shortlist, so having online reviews is a great way to catch the attention of new prospects right away.
Reaching the Right People
While you may think that only smaller companies might look to reviews, it turns out that businesses with 500 full time employees or greater are actually MORE likely to consult reviews before purchasing software - 87% compared to 70% of smaller businesses. In any case, that's a high percentage across the board - whether large or small, businesses are routinely turning to online reviews to aid in their software purchase decisions.
What's really interesting is that these software buyers are also in high level positions - 75% at VP level or above. So no matter who your target decision maker is, they're bound to be looking at online reviews. They're also spread across companies of all sizes - more than half of buyers work for a company with less than 50 employees, and 23% are with a company that has over 1000 employees. Equally interesting is that more than half of respondents reported that there are only 1 or 2 decision makers at their company. This means that by focusing on your online reviews you can easily and effectively reach the right people to help grow your business.
*Pro Tip: Make sure you're listed on popular review sites!
Finally, 59% of buyers said they are either very likely or extremely likely to choose a product over its competition based on more favorable online reviews. So when you're looking to have an edge over the competition, your reviews could very well be thing that tips the scale in your favor.
Reviews also help improve the customer experience, and in return customer retention - buyers who consult online reviews ahead of time are 15% more satisfied with their purchases, so it's really in your best interest to promote customer reviews.
Online reviews are an incredibly powerful medium for reaching prospective buyers and getting the attention of your target audience. The best part is they're pretty easy to get, and extremely versatile (use them on your website, in marketing materials, even create testimonial videos) so as a business development tool you really get a great ROI.